Policy Forum for Development Meeting of Latin America and Caribbean region

The UCLG Africa secretary general participated in the meeting of the EU Policy Forum for Development (PFD) in the Latin America and the Caribbean region held in Lima, Peru, on 25-26 June 2014.

The opening session received statements by Ms Irene Horejs, Ambassador, Head of the EU Delegation to Peru; Mr. José Miguel Castro, Gerente Municipal, Municipalidad Metropolitan de Lima, represented by Mr. Nunes; Mr. Jorge Balbis, on behalf of CSOs; Mr. Guillermo Tapia, on behalf of LAs.

Mr. Angelo Baglio, European Commission Head of Unit Civil Society and Local Authorities. He insisted on the inclusive nature of the PFD stemming from a long process of dialogue to have a joint effort and responsibility. This is why the chair is given to the two co-chairs, Mr. Balbis from the CSOs, and Mr. Tapia, representative of Mrs Moustache Belle, Mayor of Victoria, on behalf of local Authorities.

Angelo Balbis informed that 140 participants from 11 Latin America and Caribbean countries attended the meeting that was supported by the EU commission. This is the first delocalized PFD meeting out of Brussels. The structure dialogue has been going on in Latin America for four years. Different topics are been raised in these differents dialogue meetings. This is not a negotiation space but a place where to address policies; this is also a place to go beyond the limit of sectors and have cross borders; there is need to locate topics in a wider scope including the global perspective and local contexts; the evolution of the democratic process and growth has consequences on the evolution of societies at national and regional levels. It is important that this is acknowledged by the European delegations and the CSOs. The challenges ahead Latin America countries pertaining to the fight against poverty and the building of a rights based society and states.

Guillermo Tapia thanked the EU for having supported this event. He commendes the communication on local authorities adopted by the EU, which a commitment to reinforce the role of local Authorities in development and foster a territorial approach to development. This demand improving the capacities of local Authorities Organizations. The PFD is a space where to discuss global agendas and reach common understanding on the challenges and solutions. The fact that 2/3 of the population in Latin America will leave in cities given even more responsibilities to local authorities that are the closest public authorities to the people.

Through a vidéo-conference, Mr. Philippe Loop, European Commission, Private Sector Development, Trade, Regional Integration (DG DEVCO). The global context is that of the provision of the Agenda For Change framework, that highlighted the key role of the private sector in job creation, and its recognation as an agent for the transformation of the economy. The changing interaction between the private sector pushes for further public/private partnesrhip to foster sustainable growth. The Commission has been working with CSOs and LAs. More attention is now being paid to the private sector, including building win-win alliances across the Spectrum of different stakeholders. More than 200 contributions has been received in the consultation on private sector contribution to sustainable development. The communication is structured around: principles, three different types of actions, and tools to implement the actions.

On behalf on the Trade Unions, Marita Gonzales from Argentina, informed that the respondants to the consultation were mainly the big companies. There si not so many possibilities to realize the paradigm. Development should be a right, but this is not said in the communication. The paradigm that private Sector is the engine of growth is excessive because any development needs as well a strong and committed state. The communication does not reflect the views of the PFD members despite their contribution.

Manual Marino from the International Coopérative Alliance Americas is glag that for the first time the commission recognizes the cooperative as people focused entities. He appreciated the highlights on the importance of women and the reference to informal economy. He expressed regret that the youth issue is not really considered. The role of multinational and big companies is overstated in the document. Manuel Marino mentioned that the cooperatives that are focused on people should be promoted for the values they defend, and they should benefit from a more enabling environment. There are hundred of good examples of cooperatives spearheading developement at local level. Capacitating the financial capacities of cooperatives can help improve their business model.

On behalf of local governments of Latin America, Mr. Rolando, Mayor of Costa Rica, insisted on the concept of decent work, and the need to consider the decentralization policies when appreciating the contribution of the private sector. This applies particularly to the extractive industries that do not pay attention to the communities and localities where their industries are located. These companies think they are in order if they have paid royalties and taxes to the national government. They barely pay  taxes to local municipalities which estimate this situation unfair. Local people also consider unfair the fact that natural resources are being exploited locally and sometimes even being damaged by the direct interventions of these companies, without equitable compensation,  including through their societal and environmental responsibilities. The insistance on PPP should be handled with care, if one does not want a situation of inavoidable imbalance between the multinationals and the municipalities. There is need to empower local authorities and provide them with technical assistance for them  to have a better understanding of the complexity of the contractual arrangements under PPP.  The economic model for micro companies and informal sector companies need more attention because this is where the bulk of job opportunities is.

