Colombia, a member of the OECD since 2020, plays a dual role in the international co-operation architecture as both an official development assistance (ODA) recipient and South-South and triangular co-operation provider. The government of Colombia, committed to promoting ODA and South-South co-operation principles, actively participates in regional and global discussions to propose added-value models of intervention and to enhance the effectiveness of the projects and initiatives implemented according to local needs and considering each partner’s scope, expertise and capabilities. Additionally, unlike most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, since 1996, Colombia annually allocates a national budget to the Co-operation and International Assistance Fund (FOCA) to support foreign humanitarian aid and knowledge exchange initiatives. It, thus, has the autonomy to propose and diversify international co-operation mechanisms.

Every four years, Colombia establishes a National Strategy of International Co-operation (ENCI in Spanish). It is the main framework to set priorities and mechanisms to guide the international non-reimbursable co-operation it receives from international stakeholders and potential offers to Global South partners. The first strategy (2007-10) focused on ODA. A few years later, it evolved to include South-South and triangular co-operation to reflect Colombia’s emerging role as a technical co-operation provider worldwide.

The upcoming strategy, ENCI 2023-2027, is being designed according to the strategic priorities and needs of the National Development Plan 2022-2026, emphasising total peace as a central policy through seven transformational drivers: 1) land management; 2) human security and social justice; 3) food security; 4) internationalisation; 5) productive transformation; 6) climate action; and 7) regional convergence. The new strategy seeks to improve the co-ordination and effectiveness of international co-operation and the engagement of diplomatic missions, co-operation agencies, the United Nations (UN) system, multilateral banks, international partners, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, academia, local authorities, civil society and other actors.

Colombia is an Adherent to the OECD Recommendation of the Council for Development Co-operation Actors on Managing the Risk of Corruption and the Recommendation of the Council on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development. In 2019 and 2021, Colombia participated in the LAC-DAC Dialogue on Development Co-operation.

According to OECD estimates based on publicly available information, Colombia’s bilateral development co-operation reached USD 3.89 million in 2021, slightly down from USD 3.92 million in 2020. This figure does not include assessed contributions to the multilateral system. In 2021, Colombia’s contribution to South-South and triangular co-operation was reflected in 74 bilateral and triangular projects.

Since 2015, Colombia has developed the “Quantification and Added Value Measurement Model”. Beyond quantifying direct costs (financial), the model focuses on the added value of the knowledge contributed during an exchange (indirect costs). The approach considers the profile of those contributing to the knowledge and measures results under value categories such as knowledge contribution, enhanced relations, differential approach, alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals and visibility of South-South co-operation.

According to Colombia’s estimates, in 2021, Colombia’s contribution to South-South and triangular co-operation was reflected in more than 160 bilateral and triangular initiatives, which were mainly two-way, with Colombia standing out as a predominantly international co-operation offeror. These initiatives were aimed mainly at the Latin America and the Caribbean region. The most frequently addressed topics in the framework of South-South co-operation projects to strengthen capacities in Colombia and its partners were: strengthening institutions and public policies, culture, environment, and tourism.

As part of Colombia’s co-operation strategy, the country is increasingly focusing on initiatives in Asia-Pacific and Africa, as reflected in regional co-operation projects with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and African Union Development Agency-NEPAD on the green and blue economies issues.

The Colombian government is committed to elevating South-South and triangular co-operation to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – as established at the Second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Co-operation (BAPA+40). Colombia prioritises countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and Africa for this co-operation and other plurilateral mechanisms such as the Pacific Alliance, the Andean Community and the Mesoamerica Project. Domestically, and to maximise the results of successful international co-operation projects, Colombia promotes the exchange of best practices through its COL-COL initiative,1 a way for ODA-benefiting regions within Colombia to share best practices with territories that are not directly benefiting from incoming ODA.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Colombia has played a solution-making and solution-sharing role at a local and international level. At the national level, it created public policies for keeping and reactivating the country’s socio-economic conditions, prioritising needs and facilitating procedures for receiving support through inter-institutional co-ordination mechanisms.2 Colombia shared its best practices with Latin American and Caribbean countries, including in education, monetary transfers to disadvantaged people, data management systems and telemedicine.

At the international level, Colombia contributed to nine international aid appeals from other countries in the Global South, e.g. through the International Assistance and Co-operation Fund (FOCAI), to which it provided USD 730 000 to strengthen hospital capacities and deliver medical supplies. In 2020, FOCAI also provided USD 500 000 to the COVAX-AMC mechanism to support the distribution of vaccines in 92 low- and middle-income countries. In addition, Colombia has contributed to humanitarian emergency requests from Caribbean and Central American countries during natural disasters, such as hurricanes Eta and Iota as well as during the COVID-19 pandemic. Colombia has adapted its processes to virtual formats to share good practices and guarantee the continuity and completion of ongoing projects.

Colombia engages in triangular co-operation. Data from the Ibero-American General Secretariat show that Colombia acted as beneficiary, pivot and facilitator of triangular co-operation and engaged in 11 triangular co-operation projects in 2019. Learn more about triangular co-operation and Colombia’s number of projects through the OECD’s voluntary triangular co-operation project repository. Colombia is a member of the Global Partnership Initiative on Effective Triangular Co-operation.

The three main actors in Colombia’s development co-operation system are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (International Co-operation Directorate), the Presidential Agency for International Co-operation (APC-Colombia) and the National Planning Department. While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs formulates and guides Colombia’s foreign policy, APC-Colombia is the technical and financial co-ordinator of the non-reimbursable international co-operation that the country receives and provides.

Co-operation frameworks with strategic partners are negotiated based on the national priorities by the government of Colombia under a value-added approach to support and complement national public policies. Bilateral country strategies include the European Union, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. For instance, due to a year-long round of negotiations with the UN system, the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework, UNSDCF 2020-2023, established three thematic areas: peace, migration and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) accelerators. Ongoing negotiations are taking place in 2023 to define the new UNSDCF 2023-2027 based on the new National Development Plan 2022-2026.

The National System of International Co-operation (SNCI in Spanish), established in 2022 and led by APC-Colombia, is aimed at enhancing institutional capabilities to co-ordinate international co-operation at the subnational level following both sectoral and territorial policies. The system represents a law enforcement mechanism to strategically align international co-operation with Colombia’s institutional efforts in support of its dual role as a provider and recipient of ODA, based on programmatic and operational scenarios considering the 2030 Agenda, international commitments and co-operation frameworks agreed upon between the Colombian government and international donors.

Presidential Agency for International Co-operation (APC-Colombia), “Colombia’s role in the SDGs”, (in Spanish).

National Development Department, National Development Plan 2018-2022 “Pact for Colombia, Pact for Equity”: (in Spanish).

APC-Colombia (2022), Accountability Report, Presidential Agency for International Co-operation, (in Spanish).

Member of the OECD since 2020. Not a member of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC).


← 1. For further information, see:

← 2. The International Disaster Response Law Commission, which co-ordinated the response with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Presidential Agency for International Cooperation APC-Colombia, among other institutions.

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