For over 40 years, the Bogotá Chamber of Commerce has been interested in generating environments for coexistence and security.
Peace strategy advances
Tax Benefits in ZOMACs
Around 200 business people from Bogotá participated in the “ZOMAC, Tax Benefits and Works for Taxes” conference organized by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (Confecámaras, for the Spanish original) and the CCB, in partnership with the High Presidential Commissioner on Post Conflict in Colombia, the Land Renovation Agency and the DIAN.
The tax benefits were presented at this event for newly registered companies that start activities in the Areas Most Affected by the Armed Conflict (ZOMAC, for the Spanish original). Likewise, the mechanism was explained of works for taxes through taxpayers’ direct investment in the execution of infrastructure projects of social importance.
The Director of Peace Building highlighted the importance of connecting this process to the business sector of the Cundinamarca Department’s municipalities, which according to Decree 1650 of 2017 and Decree 1950 of 2017 are considered ZOMACs. These include Cabrera and Silvania, which are inside the CCB's jurisdiction.
See the pictures of the ZOMAC conference .
Peace program, human talent model
The CCB participated in the Second Human Talent Meeting held on April 11, 2018, organized by Camacol Bogotá and Cundinamarca.
The Peace Building director, Andrés Ucrós, presented a peace building model from the private sector and the Human Talent manager, Melissa Schutt, shared the experience of the ex-combatant employability and entrepreneurship program.
See the presentation “The role of the private sector in peace building” here .
See the presentation “The business sector at the service of peace building” here .
Debate on how to effectively curb corruption in Colombia
As a partner of associates and in order to provide tools for their development and a better business environment, the CCB has been creating spaces for analysis and discussion with public, private and academic actors on who to fight corruption, a crime that is deeply affecting competitiveness.
In this respect, the Executive President of the Chamber, Mónica de Greiff, stresses that “the topic must be a priority on the national agenda, particularly during the post-conflict, in which we are formulating new challenges in search of prosperity for our country”.
According to the president of the entity, although the State has responded with legal measures, such as the increase in sanctions and stricter regulation, and the private sector has developed initiatives aimed at business ethics to prevent corruption and encourage reporting, it is still necessary to conduct an analysis from the cultural and social perspectives.
Aware of this need, the Chamber and the Corpovisionarios NGO, directed by former mayor of Bogotá, called on a distinguished group of local and foreign experts to analyze the problem from a perspective that will allow them to understand what motivates the corrupt to commit this crime, as well as to understand the social cultural roots of this behavior.
The discussion took place on December 12 and 13, 2017 during the 2017 International Seminar on Social Sciences and Political Studies “Everyone does it: Understanding honesty and transgression through social norms”, with the participation of experts from Argentina, United States, Norway and Colombia, among which those from the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero (Argentina), Marcelo Bergman; the IDB, Juan Ricardo Ortega; the University of Pennsylvania, Cristina Bicchieri; PRIO (Norway), Scott Gates; the University of California, Gerry Mackie; and Princeton stood out, Debora Prentice; among others.
The speakers made their contributions to the construction of an agenda engaging public and private entities in the fight against corruption, firstly in the social and cultural understanding of the crime, and secondly in the definition of initiatives to address its root causes in Colombian society.
“This is no minor issue. We are at a moment in history for the consolidation of a reconciled and inclusive society of opportunities. Effectively seizing this opportunity depends to a great extent on the results of the fight against corruption”, adds Mónica, who explains that the initiative is intended to prevent corruption from undermining citizens’ trust in the State.
First year of implementing the Peace Agreement. What comes next?
After the first year of implementing the Final Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of Stable, Long-lasting Peace, different civil society organizations assessed the advances achieved and the challenges of the implementation in the short and medium term.
Rather than a thorough assessment of each item of the agreement, general positions and views were presented, with approaches to specific topics that contribute to identifying the public policy agenda for implementing and building peace, as well as a set of actions that can be developed collectively to foster desires for peace.
