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Public Administration, Institutional Capacity and Internal Conflict in Colombia: An Intertwined Relationship

Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)

Abstract

In this chapter, the authors explore the process of configuration of Colombia’s public administration and its intertwined relationship with violence and conflict along its development as a republic. The article focuses on critical junctures along the progression of its public administration and relates them to key moments of political violence and intense armed conflict in Colombia. Likewise, it identifies the challenges of building institutional capacity in a wide territory with heterogeneous State presence which catalyzed the emergence of violence and the presence of manifold illegal armed groups. Then, the authors delve into recent crucial challenges of the last peace process as an opportunity to compensate for the historical weakness of the state across the territory. A central aim of the chapter is to illustrate how Colombia ended up within a vicious circle whereby the conflict has inflicted the precarious presence of the State and the ability of Colombia’s public administration to fulfill citizens’ needs and expectations. But also how the ineffective role of the State, and the heterogeneous distribution of its institutional capacity, have in turn facilitated the escalation of the conflict, the influence of illegal actors, and, subsequently, reduced the chances of building a more capable public administration across the territory. In spite of the pacification efforts, Colombia still appears to be enveloped in the eye of the hurricane without knowing whether it will come out of the conflict, if it is in a transitional phase, or if the conditions of the unresolved conflict will return and with them the increase of the violence. All in all, there is one element that attracts attention from the Colombian account: in spite of the ongoing internal conflict, the country has been able to show an economy and a public administration that have managed to achieve a relative level of stability, good performance, and technical sophistication through several decades.

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  • DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-74966-8_16
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Correspondence to Pablo Sanabria-Pulido .

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Sanabria-Pulido, P., Velasquez-Ospina, M. (2021). Public Administration, Institutional Capacity and Internal Conflict in Colombia: An Intertwined Relationship. In: Nemec, J., Reddy, P.S. (eds) Public Administration in Conflict Affected Countries. Governance and Public Management. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74966-8_16

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