Structural and regulatory policy fund

Project description

Title: Structural and regulatory policy fund
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Guatemala
Lead executing agency: Secretaría de Planificación y Programación de la Presidencia (SEGEPLAN)
Overall term: 2013 to 2016

Guatemala. Periods of drought mean that the yield from maize harvests is low, thereby reducing the population’s basic food supply to dangerously low levels. Strategies are designed to help the village communities respond to these changes. © GIZ

Context

Almost 20 years after the peace accords were signed in 1996 Guatemala is still under massive pressure to implement reforms. The aim of political, economic, legal and social restructuring measures is to strengthen the rule of law, revamp the justice system, help solve land issues, promote respect for human rights and consolidate democracy. Reform attempts made to date have often failed because the proposals were either not prepared on a solid basis or were insufficiently publicised and subjected to public debate.

Objective

Reform proposals on issues such as democratic security and justice, economic development, social inclusion and sustainable rural development are discussed and implemented in a transparent and participatory manner.

Approach

Structural and regulatory policy changes need political backing, time and initiative. The Fund thus only supports initiatives by public, civil society and private stakeholders that meet the following criteria:

  • Relevance. The initiative falls within the fields of action prioritised by the government, is backed by other sectors and is consistent with the priority areas of German development cooperation.
  • Capacity for implementation. The institution proposing an initiative has the required technical and administrative skills and resources. It is in a position to continue the reform after the project ends.
  • Feasibility. With GIZ assistance, preliminary results can be achieved during the period of support from the Fund. They can be initiated with a small budget.
  • Transparency and participation. The institution proposing an initiative encourages transparent public discussion to improve the proposal and coordinate with the sectors affected.
Guatemala. During a visit to the Matanza hydroelectric power plant in Baja Verapaz, the operating company and the local association of small-scale producers agree on a timeframe for emptying the reservoir.  © GIZ

The Fund’s steering committee comprises representatives of the Guatemalan Secretariat of Planning and Programming of the Presidency (SEGEPLAN), the German embassy in Guatemala and GIZ. It has supported 12 measures to date.

These include the drawing up of reform proposals for the school meal programme. The Minister for Education is currently examining these proposals with a view to implementation.

The National Policy for Rural Integrated Development of 2009 is designed to ensure better coordination and consultation among public institutions in rural areas. The Fund is supporting the development of locally adapted territorial implementation plans and strengthening local coordination bodies.

The Fund is supporting the publicising and implementation of the agricultural policy of 2014. It is also funding studies that serve as the basis for facilitating access to land for women, creating the legal framework for agricultural legislation and promoting agricultural productivity.

All state institutions are to comply with documentation and archiving regulations, making public administration more transparent. The Fund is providing assistance for the drafting of a national archive law.

Together with the Civitas journalists’ association, the Fund is supporting the development of a guide on investigating crimes against the freedom of expression. The Fund promotes the training of public prosecutors and their continuing professional development as multipliers. New investigation techniques are to reduce impunity, for instance in the case of crimes against journalists, and protect the freedom of the press and of expression.

The tax authority has set out to modernise its auditing methods for companies. The Fund has equipped the authority with software for quick, automated data analysis. A pilot group of auditors is learning how to use this software and is being trained to act as multipliers.

The Fund is assisting the National Institute of Forensic Science with regard to digital archiving and managing documents and evidence using computer programs. As a result, the institute is able to provide a prompt, objective and scientifically sound response to inquiries from public prosecutors and courts, thereby accelerating court proceedings.

Results

  • Protection of indigenous women. Institution-building measures were carried out for the Office for the Protection of Indigenous Women. A national midwifery policy recognising and supporting the work of traditional midwives was also formulated with the involvement of more than 800 traditional midwives.
  • Participatory water management in the Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve. Water collecting systems providing more than 450 children with running water were set up in four pilot public schools. The ministries involved, company representatives and local population are currently in the process of discussing and agreeing on a local set of rules and regulations. The aim is to standardise water use by hydropower plants and promote corporate, social and environmental responsibility.
  • Better compliance with labour law by strengthening the work inspection authority. Uniform nationwide inspections can now be performed using revised procedures and inspection criteria. Online training for inspectors has been developed and a proposal for a transparency office within the ministry has been elaborated. Workers can go online to calculate their entitlement to holiday, Christmas and redundancy pay.
  • Framework law on adapting to the impacts of climate change and reducing greenhouse gases. The Fund has assisted the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in formulating the implementation plan. The perspectives of different public and non-governmental stakeholders were also taken into consideration in five local working groups. The basic structure of an information system designed to facilitate measures to prevent environmental risks such as drought and flooding has been developed.
  • University-based primary school teacher training. The University of San Carlos (USAC) is now training primary school teachers. The university degree for primary school teachers was the result of a lengthy reform process. The Fund supported the development of curricula for five courses of study in addition to in-service training for lecturers in an 18-month blended learning course. USAC is to recognise this successful course as a postgraduate programme and apply the method in other departments.