To this end, the Forum “First year of implementing the Peace Agreement. What comes Next?” was carried out on December 12 and 13, 2017, in which discussions were raised on the following panels:
- General Assessment - Commission for the Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Implementation (CSIVI, for the Spanish original) - Government and FARC
- Access to and use of the land
- Democratic opening: Political reform - Status of the Opposition + Special Transitional Peace Constituencies
- Education for Peace and National Policy for Peace, Reconciliation and Coexistence
- General assessments of the implementation
- Constitutional impact of the Final Agreement
- Economic and social reintegration
- Comprehensive Human Rights Policy
- Territorial peace
- Role of the international community in the implementation
- Role of the media
- Verification of the implementation
- Reintegration, security guarantees for ex-combatants and communities
- Assessment of the implementation of the gender, LGTBI and ethnic chapter
- Plans and programs for the Comprehensive Rural Reform
- Special Jurisdiction for Peace
- Financing and Implementation Framework Plan
- Security Guarantees and Unit for Dismantling the Paramilitary Groups
- National Program for the Replacement of Illicit Crops / Criminal Treatment
- Work and Unionism in the Peace Agreement
- Guarantees for participation and protest by social organizations
- Commission for Clarification, Coexistence and Non-recurrence and the Missing Persons Unit
- What do the parties propose for the implementation of the Final Peace Agreement?
- Role and commitment of civil society in the implementation of the Peace Agreement
The forum was carried out by more than 70 civil society organizations, led by Corporación Viva la Ciudadanía.
Associates participated in the Second Business Forum for Reconciliation
Based on the strong belief that peaceful and reconciled societies are more likely to generate not only economic, but also social and cultural value, the private sector played an active role in the Second Business Forum for Reconciliation, held in Bogotá on November 27 and 28.
The Business Forum is a scenario to build partnerships, expand the supplier chain and undertake specific actions for reconciliation as an element that contributes to the trust, competitiveness, innovation and development of organizations. This is an initiative of Corporación Reconciliación Colombia, which has the support of its partners, including the CCB, and more than 20 partner organizations from different sectors working to close the gaps in the regions and rebuild the trust of the territories.
The CCB's Business Strengthening Vice-Presidency, Juan David Castaño, stressed that “collective action is the best way to manage long-term processes of cultural and social change”. Therefore, the Business Forum is “a space where associates and civil society organizations can converge to cooperate and collaborate to integrate reconciliation with the market and thus, generate wealth and opportunities for improvement”.
See images of the Second Business Forum .
The CCB rewarded creative innovation for peace building
In the framework of the El Dorado Festival, which highlights and rewards creativity, the CCB Award to Innovation for Peace Building was presented, in recognition of promoting great ideas and to reward the best creative initiatives that contribute to the development of a culture of peace in Colombia.
The winner of the 2017 Award in the Gold Category was the “Nómada” initiative, which is a project that answers the question: How do you reintegrate 15,000 people and their families in society after signing the peace agreement? The answer: Education.
Nómada is a portable classroom that brings class for 20 people to places that used to be at war, using the latest Samsung technology. In this classroom, through education and technology, the children of ex-combatants learn about a world other than that of war. This project was rewarded by the National Reintegration Agency for its contribution to finding alternatives to reintegrate the guerrilla in society through education.
“Our only destiny is to learn” states the message of the winning initiative.
The CCB has continued to form mediation program policies
On December 6, 2017, 80 policemen from the City Region graduated from the diploma course on Police Mediation “Educator of Educators”, an academic program that began in 2014 and aims to provide the officers with tools to be able to serve as mediators in citizen day-to-day conflicts.
The diploma was presented by Mónica de Greiff, Executive president of the CCB, and the General Commander of the Colombian National Police, Jorge Nieto.
With this group, there are now more than 160 policemen who received the degree of mediators in the last four years, and nearly 800 who have received awareness training on the importance of these tools in their work.
This training initiative is part of the Police Mediation Project, led by the CCB and the National Police, which have set out to develop peace building scenarios by improving the differentiated management and handling of citizen conflicts.
The diploma course is part of the strategies aimed at generating peace building scenarios that improve citizen security and coexistence.
Bogotá hosted the annual “Business for Peace” meeting
On November 1 and 2, Bogotá was the host of the annual Business for Peace (B4P) event, which is the platform of the United Nations Global Compact that promotes collaborative actions and practices for the private sector to engage in peace building processes.
