U.S. - Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
July 17, 2015


“In order to ensure that all voices are heard, we need to continue to empower historically marginalized groups. That includes…people of African descent, indigenous populations…we’re making progress in addressing the underlying causes of inequality and exclusion in our hemisphere. We are partnering with civil society...with governments...with regional institutions to confront racial and ethnic discrimination in order to improve access to services and to economic opportunities.”

- Secretary of State John Kerry, December 2014

In January 2010, the United States and Colombia signed the U.S.-Colombia Action Plan on Racial and Ethnic Equality (CAPREE). CAPREE recognizes ethnic and racial diversity as a crucial element in the development of democratic and multicultural societies. Our joint efforts focus on sharing best practices and implementing programs addressing social barriers affecting people of African descent and indigenous communities in both countries, and promoting mutually-beneficial solutions to the challenges of racial and ethnic discrimination. To facilitate exchanges and partnerships, Colombia and the United States established a two-part framework consisting of the Steering Committee and Plenary Meeting.

Meeting Updates

April 2015: The United States and Colombia held a Steering Committee meeting in Bogota, Colombia, led by Colombian Minister of Interior Juan Fernando Cristo and Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The Steering Committee met to advance our common goals and continues to partner with civil society and private sector in both countries.

June 2013: The United States hosted the first Plenary Meeting with representatives from both governments, the private sector, and civil society to develop proposals in six priority areas. Thematic working groups proposed activities and incorporated them into a joint work plan.

Priority Updates

CAPREE programs build minority institutions’ capacity in the following areas:

  • Education
  • Culture
  • Sports
  • Workforce Inclusion
  • Minority Business Development
  • Sustainable Development

Programs and Initiatives

The U.S. and Colombian governments, in partnership with civil society organizations and the private sector, are developing new educational, economic, cultural and capacity-building programming to support CAPREE including:

  • Education: The College Horizons Outreach Program provided English teaching, academic advising, and mentoring to over 100 Afro-Colombian and indigenous high school students.
  • Culture: In conjunction with USAID, Inclusion Ambassador Carlos Vives celebrated diversity and racial equality in Colombia with eight Afro-Colombian and indigenous musical groups.
  • Sports: During an exchange to the United States, 12 Colombian participants in ECA’s Professional Fellows Sports Leadership Program learned about using sports as a tool to empower youth. In a follow-on trip, six Americans conducted workshops with their Colombian counterparts.
  • Workforce Inclusion: The BECA Scholarship program for Colombian National Police Academies trained more than 1,800 Afro-Colombian and indigenous police officers. In 2015, 520 new scholarships will be awarded.
  • Minority Business Development: In November 2014, 40 entrepreneurs participated in a Seminar for Afro-Colombian Micro-Entrepreneur Women.
  • Sustainable Development: In October 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Colombian counterparts held discussions to identify potential areas for collaboration. EPA also met with Afro-Colombian community leaders to understand their priorities and needs.

For more information, please visit our website at: 2009-2017.state.gov/p/wha/rt/social/index.htm.