During the last years, Colombia achieved significant progress in reducing poverty, although social imbalances and gaps between urban and rural areas still exist.  A weak State presence in some parts of the national territory - related to the large socio-economic disparities and the presence of illegal activities- constitute a factor of instability.

Moreover, Colombia still suffers from the domestic armed conflict with guerrilla groups and its ramifications with organised crime (notably in remote rural areas) which has been a major obstacle for development and security in the country. As an upper middle-income country, Colombia should in principle graduate from bilateral cooperation under the DCI. However in December 2013, the EP, EC and the Council decided to make an exception and continue EU cooperation with Colombia for a phase-out period 2014-2017.

EU cooperation 2014-2020

The aim of the 2014-2017 programming (€67 million) is to consolidate the achievements of ongoing past cooperation to help Colombian State to strengthen its presence in the peripheral regions and to overcome the legacy of the internal conflict. Fostering sustainable trade is also an objective for this period.

EU cooperation 2007-2013

For the 2007–2013 period (€163 million) the main focal sectors of EU cooperation were peace and stability, Rule of Law, justice and human rights and productivity, competitiveness and trade. With regards to peacebuilding, the EU has contributed to bringing positive outcomes such as curbing violence and conflict escalation in the conflict zones, strengthening the rule of law, recreating the social fabric and re-establishing mutual trust between local populations and authorities. The Peace Laboratories programmes have gained momentum and generated a wide network of local economic development agencies.

Colombia has a substantial portfolio of EU thematic projects totalling €35 million during the 2007-2013, mainly with a focus on human rights and environment. Colombia will remain eligible for EU thematic and regional cooperation even after the above-mentioned phase-out period.


Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 48 229 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 70 years (male), 77 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - High human development (2014): 0.720
  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2013): 6.1%
  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2013): 10.6%
  • Upper middle income country - Gross National Income per capita (2014): 4 491 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2010-2014): 4.8%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015

Agriculture and Food Security

  • 44 000 hectares of pastures were improved with forest grazing systems (FGS)

Civil Society and Local Authorities

  • 18 local development plans were formulated which included programmes and funds intended to promote transparency and integrity in public management
  • 15 municipalities published a transparency index for public management in collaboration with the NGO "Transparencia por Colombia"

Good Governance and Human Rights

  • 17 000 persons were trained on processes of democratic governance covering issues such as territorial identity, territorial planning, municipal development, participation and advocacy
  • 1 700 victims of the armed conflict in Columbia received support by the mobile unit for victims’ support (Unidad Móvil de Atención y Orientación a Víctimas)

Trade and Private sector development

  • 600 micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) received financial support through credits


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