In conclusion to the exchanges Mr. Baglio informed that there will be a dedicated space organized back to back to the next PFD meeting on 1-2 October 2014 in Brussels where a deeper exchange of views on the communication on private sector will be organized.

Session 1 on the position of the EU on the Post 2015 Agenda. The EU shares the view that we can have a World free of poverty by 2030, provided we are more efficient, more equitable, and more focused. The EU Commission position and suggestion are that the Post 2015 Agenda should be holistic and global, through  pooling the Post MDGs Agenda within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda which adresses the whole world which is different from the former MDGs that targeted only the developing countries. Priority goals and targets should be defined according to the new spirit of a global partnership. The EU wishes to reduce the number of goals to 10 goals  max, and to reduce the number of targets accordingly. There are still a lot of difficulties in defining who will bear the costs of the new SDGs. The UN Open Group should be meeting soon and all stakeholders are sollicited to provide inputs, including the CSOs and LAs, which the EU Commission welcomes and supports.

In reaction to Mr. Baglio’s presentation, Mr. Miguel Santibanez, from the Latin America global and regional CSOs welcomed the communication on private sector and the principles it highlights. The attention to inequality cannot be underestimated since inequality is rising between regions and countries, but also within countries and cities. The références to human rights, decent work and peace and security are welcome.However the communication pays little attention to the issue of women and youth entrepreneurship. Mr. Miguel Sanchez argued that CSOs should be considered as a public good to make sure that citizen rights are protected and that any attempts to undermine them are denounced by CSOs. What is striking is also that there seems to be less and less reference to the 0.7% GDP commitment by developed countries for development cooperation. With regard to fiscal justice, CSOs will require support given the difficulty they face to participate in the negotiations on development finance to be held as of July 2015. The same applies to Latin America CSOs participation in the coming climate negotiations in the framework of the conference of the parties in Lima (COP 20) and in Paris (COP 21) and in the Habitat III conference that will close the Post 2015 Agenda UN cycles of conferences. Mr. Miguel Sanchez finally raised some doubts about the success of such a scattered and puzzled agenda.

Ms Molagro Navas, Chair of FLACMA, the LAs wants to call attention on the importance to have a local agenda linked to the global agenda to turn intentions into action and implementation, and to promote people centered policies. There is need for a collaborative governance in order to guarantee delivery to the people. The MDGs have showed difficulties to translate goals and targets into tangible results wherever LAs are not part and parcel of their implementation. Hence the realization by the UN of the urgency to localize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Another reason why local challenges must be recognized is that 80% of the Latin America’s population live in cities, and 30% of Latin America’s city dwellers live in areas without basic services. Therefore the work of local governments should focus on fighting poverty, reducing fragmentation of society, building inclusive cities. There is need to integrate a territorial perspective in all development strategies, to better consider rural/urban relations and participatory approaches to development that are highly local by nature.

The UN advisor to the UNDP Team for the Post 2015 Agenda emphasized the need for a global agenda more than ever, because we are living in a one common Planet where people are more and more interconnected. Building a common vision and a common agenda is changing the way we do business, in a sense that our approach tends to be more qualitative in addressing the needs of everyone. The new global agenda build on lessons learnt on governability; on the universal characteristic of the agenda, but also on the recognition of wa differentiation in country contexts, the challenges remaining on the balance to keep between universality and specificity; on inequity, in particular territorial inequity; on the merging of the poverty agenda and the sustainable development agenda; on the consideration of culture as a 4th pillar of the sustainable development; on new accountability and transparency, on the partnership with the private sector, on national and local connections and collaboration, on the localization of the international agenda.

On the localization of the international SDGs agenda, Ms Lurdes Gomez, Policy Officer, UNDP Office in New York, indicated the will of the UN to see more impact on the ground and improved horizontal coordination. Some countries have been selected as a pilot for national consultations on the localization of SDGs.

Edgardo Bilsky from the UCLG World secretariat presented what is different from what happened with the MDGs, by insisting on the How and with Whom. The consultation includes the LAs, the CSOs, and all stakeholders, as reflected in the Global Task Force of LAs. The issue is how to promote better collaboration between CSOs, private Sector and the LAs at local level. This is the debate of the day.

Dominican Republic LAs think that the key issue is at the beginning of the planning process to avoid working in silos. There is need to create a large pact from central government to LAs and CSOs, including private sector and all layers of society. We need to close the coordination gap and encourage accountability and transparency. We need to formulate a municipal development plan with the participation of the different stakeholders to build inclusive cities. We need to empower all stakeholders.

