As part of their 2016 peace agreement, the Government of Colombia and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) invited the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies to provide technical assistance to the main monitoring and verification bodies: the joint Government of Colombia and FARC Monitoring and Verification Commission; and the International Verification Component headed by Felipe Gonzalez and Pepe Mújica (former presidents of Spain and Uruguay).
The tasks of the Kroc Institute can be clustered in two distinct groups:
- Build an evidence-based assessment and monitoring model to measure compliance with the agreements, identifying in real-time the advances, difficulties, gaps and setbacks in the implementation, and providing contemporaneous analysis to key decision-makers.
- Enable and facilitate real-time decision-making and adjustments in order to facilitate continuous improvement of peacebuilding capabilities to support implementation.
In response, the Kroc Institute created the Barometer Initiative, a bespoke methodology for the Colombian context that was inspired by its own Peace Accord Matrix programme.
The initiative examines the degree of implementation in 578 stipulations (actionable commitments) in the peace accord. These are grouped for analytical purposes into 18 themes and 70 sub-themes. The Barometer also assesses the level of implementation of cross-cutting priorities within the agreement: gender, ethnicity, territorial peace and human rights. A team of local peacebuilders gathers, verifies and systematises in a qualitative database information from hundreds of sources, including government officials, FARC advisors, the international community, NGOs, think tanks and universities, and women’s and ethnic organisations. Means of data gathering include perception studies, field visits, ethnographic assessments and press monitoring.
Through a coding process, the information updates a monthly quantitative assessment of the implementation of each stipulation, theme and sub-theme. In addition, data and assessments are shared regularly with hundreds of local stakeholders through ‘reflexive dialogue spaces’, creating an engaged participatory process to make sense of the main qualitative advances, difficulties, alerts, setbacks and gaps, as well as of the positive and negative cascading effects of the implementation. Kroc also develops a comparative assessment using analysis from the 34 different cases in the Peace Accord Matrix.
Using this analysis, the Barometer Initiative prepares regular reports assessing the implementation process. Some comprehensive reports are public, evaluating the state of implementation including on cross-cutting priorities. Other reports are confidential policy briefs provided to the key decision-makers which present evidence-based quantitative, qualitative and comparative information. These can respond to questions from the parties, identify concerns, highlight difficulties, gaps and setbacks, and provide comparative insights about how other countries responded to similar dilemmas. In partnership with key local and international actors and local civil society platforms, Kroc also prepares assessments of the implementation of the gender equity and other cross-cutting priorities in the accord in order to influence debate and decision-making and encourage more meaningful and transformative participation of key actors.
Kroc sees its approach as an opportunity to facilitate an adaptive implementation that, among other things:
- supports key decision-makers with information and timely options to respond to emergent dynamics
- increases resilience by identifying local opportunities and processes that can be nurtured to sustain peace
- facilitates implementation processes that are more inclusive, participatory and open to social and community actors, including women, young people, ethnic groups and other strategic stakeholders
- provides access to credible information for increasing social and political support to the transition from war to peace
Kroc also provides timely information about key destabilising factors such as narcotrafficking, corruption and human rights violations, and comparative options about how to respond to these. Kroc’s approach seeks to build trust between the parties.