Organizing the Return of Government to Conflict Zones, Colombia, 2004-2009


In May 2004, Colombia’s Office of the Presidency established a national-level agency, the Centro de Coordinación de Acción Integral, to manage the reintroduction of state institutions into areas that had been retaken from leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and drug traffickers. The agency set up a central Bogotá office from which it coordinated work in so-called consolidation zones around the country. In many of these areas, the government had either been absent for decades or never present. In the words of Andres Peñate, former vice minister of defense and an architect of the initiative, “Although we were all Colombians, it was almost like conquering a different country.” Despite setbacks, by late 2009 the agency had received broad-based domestic and international endorsement.

Matthew Devlin and Sebastian Chaskel drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Colombia during October and November 2009. 

Associated Interview(s):  Diego Molano

service delivery
managing expectations
armed conflict
crime & violence
geographic access
community projects
Focus Area(s)
Accountable Policing
Civil Service
Getting the News Out/Managing Expectations
Critical Tasks
Extending services to insecure or remote areas
Non-state security actors
One-stop shops
Country of Reform
Case Studies
Matthew Devlin, Sebastian Chaskel