Visita ICMA Latinoamérica en Español.
In 2004, after implementing successful programs in Mexico for more than five years, ICMA established an office in Guadalajara to provide a presence in the Latin America/Caribbean Region. Since the 1990s, ICMA and its members had been strengthening Mexican institutions by improving service delivery, supporting municipal associations, bolstering national decentralization efforts, and facilitating citizen participation.
Operating as a not-for-profit entity under Mexican law, ICMA Latinoamérica (ICMA-LA) serves as a base to promote professional management in subnational governments in the region, carrying out ICMA’s mission and core beliefs.
The organization provides
- Resources, information, and training on good governance through its Spanish-language Web site and other services
- Assessment instruments and other programs that strengthen subnational institutional capacity
- Opportunities for interaction among Mexican administrators, officials, and local government organizations and interaction between these parties and their counterparts in the United States.
By involving ICMA members in its activities, ICMA-LA also facilitates the sharing of knowledge and experience among colleagues.
ICMA-LA provides products and services for large municipalities and state and regional governments and also undertakes special projects such as study tours, conference presentations, training in performance measurement and budgeting/finance, assistance in work plan development and process analysis and restructuring, and short-term assignments on request. ICMA-LA also offers informational sessions describing the role of a professional municipal administrator. Although all Mexican municipalities have a “strong mayor” form of government, ICMA-LA reports that leaders in the business community have shown interest in the professional administrator concept.
In addition to Mexico-based programs, ICMA implements other programs in the Latin America/Caribbean region.
Regional Credit Rating Improvement Program
In 2009 ICMA Latinoamérica began implementing the Regional Credit Rating Improvement Program, funded by a grant from the World Bank through the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility. The program helps selected cities, states, and other subnational authorities in the Latin America/Caribbean Region improve their ability to borrow at reasonable rates. The program employs the ICMA CityLinks model, pairing local government professionals in the United States with their counterparts in the Latin American countries.
Experiences in Municipal Landfill Methane Recovery
With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Methane to Markets Partnership Program, ICMA-LA is working through the Border Environmental Cooperation Commission to develop an inventory of large landfills in Mexico, a guide for municipalities interested in generating energy from methane gas produced in their landfills, and a structure to promote the use of methane from landfills as a source of energy.
Ongoing Programs and Services
ICMA-LA offers a number of products and services for local, regional, and state governments. Continuity of these offerings is affected by the fact that Mexican mayors cannot serve consecutive terms, resulting in high turnover of local officials with each change of mayor.
Performance Indicator System
ICMA-LA offers municipalities a Performance Indicator System (Sistema de Indicadores de Sesempeño, SINDES ), modeled on ICMA’s Center for Performance Measurement. SINDES was the first formal governmental performance measurement program in Mexico. It originated in 2001 as part of ICMA’s work under a USAID-funded cooperative agreement in Mexico and received a boost when the National Congress amended the Mexican Constitution to require that all public entities had to have a performance measurement system by July 2009 and that for most of them, their results must be public. The program was implemented in partnership with the Mexican Association of Municipalities (Asociacion de Municipios de Mexico, AMMAC), an ICMA affiliate organization. AMMAC continues to promote the program among its members.
Institutional Capacity Recognition Program
Designed for the Latin American market, but adaptable to other countries, the Institutional Capacity Recognition Program (Programa de Reconocimiento al Fortalecimiento Institucional Municipal, REFIM) helps participating jurisdictions build their capacity by institutionalizing a set of defined policies and practices and establishing performance indicators in four key areas of management—finance, planning, human resources, and legal framework. As they progress through the program, they must demonstrate that policies, practices, and indicators are in place and that they are institutionalized and transparent. Participating jurisdictions can progress through five levels, with recognition at each level.
Assessment of Institutional Capacity
The Assessment of Institutional Capacity (Inventario de la Capacidad Institutional, ICAPI) program is tailored to the needs and limitations of medium-sized jurisdictions that lack adequate resources to participate fully in the REFIM program. It provides an assessment to enable a municipality or state to identify what areas are meeting the standards defined in the REFIM program and what areas are in need of improvement. It has been used by jurisdictions in Mexico, Honduras, and Venezuela.
