Monday, March 1, 2021

Colombia: building a future on international cooperation

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DIPLOMAT MAGAZINE “For diplomats, by diplomats” Reaching out the world from the European Union First diplomatic publication based in The Netherlands Founded by members of the diplomatic corps on June 19th, 2013. Diplomat Magazine is inspiring diplomats, civil servants and academics to contribute to a free flow of ideas through an extremely rich diplomatic life, full of exclusive events and cultural exchanges, as well as by exposing profound ideas and political debates in our printed and online editions.

By H.E. Mr. Alvaro Andres Motta, Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia to the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

Colombia’s rich diversity and solid foundations including its strategic geographical location, political and economic stability, strong innovation, and a dynamic and expanding economy, among others, have made the country a secure reference in the international community to either do business, visit or work.

Colombia’s democracy based on the rule of law has allowed the country’s economy to ignite during the last few decades. According to the International Monetary Fund, Colombia’s GDP is expected to grow by 4% in 2021, one of the best economic performances at the regional level. The chosen path to achieve this growth is based on international cooperation and a firm commitment with multilateralism which facilitates addressing regional and global challenges. From its solid democratic history based on principles such as the recognition of human rights and the respect of the rule of law, Colombia has gained unique knowledge that it proudly shares at the international arena, through its active participation in different International Organizations. Notably, Colombia officially became the 37th member of the OECD, the third country in Latin America. The OECD regarded the country’s macroeconomic framework as one of the most solid in the Region.

Global issues demand global responses, matters such as climate change, the construction of peace, food security, immigration, deforestation, water scarcity, among others; require the highest commitment and solid response from each and every stakeholder at the international level. In the same vein, Colombia identifies bilateral relations as a core pillar to sustainable growth. Colombia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands have built strong ties in areas such as trade, investment, water and sanitation, education, infrastructure, and logistics, among others. Likewise, the proximity of the islands part of the Kingdom to Colombia has created great opportunities for cooperation and has become a strategic base for designing and developing important joint plans and projects.

In addition, Colombia’s foreign direct investment is one of the most influential factors of the economy and has been consistently growing. According to UNCTAD, Colombia ranks third among Latin American countries in attracting foreign investment and within the top 30 worldwide. Last year Colombia recorded historic level of inflows in terms of foreign direct investment while also enjoying favorable ratings from the three most important rating agencies in the world. There are uncountable reasons why the world is looking towards Colombia.

Not only does Colombia boost a strong democracy and economy in Latin America, it is the second most biodiverse country per square kilometers, holding around 14% of the planet’s biodiversity and 50% of the world’s heaths lands. The country recognizes its environmental richness as a unique opportunity for long term economic and social development, therefore Colombia sees the importance of the protection of its natural resources. In addition, the country is also committed to reducing its CO2 emissions and has an accumulated reduction of 30.9 tons so far. Moreover, Colombia has a number of strong public policies which protect the environment, with particular attention to the Amazon. Colombia’s future development is fully committed with the environment, believing that when the environment flourishes so does the economy.

Colombia is not only a diverse country for its geography and natural biodiversity; thanks to its history, culture expression and people, Colombia offers many unique and authentic experiences, and this is demonstrated within its booming tourism sector. As a consequence of its natural resources, culture and the economic and social progress, tourism to Colombia has experienced significant growth in recent years. European citizens currently occupy the second place of foreign travelers who arrive to Colombia. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted countries around the world in an unpredictable manner. With prevention and control Colombia has successfully maintained its health care system fully operating and with capacity to attend citizens and has implemented different measures to reduce the spread of the virus. Moreover, Colombia has established different channels of collaboration and cooperation to share experiences and resources with different countries around the world during this challenging situation. Furthermore, at the end of September 2020, the country launched an effective economic reactivation plan for trade, industry and tourism named Commitment to Colombia, the strategy includes specific measures to maintain the country as an economic powerhouse in Latin America.

The democracy characterized by free elections based on pluralism, the respect of rule of law, the independent and impartial judicial system, the recognition of human rights, among others, has allowed the country to thrive by ensuring peace with legality, focusing on a future based on cooperation between the states, incentivising innovation within the economy, ensuring the sustainability of the environment, and committing to multilateralism and the defence of human rights. All of this demonstrates how Colombia has successfully set up a framework for sustainable growth in the coming years.

As ambassador I continue strengthening the close ties between Colombia and the Netherlands and invigorating Colombia’s commitment and participation to the International Organizations based in The Hague, building a future on international cooperation.

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Photography by Marian van Noord for Diplomat Magazine.

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