Since the 1990s, ICMA and its members have been strengthening Mexican institutions by improving service delivery, supporting municipal associations, bolstering national decentralization efforts, and facilitating citizen participation. These initiatives have been developed in close collaboration with civil, governmental, and private organizations.
Mexico's journey toward a more open and democratic society began in the 1970s, when municipalities were provided with an opening, via the national legal framework, to operate with a greater degree of independence in their internal operations. At the same time, opposition parties began winning local elections, and the consolidation of democratic processes began.
ICMA became involved institutionally in Mexico during this time of change, starting in 1993 with its first technical assistance exchanges along the U.S.-Mexico border, focused on environmental management. Through its implementation of the USAID-funded U.S.-Mexico Partnership for Municipal Development from 1997 through 2003, ICMA contributed to the strengthening of democratic institutions and practices in Mexico with an emphasis on service delivery, performance measurement, and accountability.
In 2004, after the conclusion of the program, ICMA consolidated its presence in Mexico by establishing ICMA Latinoamérica, based in Guadalajara. ICMA Latinoamérica fosters professional public administration in Mexico and in the region by providing 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; and opportunities for interaction among Mexican administrators, officials, and local government organizations and with their counterparts in the United States. ICMA also has an affiliate relationship with the Mexican Association of Municipalities (Asociacion de Municipios de Mexico, A.C.).
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 helped selected cities, states, and other subnational authorities in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Argentina improve their ability to borrow at reasonable rates.