Fortalecimiento Institucional Ciudadano para al Desarrollo Territorial (FOINCIDE) sets out a 4.5 year intervention that aims to improve the prospects for peace and sustainable development in Colombia through greater inclusion, accountability and equity at the local level.
The project Fortalecimiento Institucional y Ciudadano para el Desarrollo Territorial (FOINCIDE) is implemented by SKL International in co-operation with Colombia’s national planning authority Departamento Nacional de Planeación (DNP) and a number of selected pilot municipalities. The fact that local governments have a critical role to play in peace-building due to their proximity, legitimacy and constant presence on the ground is what forms the rationale for the intervention. The capacity of local governments to fulfil this role has a significant influence on their ability to meet the expectations for territorial peace outlined in the peace agreement. The strengthening of local institutions is well in line with the Swedish development cooperation strategy. FOINCIDE supports reform processes in public administration, with a focus on the capacity of local government to plan and provide fundamental public services.
The project is organized around two key components which are in line with the priority areas defined by DNP and Swedish development cooperation as well as SALAR’s own areas of expertise which are participation, in particular developing replicable models of genuine participation and inclusion within specific sectors/processes at the local level and support to national policies for territorial financing and management.
In regards to Participation the project strategy is to develop new mind-sets and ways of working within municipalities where excluded and disempowered groups are brought into social dialogue and existing mechanisms for participation are more efficient and inclusive. This Component has a clear purpose and it works with a process oriented approach to citizens participation, focusing on methods and capacity building, training of trainers and implementation (learning by doing) where the local government administration gets strengthened and can coordinate and lead new processes of participation. The project is working with a pedagogical approach where the first step is to build capacity within the local administration with training, workshops and study visits. Thereafter the local governments identifies an area in which they are willing to commit and work in a participatory manner.
What FOINCIDE has succeeded with is to make a small contribution to change the patterns of mistrust according to the mid-term review it underwent in the end of 2018. Implementing the participatory project has created a commitment to the process of implementing and trying out new ways for participation. It does so with methods enabling citizens participation, and also generating processes that may lead to increased trust.
National policies for territorial financing management is the second component and a tool to consolidate and disseminate data on Colombian subnational governments has been developed and exists both as webpage and app: TerriData.
TerriData was developed by a team from the Ministry of Planning with technical and financial support from SKL International and was partly inspired by KOLADA (www.kolada.se), an on-line tool that makes it possible to review and compare key data from Sweden’s municipalities.
After TerriDatas progress, Colombia’s National Department of Statistics and the Committee of Territorial Public Statistics have decided to make TerriData (terridata.dnp.gov.co) the country’s official platform for regional statistics and data. TerriData houses data on demographics, education, health, public services and finances and security for the 32 “departamentos” (roughly equivalent to provinces) and the more than 1,100 municipalities.
The endorsement by the National Department of Statistics also means that all the data published in TerriData will comply with the rigorous standards set the Department for all official statistical operations. This guarantees a high level of quality for TerriData’s contents.
TerriData will be a central hub for Colombia’s regional data and will draw users from the national and subnational governments and academia, providing relevant and useful information for public officials, researchers and ordinary citizens.
Furthermore, the Colombian government is now keenly interested in strengthening inter-municipal cooperation and coordination, taking into account the current legal framework regarding formal association of municipalities (“Esquemas asociativos”). Association of and cooperation between municipalities is an area in which SALAR can make very significant contributions and that can have effects on the Colombian post-treaty work. The associations are important for the peace building work which exists in the level between the departments and the municipalities. They strengthen the municipalities, offer more sustainability since their work continue even if the mayor is changed and they can be a crucial actor for lobbing the decentralisation agenda at national level. Activities related to inter-municipal cooperation and associations will be included in the two components of the project. This implies that activities will be conducted both directly with existing associations of municipalities and the national government.
See this video to know more about how the municipality of Florida went about to use citizen dialogue tools to improve the market place together with the sellers, customers and local food producers. As a result, they also improved trust and learned by their own experience that effective decisions can be made with citizens.