ART GOLD Latin America Programme

ART GOLD AL (an acronym for "support to territorial and thematic networks of human development cooperation for governance and local development in Latin America) is a multi donor initiative which involves autonomous country interventions that are interlinked through international thematic activities carried out in support of all countries. This facilitates exchanges of experience, as requested by the government, in the Latin American region, especially in the fields of governance, innovation, management training and rationalisation of aid in conformity with the Paris Declaration and the UN reform process.  

The programme is a response to a situation in Latin American in which there is an increasing demand from governments, and also from many public and private social actors, for modern forms of cooperation that are less fragmentary, more efficient and more coherent with the profound changes that have taken place in the last 20 years. Cooperation has progressed markedly from the old approaches, characterised by a lack of accountability and offering charity and assistance, towards the new approaches of co-development in which a leading role is played by and responsibility given to the country’s authorities and social actors in the common interests of the South and North of the world for equitable, sustainable, peaceful and human development. This prospect stems from a new world development platform fine-tuned by the various United Nations summits over the last 15 years and the Millennium Assembly, which set profoundly new objectives, no longer purely based on economic growth but on a structural link between growth and the well-being of all citizens in the country (human development). Forms of cooperation have been subject to profound reform, especially after the Paris Declaration and the European Consensus on aid effectiveness, which highlighted the serious problem of cooperation being fragmented into a myriad uncoordinated, separate and autonomous sectoral projects, which have little impact on the great problems that affect citizens (poverty, exclusion, violence, environmental degradation, wars etc.), and end up wasting resources.  In short, the traditional centralist, sectoral assistance approaches dictated from above are being questioned and new forms of cooperation are being sought which involve decentralisation, the active involvement of all social actors, the intersectoral coordination of interventions and the accountability of local actors, including the poor themselves and those in greatest difficulty.  Finally, solutions and procedures are being explored to finance complex and long-term strategic processes rather than short term, separate, rigid projects. 

In the last few years, there have been many changes in Latin America involving greater democratic participation of the citizens in development processes. In all countries, processes are taking place to fine-tune forms of governance designed to valorise and give responsibility to local communities and social actors, and there is an increasing demand for decentralised cooperation, especially from the regions, provinces and municipalities of Europe, also as a result of the leading role they played in the local development supported by the EU Commission.  In the first International Conference on Territorial Development, held in Marseille in March 2007, many Latin American delegations contributed actively in fine-tuning the final declaration, which puts forward the approach of territorial, decentralised, intersectoral, participated, sustainable, equitable, peaceful and internationalised development as the best methodological instrument to overcome the present limits of the forms of development and cooperation, and recognises the UNDP's interagency ART initiative as the most suitable instrument to achieve this aim and foster coordinated forms of decentralised cooperation.
ART GOLD AL, therefore, is set within the context of the broader international cooperation initiative called ART, which associates the programmes and activities of different United Nations organisations: UNDP, UNESCO, UNIFEM, WHO, UNOPS and others. ART promotes a new type of multilateralism, in which the United Nations system works with governments, fostering the active participation of local communities and social actors of the South and North. The characteristics of the ART Initiative, as they apply to the regional programme ART GOLD AL, are described below.



ART GOLD AL will operate in all Latin American countries whose governments apply for support, depending on the support obtained from donors. The proposal is to use the contribution requested of the Italian government to intervene in the following countries, which have already applied for support: Bolivia, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Below are some facts to illustrate the situation of these countries.

Source: UNDP Human Development Report 2006

Total population (millions): 44.9
Human development index classification: 70
Life expectancy (years): 72.6
Gross domestic product per capita (USD) : 7.256
Adult literacy rate (%): 88.4
Population having access to health facilities (%): 86
Population that has access to water (%): 93

Colombia is divided into 32 departments and a capital district. The present system was first introduced on 5 July 1991, when a new constitution came into force.  The new Constitutional Charter abolished the previous subdivisions (departments, commissariats, intendancies and special districts) to give political uniformity to the country's geography and administration.

An agreement on the ART GOLD framework programme in Colombia was signed in May 2007 between the UNDP and the High Presidential Counsellor and the Minister of Social Action, Luis Alfonso Hoyos Aristizábal. The ART GOLD Colombia agreement is closely associated to the ongoing REDES programme, supported by donors from Nordic countries.

ART GOLD Colombia is based on the important results achieved in Colombia by the UNDP's APPI programme (Anti Poverty Partnerships Initiatives), implemented with the financial and technical support of Italian cooperation. Launched in August 2003, in collaboration with the UNDP Country Office and the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, the APPI programme focused on setting up local development agencies in the various departments of the country. In particular six LEDAs were activated and now operate in the following territories: Oriente di Antiochia, Velez, Bucaramanga, Boyaca, Nariño, Uraba. Another two LEDAs are being set up in the departments of Cartagena and Cesar.

The ACOPI, association of small enterprises, the Colombian International Cooperation Agency of the National Planning Department and Colciencias, the operational arm of the Ministry of Science and Technology also took part in activating and supporting the LEDAs.  During 2005, at the end of the APPI programme, the UNDP Country Office contributed its own funds to keep the programme going with a technical team to look after ongoing initiatives.    

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