Overview

Colombia is the third most populated country in Latin America, with an estimated population of 48.3 million, of which 13 million are living in poverty. Although Colombia is classified as an upper middle income country, inequality levels are high with a Gini coefficient of 0.53.

The internal conflict in Colombia for over fifty years has affected more than six million victims. In 2012, the Government of Colombia and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) agreed to a peace process, and are currently advancing on an array of complex issues which are central to resolving the conflict. Recently there has been a decrease in forced displacements, however other forms of violence and intimidation have increased, making WFP’s capacity to respond and provide effective and coordinated humanitarian assistance a high priority. 

Displacement and violence cause food insecurity, loss of livelihoods, changes in family structures, as well as tensions within households and communities. 

The geography of the conflict has disproportionally affected women, Afro-Colombians, and indigenous people. Approximately 60 percent of IDPs are women and children. In 2014 it was estimated that 5.9 million internally displaced people and 262,000 confined people are still in need of humanitarian assistance. Many of these people are still in need of humanitarian assistance. Colombia has the second highest number of internally displaced people (IDP) in the world, after Syria. Due to conflict and historical marginalization, parts of the country still remain beyond the reach of the state, are marked by insecurity and indiscriminate violence, and are excluded from the government’s considerable social investments.

While the economy grew at an annual average of 4.4 percent from 2007 to 2012, the benefits of economic growth are unequally distributed.  Large parts of the country have not benefited from the advances or the government’s social investments due to weak institutional presences. Colombia’s status as a steadily growing middle-income country masks severe inequities within two Colombias: one with dynamic urban centers, and the other; poor, rural, institutionally weak, and conflict-affected.

Approximately 43 percent of Colombians consider themselves food insecure, due to lack of access to basic staples and nutritious foods. Almost 24 percent of displaced children are chronically malnourished compared to the national average of 12 percent. In indigenous communities in the Pacific Coast, almost 90 percent of children under five suffer from chronic malnutrition. More than 60% of rural households live without assets, and many of them without sufficient access to basic services (water, sanitation and houses). 

While helping the most vulnerable to secure access to quality food, WFP supports the creation of an environment of peace and reconciliation. WFP emphasizes confidence-building approaches that strengthen the resilience of affected communities and the capacities of local authorities; all with the aim of helping Colombians achieve a lasting and sustainable peace.