The recent High Level Dialogue between the United States and Colombia sounded the theme of mutual solutions to mutual challenges.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted the Dialogue “is built on a shared foundation of two vibrant democracies committed to ensuring that our people can reach their full potential.”
Colombian Foreign Minister Alvaro Leyva said, “We are the same people, the same continent, the same security, the same issues.”
Among the topics discussed, Secretary Blinken highlighted climate change and trade.
“We’ll continue working to help Colombia reach its ambitious climate goals, from providing ongoing technical assistance on wind and solar projects to strengthening protection of the Amazon,” said Secretary Blinken. “We’ll expand pathways for farmers, for textile producers, and other small-and medium-sized businesses in rural areas to get their products to global markets and reap the benefits of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement.”
The Dialogue also focused on improving civilian security. Law enforcement will continue, but both countries recognize, Secretary Blinken said, that “we have to tackle the root causes of insecurity – like corruption, like impunity for crimes, human rights abuses and the lack of economic opportunity.” That is why USAID is investing $60 million over five years to expand opportunities for Afro-Colombian and Indigenous communities in Colombia.
In addition, The United States recognizes the dire situation that rural insecurity poses towards the safety of human rights defenders, ethnic leaders, and environmental defenders so our ongoing partnership will seek to address, mitigate, and prevent further harm.
Countering the flow of illegal drugs was also a focus. A “holistic approach,” Secretary Blinken said, means looking to reduce demand for drugs by investing in substance use, prevention, treatment, and recovery, as well as finding ways to reduce supply through interdiction, and providing vulnerable communities with alternative ways to earn a living.
Secretary Blinken noted the unprecedented migration occurring across the hemisphere. In its response to Venezuelan migrants, “Colombia,” he said, “is showing the way that migration, when it’s managed safely, humanely, and as a region, can actually increase stability and can be an opportunity, not a burden, for communities.”
Since 2010, the United States and Colombia have participated in ten High Level Dialogues. This year’s discussion reaffirmed the commitment to further shared goals in the service of a more inclusive, democratic, secure, and prosperous future for the region.