PLAN COLOMBIA IN EUROPE
On July 7, 2000 over 27 nations gathered at a donors meeting in Madrid to decide on the amount of aid the European Union countries, Japan and Canada would commit to Plan Colombia. Unlike the $1.3 billion proposal considered in the United States and consisting of mostly military assistance, the proposals introduced in Europe included primarily development assistance.
Although certain governments such as the United States and Spain lobbied other EU members to commit to the requested proposals amounting to $1 billion, only Spain, Norway and Japan committed funds in the end. According to a July 10 Irish Times article, the Colombian government only received $621 million, including $300 million from the Inter-American Development Bank and the Andean Development Corporation and $131 million from the United Nations.
Unlike the debate in the United States, Plan Colombia met direct opposition from European governments who saw major contradictions between the U.S. military based package and the European development package. At a June 19 pre-donors meeting in London, EU government officials and a few NGO representatives expressed concern over the Colombian governments continued failure to meet basic human rights standards laid out by international organizations. In addition, many criticized the Colombian government for excluding NGOs and the communities that Plan Colombia will affect in the design and planned implementation of the proposals under consideration.
In fact, European and Colombian NGOs were almost totally excluded at the official donors meeting in Madrid. However, NGOs held an alternative meeting (Mesa Alternativa) in Madrid on July 5, where over 150 delegates representing development, human rights, social, environmental, and solidarity organizations as well as academics, rejected the Colombian government=s plan, and proposed alternatives based on environmental safety, community needs and involvement, and political negotiation rather than further conflict. Participants agreed that Plan Colombia coupled with the U.S. aid package, would only exacerbate the armed conflict, the human rights and humanitarian crisis, and the failure of past centralized development programs that have reinforced economic disparities.
For more information on the Alternative Donors Meeting, please visit http://www.nodo50.org/usocolombia/mesa