Remarks by the Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Carolina Olarte Bácares after presenting its credentials
Dear Excellencies, colleagues, friends, ladies, and gentlemen,
It was with immense gratitude and commitment that I received and accepted the invitation extended by the Colombian National Government to assume the duties as Ambassador to the Netherlands.
For the past 20 years, my professional practice related mainly to the academic field, as a university professor of international law, Director of the Centre for International Law Studies, and recently as Dean of the Law School of my alma mater, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. For a Colombian lawyer and international jurist, like me, promoting the interests of Colombia in The Hague is undoubtedly a very significant opportunity, especially considering my experience in the field of arbitration, reflected in my current position as a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, as well as an agent of Colombia before the International Court of Justice.
I offer this background in the hope that it will add value to the diplomatic context and be especially fruitful for the relations that I will weave with each of you during the exercise of my duties as Ambassador of Colombia.
The work agenda I want to develop is extensive; however, today, I want to share with you three aspects that I consider especially relevant:
2. Just Energy Transition
Our government has launched the “Total Peace Policy”, which consists of negotiating with all armed groups and includes an additional component: turning the endeavor for peace into a State policy by significantly including communities in the negotiations. This implies the possibility of seeking peace with illegal groups and criminal gangs linked to drug trafficking, through negotiation and processes of adjudication.
The “Total Peace Policy means continuing with the construction processes within the framework of the internal armed conflict, many of them generously supported by the Kingdom of The Netherlands, as well as promoting and showing the world the peace laboratory that we have created in Colombia with institutions such as the tribunal created as a Special Jurisdiction for Peace, or the Truth Commission, which, with its methodologies and results, has enabled the reconstruction of historical and collective memory of the armed conflict. These are all steps towards reconciliation.
Total Peace also implies constant collaboration with international criminal law institutions such as the International Criminal Court, from a constructive and increasingly positive perspective of complementarity.
Moreover, “total” or comprehensive peace involves strengthening alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that materialize in the legal context, such as arbitration, negotiation, mediation, conciliation and, of course, international litigation. All these mechanisms are at the heart of various multilateral bodies and judicial institutions located in The Hague and promoted by worldwide renowned academic and scientific institutions. The Colombian experience in peacebuilding thus transcends borders and serves as a laboratory and as an example for the world.
Just Energy Transition
Colombia has a fundamental interest in strengthening bilateral relations with the Netherlands in favor of its energy transition and the promotion of renewable energies. For this reason, Colombia, which sees itself as a “world power for life” (una potencia mundial de la vida), is committed to a just energy transition that responds to the global crisis generated by climate change. Colombia is drawing a roadmap to move from an energy matrix dominated by fossil fuels to a more environmentally sustainable one that takes advantage of its potentiality to generate renewable energies, such as solar and wind power.
We will continue in our interest to implement green hydrogen projects and strengthen a circular economy. To achieve this, we rely on the support of all your countries and institutions because we believe that these are matters of global interest and, as such, we are called to share knowledge, technological capabilities, and experiences.
We are in the process of drafting a Colombian feminist foreign policy based on three premises that will have a transformative gender approach: pacifist, intersectional and participatory. This policy addresses the root causes of gender inequality in the country and helps us bring them to international arenas with the aim of working together with others to overcome these causes. We have just initiated the process to design the first national action plan on the issue to comply with Security Council Resolution 1325. The roadmap has been set and it has focused our agenda in women’s economic autonomy; women free from sexual and reproductive violence; women for justice, peace and security; the creation of a national care system; and women defenders of life and territory for climate and environmental justice, among others. In this sense, the collaborative work that we can promote from the Colombian Embassy in the Netherlands, both bilaterally and multilaterally, will be decisive in advancing this purpose. We invite you all to work hand in hand with us, as gender equality is a common concern.
I thank each of you − Excellencies, representatives of the Government of The Netherlands and multilateral organizations, colleagues and friends, as well as my family − for your presence at this celebration. I like to give an special acknowledgement to the team of colleagues at the Embassy. They organized every detail for this greeting event and prepared my arrival so that I could assume my functions in a calm and smooth manner. Finally, I would like to greet our colleagues from the Colombian consulate in Amsterdam, the military attaché and the Colombian police attachés.
It only remains for me to reiterate the enthusiasm and interest with which today I start my duties, and I assure you my availability to work with each of you in strengthening our bilateral and multilateral relations.
Thank you for your kind attention and for joining me today.