Strengthening good governance

Project description

Title: Strengthening Good Governance (Fortalecimiento del Buen Gobierno)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ecuador
Lead executing agency: Secretaría Nacional de Planificación y Desarrollo (SENPLADES) (National Secretariat for Planning and Development)
Overall term: 2013 to 2016

Context

Based on the new constitution dating from 2008, the Ecuadorian Government is pursuing an ambitious development plan (Plan Nacional para el Buen Vivir) aimed at guaranteeing an effective and efficient provision of basic services, reducing poverty, strengthening democratic participation, modernising the economy and initiating knowledge-oriented and technology-based development. In 2010, the government created an institutional framework for strengthening local authorities with the adoption of the Code of Territorial Organization, Autonomy and Decentralization (COOTAD). The transfer of skills and funds to the newly created decentralised governments (Gobiernos Autónomos Descentralizados, GAD) is intended to boost their operational capacity.

However, the strategies and capacities of subnational local authorities in particular are still too weak for nationwide implementation of the intended reforms. Nor are they tailored to the GADs’ priorities, in part because these are not sufficiently integrated into planning processes. In addition, although mechanisms for citizen participation and state accountability exist formally, they are not functioning properly as yet. This is demonstrated by the fact that throughout large parts of the country the Ecuadorian population has inadequate access to public services such as water, health, education and social security. This affects women and the indigenous population in particular.

Objective

Administrations at subnational level implement the policy of decentralisation and deconcentration in a coordinated, citizen-oriented and transparent way.

Approach

The lead executing agency on the Ecuadorian side is the National Secretariat for Planning and Development (SENPLADES). Strategic and operational planning of the project is implemented in collaboration with SENPLADES. This involves creating instruments, processes and guidelines for territorial and participative development and its integration into budget and investment planning, establishing working structures for management models and funding for GADs, and improving multi-level coordination of these processes.

Both with the National Council for Decentralisation (Consejo Nacional de Competencias, CNC) – which is made up of SENPLADES and the associations of the three municipal levels – and with the state development bank (Banco del Estado, BdE) the project works to improve the ability of local authorities to use public investment in conjunction with other state actors effectively (improvement of institutional absorption capacities). At the same time, staff receive training in the provision of public services. Cooperation with the BdE complements a project implemented by KfW Development Bank to improve local infrastructure.

The project supports an innovative model for territorial management at the 1 million hectare biosphere reserve of Macizo del Cajas. The objective here is to develop a sustainable approach to communication and articulation of interests among the stakeholders involved (4 provinces, 15 municipalities and 64 villages as well as civil society and the private sector) and to document lessons learned.