From local development planning to global poverty reducing exports

In 2002 government of Caazapá department and municipalities started a learning and capacity building process for regional development, which converted them in acceptable partners of businessmen. Successful implementation of PPP agriculture value chains were replicated over the years now supported by central government with important results for rural poverty reduction.

Since the early 1950s until 1989 Paraguay had been living below a dictatorship which ruled the country in a centralized way. Regarding an administrative structure only central government and municipalities existed. District authorities were not elected during dictatorship. The first municipal elections were realized in 1991; department authorities were created only throughout constitutional reform from 1992 and elected for the first time in 1993. The political position and available resources of department governments are weak. No clear tasks were defined for them apart from acting “as a link” between municipal and central governments. At the same time ideas regarding regional and local development planning started to be discussed as well in Paraguay and economic and social situation, mainly in rural Paraguay would have required a quick a nationwide implementation of regional development planning activities, more urgently after the economic crisis of the years 2000 till 2002. In spite of the demand for such policies central government had not been able to deliver the requested regional and local policies.

Supported by international technical cooperation (where German GTZ provided the knowledge transfer) Caazapá department (one of the poorest areas of Paraguay) and municipal authorities started an autodidactic and participatory process of self learning and capacity building regarding regional development planning. New skills, capacities and knowledge acquired throughout this process converted Caazapá authorities for the first time in an acceptable speaker and negotiator regarding regional economic and social problems and regarding the possibility to build private public partnerships (PPP) to fight these problems. The government of Caazapá was the first (out of 17) departmental governments which had been able to set up a successful regional planning process and PPP driven productive activities which proved to be able to reduce poverty.

Throughout the following years the number of PPP within Caazapá and throughout the country grew, since replication throughout knowledge distribution and capacity building had been an objective of the whole process right from the start. Central government learned over the years how to support and promote new planning initiatives and PPPs so that the new model started to integrate local, regional and national policies.

Year of publication: 
UNDP Capacity is Development knowledge fair

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