“We do share the goals of expanding social inclusion and economic opportunity… while preserving and strengthening our heritage of pluralism, tolerance, and diversity.” –Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
In January 2010, the United States and Colombia signed the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality. The Action Plan recognizes the important contributions of African descendent and indigenous peoples and seeks to elevate recognition of their cultures in both countries.
The Action Plan focuses on sharing best practices and implementing programs to address social barriers that affect Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. These barriers include: lack of continuity, quality, access, and participation in education; low participation and representation in democratic institutions; limited economic opportunities in the labor market; structural racism; and multiple forms of discrimination.
Priority areas for Action Plan programs include:
The Action Plan’s Steering Group held its first meeting June 2, 2010, in Bogotá. U.S. and Colombian government representatives evaluated existing assistance programs in Colombia for Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. The two governments agreed to establish working groups to discuss the make-up of the Steering group and an agenda for the first plenary session, proposed for late 2012.
The plenary group will incorporate representatives from both governments, civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector to develop proposals for achieving the Action Plan’s objectives.
The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs’ Race, Ethnicity, and Social Inclusion Unit coordinates the U.S. implementation of the Action Plan and similar initiatives in the region.
The U.S. government has developed new educational, economic, and cultural programming to support the Action Plan, including:
The United States will continue to work with our Colombian partners to develop innovative program ideas and raise awareness of these new opportunities among the African descendent and indigenous communities in Colombia and the United States.
For more information, please visit our website at: http://www.state.gov/p/wha/rt/social/index.htm.