The Mexico women network commented that this localization needs a change of development paradigm. There is still a lack of agreement between experts of macroeconomics and the CSOs which are attached to a rights based approach. The right to development comes together with social justice. Economic growth is not a guarantee to shift from a mainly economic growth perspective characteristic of the former period to the nowadays promoted sustainable development goals. The classification of countries in developing and emerging economies does not pay justice to the growing social gaps within and between countries. We recommend to foster the capacity of territories and their communities. We also call for a more involvement of CSOs in the promotion and protection of local natural resources, that are sometimes undermined by the interventions of multinationals.

The representative of the municipality of Bogota appreciated the relevance of the PFD and the dialogue it offers. We need to reach agreement on the sense of develoment, and the right to development. In Latin Ammerica we recognize that urban areas forms the majority of habitat, and the LAs are those who represent the majority. Including LAs in the SDGs localization exercise is only legitimate. The voice of cities should be heard in forums like this one.

Ana Cristina Gonzales from the Latin America Network of women articulation (Macrosul) insisted on the fact that there are more and more tensions among countries and between countries. There is a need to strengthen mechanisms fostering participation of CSOs. The goal established at global level are general. They need to be implemented locally. CSOs can contribute in the promotion of rights based City management and in the reduction of inequality gaps; the universal access to health should be fully highlighted; décent job should be also re-thought; there is as well a need for strong democratic mechanisms and justice. We need a long term perspective to this agenda.

A Mayor of Chile said that it is important to work together and think alongside the economic effort. We need to comply with People’s rights and workers rights. City should denounced exploitation of children at the work place. This should be considered as an ethical engagement and local Governments should be watchdogs in that regard.

With regard to financing the local development agenda there is a need to improve drastically the planning and local investment programming and management capacity at local level.

Montevideo from Mercociudades said he was happy to be part of the meeting and hope it will harnest the unity of LAs in Latin America.The rights approach is appropriate, but we need to be more clear about decent salary. We are concerned when growth is mixed with development. Development should refer to a binding framework to make sure the commitments are met. He insisted on the South/South and triangular cooperation to promote the implementation of the SDGs at local level.

Edgardo Bilsky went on saying that the local pact alluded to previously calls for a global alliance to support this pact, which in turn will highly facilitate the implementation of the global agenda. The choice to set localized indicators is an indication that the International community is moving in the right direction.

The EU programming (2014-2020) was then presented by Angelo Baglio, after which Mrs. Nuria Rodriguez Aller, European Union, Financial Instruments (DG, DEVCO) presented the EU blending mechanisms. She insisted on the need to use public money to leverage on other financial resources including private sector resources through blending.

In the debate that followed these presentations, many Latin America participants raised concerns about the usefulness of such blending mechanisms in the Latin America context. The EU delegation for Peru confirmed to the contrary that Life project in Latin America has proven to be successful in linking EU co-funded projects and initiatives financed by the private investors. The rrensentative of the EU delegation for Nicaragua argued that EU plays most of the time a role of a watchdog to keep the concerns of the rights of the people in the agenda of the projects. In many projects, through blending mechanism,  the EU delegation safeguarded the attention on the concerns of grassroots people and on human rights. The interest of EU is to push the multinationals investing in the countries not to loose right of People’s rights and to consider subcontracting with national and local SMEs.

 

Session 2 of the meeting addressed the regional focus on Latin America and started with the presentation of the regional programs by Jose Gonzalvez y Gonzalvez, European Commission, Regional Programs Latin America and Carribean. He emphasized on the Euroclima, a climate change program of 17 million euros with EU contribution of 16 millions. Each country put in place a focal point that is in charge of the follow up of the program planning and implementation. The program gathers a set of implementing institutions. National workshops have being organized to address the different topics studied upon demands of the different countries. Climate change is treated here as a developing topic according to both the mitigation or the adaptation perspectives. This program is open to CSOs and LAs as well. Comments on the presentation were made by Ernesto Raez Luna, Responsable, Equipe de Trabajo del Frente Publico  COP 20, from Juan de los Santos, Mayor of Santo Domingo Est, Dominican Republic, and Rocio Valdeavallano, Moviemento ciudadano para el Cambio Climatico.

 

The presentation of the CSO and LA thematic Program was done by Elena Asciutti, European Commission, Civil Society and Local Authorities. She also presented the two communications on Local authorities in development and on Civil Society Organizations in development. The two communications insist on the need to put in place an enabling environment, and the requirement to include LA and CSO in the definition of the development and cooperation agenda in partner countries. The two communication were endorsed by the EU Commission and the EU Parliament.

