In 2014, two priority areas of cooperation were agreed between the Governments of Germany and Ecuador:
- protection of the environment and natural resources;
- public administration and economic reform.
Ecuador and Germany are also cooperating on the Strengthening Good Governance programme (BUEN GOBIERNO). The programmes involve intensive cooperation with the lead executing agencies, i.e. the Ministry of Environment and the National Secretariat for Planning and Development, respectively.Ecuador is one of the world’s richest countries in biological diversity, and has 44 protected areas covering approximately 19 per cent of its territory. A great deal of progress on nature conservation has been achieved over the years. For example, in cooperation with various partners and with technical advice from GIZ, Ecuador’s first Municipal Ecological Conservation Area, known as Siete Iglesias and covering an area of 16,050 hectares, was established in the south of the country.
At the same time, around 200,000 hectares of forest are being destroyed in Ecuador every year. This is partly due to the country’s heavy reliance on natural resources and the economic situation of its poor. Moreover, civil society and the provincial and municipal governments are, in many cases, not involved to an adequate extent in decision-making processes on the conservation of natural resources. There is still a shortage of production and marketing systems that are economically viable and adapted to the needs of the local environment, and which not only support the conservation of biodiversity but also help to improve people’s living conditions.
In 2008, Ecuador adopted a new constitution which introduced broader civil rights and established the basis for a democratic and decentralised system of government. Within this framework, the Government of Ecuador is addressing the main problems facing the country: it is strengthening governance capacities and pursuing pro-active social and economic policies, with the aim of reducing poverty and stimulating growth. With support from GIZ, various contributions have been made to the constitutional debate at a conceptual level, focusing on the country’s administrative structure, fiscal management and decentralisation. In order to build a participatory democracy in accordance with the new constitution, efforts will be made to strengthen democratic negotiating processes which, as far as possible, offer opportunities for participation and decision-making by all social groups. A further aim of Ecuadorian-German cooperation is to build the administrative capacities of cities and municipalities and to strengthen and institutionalise good governance principles.
Many other programmes and projects are under way in Ecuador. They include the Strengthening of Indigenous Organisations in Latin America (PROINDIGENA) project, which fosters dialogue between indigenous and governmental organisations, and Combating Violence Against Women in Latin America (ComVoMujer), which aims to end gender-specific violence in the region. On behalf of the European Commission, GIZ is implementing the Protecting Human Rights in Migration Situations (PRODEM) project, which strengthens human rights in the context of migration and asylum in the border area between Ecuador and Colombia.