HD works in various parts of Latin America to foster channels of communication, support peace processes and address socio-economic issues by offering forums for dialogue involving polarised actors.
In Venezuela, HD has focused on initiatives to help alleviate the impact of the humanitarian crisis magnified by poverty and the pandemic.
Within HD’s COVID-19 Global Response Initiative launched in 2020, we have pursued the development of a technical experts group convened under the auspices of the Inter-Religious Social Forum of Venezuela.
The project – with emphasis on joint responsibility and accountability by health personnel from opposite sides of the political spectrum – is designed to demonstrate that divergent views can be used constructively for joint action to address the consequences of the crisis.
A pilot exercise consists of a legal and verifiable channel for humanitarian aid in one of the emblematic health institutions in Venezuela.
In parallel, gender-based violence is another area for HD engagement, with efforts concentrated on creating a dialogue forum for national gender organisations to encourage unity among women by developing common priorities and joint projects.
In Colombia, HD works to strengthen the benefits of peace accords between the government and the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) signed in 2016.
Major challenges to the implementation process include land reform, the reintegration of ex-combatants and violence by various armed groups over control of territory and access to international routes for drug trafficking.
HD has focused on helping former FARC members to communicate within communities to improve peaceful co-existence and soothe grievances from the 60-year conflict. The efforts are in parallel with a Peace Dividend Initiative project to create an environment for a joint economic effort benefitting all parties.
In Costa Rica, HD has provided mediation support to an initiative of inclusive social dialogue run by the president’s office.
The Economic and Social Advisory Council (Consejo Consultivo Económico y Social) is designed as a space for dialogue across society on socio-economic challenges and as a way to inform public programmes and policies to address them.
Photo: Three ex-FARC fighters.