Beatriz Sanz, EC Technical Assistant presented the CSO roadmap. The roadmap defines the stakeholders, the objectives, the exchanges of knowledge in order to improve impact, previsibility and visibility of the EU actions. The roadmap starts from context analysis shared with all stakeholders through a consultation process, define the vision and concrete actions to be implemented and expected results, and the way to assess those. The CSO roadmap should be approved at national level (July 2014 latest, to update every year). The first generation of the roadmap will cover the period of 2014-2017, and the second period is from 2018-2020.

In the case of Peru, Malin Liunggren Bacherer, Thematic programs, EU Delegation, Peru, informed that a CSO working group was created in 2013 with EU member states representatives from Germany, Belgium, Spain, Finland, UK. In a workshop with CSO feed-back was collected that allowed to have a picture of what the CSOs landscape of the country are. An assessment of this picture was done with the support of an independant consultant, who did also implemented surveys and interviews, and helped define a work plan in a participatory workshop. A template is now being defined for the approval of the EU Ambassador and the EU Comlission in Brussels. After that the template will be disseminated among the CSO in Peru. The challenges are to keep the templates as multisectorial as possible, and to adopt the partnership spirit instead of donor/recipient logic. The other issue is the timeframe. This process is very time consuming whilst many CSO are eager to see things happening on the ground.

Josefina Huaman from the Association National de Centros (ANC), testified that the process derives from the dynamic of Peruvian CSO environment. There is need to address policy and strategy beyond the sector. The EU now recognizes that CSO are integral part of the development of the country in their own rights as a knowledged in Busan. CSO contribute to strengthen democracy. Many of the innovative policies were built from CSO experience. CSO plays also a vigilence role to rethink about the development model. The climate change debate offers an opportunity for such requestionning of development model. Therefore the roadmap should go beyond having better procedures in the same classical development route. CSO should have a more optimistic vision of the institutional environment, since their action influences this environment. There is need for CSO to recognize the value of dialogue space for the building of an enabling environment for CSO action. We need to work with an optimistic line to help things and the situation evolve positively. The roadmap is also a transparency exercise that give theoccasion to discuss in a triangular configuration between the national government, CSOs/LAs and the development partners. Informed stakeholders are at the beginning of an accountability culture. Citizen participation is a critical matter but itf and only if citizen and their representative CSO are fully informed about what is going on. One complain: the private sector barely participate in such dialogues, what to do to pool them in?

Elena Asciutti made a short presentation of the multi-indicative Program (MIP) 2014-2020.

The debate that followed the presentations insisted on:

– the need to better define what the EU put behind enabling environment. Is it in line with the CSO definition presented in the framework of Accra or Busan?

– what is the content of context analysis and what can be rated as favorable environment beyond regulation and norms to cover the rights to initiative?

– in latin america CSOs have hostile environment, since in In Bolivia President Correa names CSO as profit organization without purposes. Good will is not enough. Many efforts are being done to dismantle CSOs. In countries affected of economic crisis like Venezuela, there is need to be more agressive in defending CSO. What can EU do in this area?

– the confederation of trade unions of the Americas raises the issue of the legitimacy of CSOs. Why not use the umbrella network of CSOs?

– How can we improve alignement and coordination of the bilateral programs to improve coherence, and why not invite CSO and LA in the bilateral negotiations?

Angelo Baglio responded to all questions but advised to consider the EU approach as a process that will be enriched by the experience gathered from the field work, including by CSOs and LAs.

 

The Group Discussion Session (Word Café) touched on policy dialogue for better governance, how to hold Governments to account and how to contribute to inclusive and sustainable development. There was a common concern that the private sector is not keen to participate in the dialogues despite the fact that it is more and more influencial on the development and cooperation policies. The private sector does not involve the CSOs either, including in programs and projects defined and implemented under business social responsibility.

The LAs from Latin America took the following stand pertaining to the access mechanisms to EU resources for the period 2014-2020: Local authorities appreciated the initiative of the first regional PFD in Latin America. They affirmed the need to recognize the public and democratic nature of local authorities that should make them eligible to a strategic partnership with EU Commission and Delegations. Considering that the territorial approach to development is highlighted in the EU communication on local authorities,  the latters’ coordinating capacity in the territory under their responsibility should bel recognized and respected. They recommended that the PFD should keep its political dimension to be of interest for local authorities.

In his conclusive remarks the Mayor of Bogota proposed a new urban paradigm for the 21st century, which means new production and consumption patterns, that are concerned with climate change and greenhouse gaz emission, and have respect for life and nature. We need a human city respectful of social diversity and that can generate options of changes. Cities need to build networks at national, regional and international levels. What for? To build an agenda for the voice of the cities to be listened at all arenas where the challenges of the world future are debated, included the UN. Cities of Latin America should be prepared to play their part in this global parliament of cities bringing their concerns and contributions into the agenda, building new voices beyond the simple representation.