On October 17th in Oslo, Norway, historic peace talks will begin between the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Details on the negotiations are available in a recent article in the New York Times. This is a promising initiative with the potential to end the conflict and bring lasting peace and stability to Colombia. To illustrate the importance of land to the conflict, both parties have agreed that land and rural development will be the first issues to be addressed in the agenda proposed for negotiations. Recognizing the centrality of the land issue early on, President Santos upon assuming office, expanded the conflict resolution agenda to include a range of social issues including land and rural development. USAID supported this endeavor and beginning in 2010 directed resources to catalyze this process investing in policy and legal formulation as well as institutional strengthening and the establishment of regional and local land restitution offices.
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