The meeting, which every year brings together business leaders who promote peace building actions in the framework of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), was organized in Colombia by the UN Peacebuilding Support Office, the Colombian Network of the Global Compact and the CCB. On this occasion, more than 200 people met, including business leaders, philanthropists, civil society, Government, the United Nations and local networks of the Global Compact.
The platform supports companies that implement responsible business practices in line with the principles of the Global Compact in areas affected by armed conflict or high-risk countries.
To the CCB, which acts as the Technical Secretariat of the Business for Peace platform in Colombia, the event is a unique opportunity for moving forward on the peace building agenda hand in hand with its associates.
The Vice-president of the Chamber’s Public-Private Synergy, Jorge Mario Díaz, explained that “Colombia is going through a time of major economic, political and cultural transformation. This new environment means that the associates must take on an active role in the design, direction and management of said transformation. We believe that the responsibility of the private sector cannot be delegated and we are prepared to contribute to building the Colombia of the 21st century”.
B4P coincides with this year’s designation of Bogotá as the International City of Peace, a designation granted by the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates held in the Colombian capital last February. This Summit was also the result of the CCB’s commitment to create spaces of insight on the challenges to be faced by the country in building a reconciled, more equal society with inclusive development opportunities for all.
See images of the first day of B4P .
See images of the second day of B4P.
The role of the corporate sector in the peace agreement
David Cortright, head of Political Studies and of the Peace Accords Matrix at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame University, USA, met with several of the country's businessmen and entrepreneurs to discuss the role that the corporate sector plays in the implementation of the peace accords.
On account of the recent signing of the peace accords between the Colombian Government and the FARC-EP group, the Institute is tasked with monitoring and tracking the implementation of the agreements set forth in Colombia. Furthermore, it tracks the implementation of over 30 peace accords through the Peace Accords Matrix, the largest database in the world regarding the implementation of comprehensive peace accords.
David Cortright is renowned as an academic and an expert in peace studies; he is the author and co-author of over 19 books related to conflict and the construction of peace. Throughout his lengthy professional history he has led public mobilization processes in favor of peace, and has worked as an adviser to several countries and international bodies, including the United Nations, the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict and The International Peace Academy.
His lecture was organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá, jointly with the Ideas for Peace Foundation and the Global Pact's Business Network.
Corporate contribution to the transitional justice
In the context of a private dialogue session, enterprise leaders, small and mid-size entrepreneurs, academics and legal advisers contributed their inputs, proposals and thoughts about the role the sector plays in the transitional justice mechanisms to be implemented in the coming months.
The exercise was held on August 16th, 2017, with a summoning from the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá (CCB) and the Institute for Integral Transitions (IFIT).
The session was dubbed "Inputs from entrepreneurs on transitional justice" and it is an important part of the construction of a propositional action agenda whose purpose it is to ensure a fair and adequate implementation of the different transitional justice mechanisms, specifically the Truth-Finding Commission and the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.
“Adaptation to the urban transitions in Colombia - Bogotá in the post-conflict stage”
A meeting of subject-matter experts was held on June 28th at the CCB's Chapinero facilities, in the context of the project dubbed "Adaptation to the urban transitions in Colombia - Bogotá in the post-conflict stage". Participants to the event included Héctor Olimpo Espinosa Oliver, Interior Vice-Minister for public relations; Juan Carlos Retrepo, Presidential Security Adviser; Lucas Uribe Lopera, Reintegration Program Director at the Agency for Reincorporation and Normalization; as well as other representatives from the City and the CAF, among others.
As a result of this meeting, new agreements were reached regarding the challenges in safety and urban development in the new Colombian context, as well as regarding the strategies, tools and cooperation between institutions towards urban security.
2017 Inaugural Academic Conference
Colombia's future, social justice and the economy
Close to 1.000 people heeded the invitation extended by the University of El Rosario: to rethink the country's future in terms of social justice and the economy. In this event, Colombia stood under the critical and assessing view of students academics and public and private stakeholders.
Memorias de la conferencia: El futuro de Colombia, justicia social y economía