Institutional Strengthening Support Program
The Institutional Strengthening Support Program (Programa de Apoyo al Fortalecimiento Institutional, PAFI) is another program designed to help mid-sized and small municipalities develop institutional capacity. It uses the ICAPI as a framework to develop a step-by-step work plan to strengthen the institutional capacity of a group of municipalities—normally a cluster of three to seven entities. The program has been implemented in the states of Puebla and Sinaloa.
Certification of the Performance Measurement and AssesSment System
Another product developed to assist in the implementation of performance measurement systems is the Certification of the Performance Measurement and Assesment System (Certificado SIMED). The fee-based program enables municipalities and other subnational entities to institutionalize performance measurement and performance management systems.
Citizens for Transparent Municipalities
ICMA-LA is a member of the Citizens for Transparent Municipalities (CIMTRA) Group, which is composed of more than 20 Mexican nongovernmental organizations and coordinated by the Centro de Servicios Municipales Heriberto Jara, Locallis, ICMA-LA, and ACCEDER.
CIMTRA aims to assist in building a culture of accountability among local governments through transparent actions toward society. To achieve this, it uses a 37-item questionnaire using 16 indicators to evaluate a municipality’s level of transparency, generating a score from 0 to 100. The questionnaire measures three areas of transparency:
- Information provided to society by the municipal government
- The way communications between government and society are established and operate
- Transparency in local government processes.
Since CIMTRA’s creation in 2002, more than 129 Mexican municipalities and 16 delegations of the Federal District, representing more than 36 million people, have been evaluated for transparency and accountability with CIMTRA´s tools at least once.
Thanks to the efforts of the local NGOs that participate with the CIMTRA Group, municipalities have adopted new local resolutions, improved existing citizen committees, publicized previously classified information, and increased citizen interest in local affairs.
For more information about CIMTRA en Español, visit www.cimtra.org.mx.
ICMA Latinoamérica has undertaken numerous special projects on request:
- ICMA-LA has developed two online training courses for the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (Tecnológico de Monterrey, or Monterrey Tech), one of the largest private universities in Mexico. The first was “Ethics and Transparency: Foundations for Good Government.” The second, developed jointly with the university and the World Bank Institute, is a basic municipal management course.
- Under an agreement with the United Nations Global Compact, ICMA-LA developed a prototype guide that can assess the progress of a public-sector organization in implementing the ten principles of the Compact. The guide was tested in the municipalities of Aguascalientes and Chihuahua, and readied for presentation in June 2011.
- As part of the Decentralization and Local Governance Program (Programa de Descentralizacion y Gobernabilidad Local) in Guatemala, ICMA-LA assisted in the development of a certification program for municipal finance officers, using the experience from a similar effort in Mexico. The certification program continues to operate in Guatemala.
- As part of an ongoing partnership with the Sinaloa Council for Economic Development (CODESIN), ICMA-LA arranged a series of site visits to Silicon Valley for newly elected mayors in the state of Sinaloa. As a result of a visit in fall 2010, three municipalities decided to create a regional solid waste corporation to serve their jurisdictions. Two other jurisdictions initiated citizen engagement programs.
- Other training and consulting projects have included:
- Conducting an organizational assessment of CODESIN for the state of Sinaloa and proposing improvements that would help the council achieve its objectives
- Providing information on the municipal administrator position to business leaders and graduate students with an interest in the concept of professional management
- Conducting a training program for government offices in the state of Jalisco on the Logical Framework Methodology developed by USAID (the national government requires that all indicators associated with federal funds must be based on this methodology)
- Assisting the state of Guerrero in the development of a performance measurement system
- Providing a series of workshops on performance measurement for state and municipal personnel at the request of the state auditor for Coahuila
- Participating in a USAID training program on citizen participation in the Dominican Republic.