The Verification Mission was established by the UN Security Council with resolution 2366 (2017), adopted unanimously on 10 July 2017. The resolution followed a joint request for UN support from the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army (FARC-EP). On 13 September 2018, the Council unanimously extended the Mission’s mandate for an additional year, also following a joint request from the parties.
According to the resolution, the purpose of the Mission is to accompany the parties and verify their commitments regarding points 3.2 and 3.4 of the Final Peace Agreement on the reintegration of former FARC-EP members, and the implementation of measures of protection and security for former FARC-EP members and communities in territories most affected by the conflict. During the first year of its mandate, the Verification Mission has worked closely with national authorities and former combatants to promote progress in reintegration and security related issues with a constructive and proactive approach. The Mission continued to have a presence at the national, regional and local levels, with a view to ensure close contact with former combatants and communities.
The first UN Mission in Colombia had been established by Security Council resolution 2261 (2016) on 25 January 2016 with a mandate to monitor and verify the laying down of arms and, as part of a tripartite mechanism, a definitive bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities following the signing of a peace agreement between the Government and the FARC-EP. The Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP, after peace talks in Havana that started in 2012, had agreed on 19 January 2016 to jointly request the Security Council to establish this first special political mission. On 23 June 2016 in Havana, they concluded the agreement on the definitive bilateral cease fire and cessation of hostilities and the laying down of arms, which was later revised and signed on 24 November 2016. The first UN in Mission in Colombia completed the verification of the successful laying down of weapons by the FARC-EP and the transformation of the guerrilla group into a political party in September 2017.
On 29 September 2017, the Government of Colombia and the National Liberation Army (ELN) made a joint request to the Security Council to authorise the UN Verification Mission in Colombia to participate in the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism established to strengthen the bilateral and temporary cease-fire beginning on 1 October 2017. With the adoption of resolution 2381 (2017), the Security Council agreed on 5 October 2017 to expand the Verification Mission’s mandate on a temporary basis until 9 January 2018 to include the participation and coordination of the work of the monitoring and verification mechanism (MVM), comprised of representatives of the Government of Colombia, the ELN, the United Nations and the Catholic Church to verify compliance with the temporary, bilateral, national ceasefire at national, regional and local level. The Verification Mission completed its mandate regarding the ELN ceasefire in January 2018 and has since then provided technical advice to the Government and the ELN, at their request.