Relations with Colombia

  • Last updated: 03 Jun. 2021 16:15

In 2017, Colombia became one of NATO’s global partners, and the Alliance’s first Latin American partner. Today, NATO and Colombia continue to strengthen dialogue and cooperation to address a number of global security challenges, including cyber security, terrorism, the fight against corruption and maritime security. Colombia provides demining training to NATO Allies and partner countries, while NATO is also supporting Colombia in its continuing efforts to develop its armed forces.

The President of Colombia, Ivan Duque Marquez visits NATO and meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and President of Colombia Iván Duque Márquez (October 2018)

 

  • NATO and Colombia have been engaging in dialogue and cooperation since 2013. 
  • A second Individual Partnership and Cooperation Programme, signed in May 2019, formalised the recognition of Colombia as a NATO partner and opened access to the full range of cooperative activities that NATO offers to partners. The programme sets out priority areas for dialogue and cooperation between NATO and Columbia.
  • NATO and Colombia focus on developing common approaches to global security challenges such as cyber security, maritime security, and terrorism and its links to organised crime as well as supporting peace and security efforts, including human security.  
  • Colombia provides demining training to NATO Allies and partners through Colombia’s International Demining Centre (CIDES) participation in the network of NATO Partnership Training and Education Centres (PTEC). NATO also supports Colombia in its efforts to build the capacities and capabilities of the Colombian armed forces.
  • In 2018, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed then Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos as well as current President Iván Duque Márquez for the first time to NATO. During high-level talks at NATO Headquarters on 22 January 2021, Colombian Vice Foreign Minister for Multilateral Affairs Adriana Mejia, Vice Defence Minister for Strategy and Planning Jairo Garcia and NATO representatives decided to extend the bilateral cooperation on issues such as demining and the protection of civilians during armed conflicts.
  • An agreement on cooperation and the security of information also entered into force in January 2021.
  • NATO also engages more broadly on security challenges facing Latin America. In December 2020, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoană attended the Concordia Americas Summit, where political leaders, business innovators and non-governmental representatives discussed how to tackle, together, the challenges facing the Western Hemisphere. In this context, the Deputy Secretary General stressed the value of global partnerships, such as the one NATO shares with Colombia, to manage these issues.

 

Key areas of cooperation

Colombia's cooperation with NATO is mutually beneficial and includes:

Building capabilities and interoperability

  • Through training, education and exercises, NATO Allies and Colombia seek to develop the interoperability of their armed forces, in line with NATO norms and standards. This will facilitate possible future Colombian participation in United Nations-led operations and missions. Colombian personnel regularly take part in courses at the NATO School in Oberammergau, Germany, and the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy. Colombia has also participated in a number of high-level military conferences.
  • Colombia also has a lot of expertise to offer in the areas of humanitarian demining, countering improvised explosive devices, counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics.  In 2019, this expertise resulted in Colombia joining NATO’s network of Partnership Training and Education Centres (PTECs) with Colombia’s International Demining Centre (CIDES). As part of the PTEC community, CIDES contributes to the education and training of personnel from NATO nations and partners in the crucial area of humanitarian and military demining.
  • Since 2013, Colombia's defence ministry has actively participated in the Building Integrity programme, which provides practical assistance and advice for strengthening integrity, accountability and transparency in the defence and security sector.

Support for NATO-led operations and missions

  • In 2015, Colombia supported Ocean Shield, NATO's past maritime operation to counter piracy off the Horn of Africa, with a vessel. Further opportunities will be explored for interaction in the maritime domain to strengthen naval interoperability and information-sharing.

Wider cooperation

  • Colombia and NATO are seeking to develop common approaches to support peace and security efforts including human security, with a particular focus on supporting the implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, as well as protecting children in armed conflict and civilians.
  • Colombia participates in NATO’s Science for Peace and Security Programme. An advanced research workshop took place in the capital Bogota in 2019, focusing on counter-terrorism lessons from maritime piracy and narcotic interdiction. Following the workshop, recommendations for best practices and technological innovations to manage seaborne terrorism were made.