ICMA has worked in nearly every country in Latin America to build strong, responsive institutions and boost effective citizen participation at the local level.
While many governments in the Latin American and Caribbean region have taken steps to promote economic growth and improve living standards, many people of the region are aware that their countries continue to experience critical problems, such as scarce employment opportunities, lack of education, poverty, corruption, and crime.
Productive employment and education opportunities need to be created in order to stymie apathy among young adults and increase incomes. Institutions must be strengthened in order to enforce the rule of law, curb corruption, and improve public service delivery at the national and local levels.
ICMA has worked in nearly every country in Latin America to build strong, responsive institutions and boost effective citizen participation at the local level. Our activities began in 1990, when we embarked on a municipal development project involving 22 cities in Honduras. In 2004 ICMA built on earlier work in Mexico by establishing ICMA Latinoamérica, based in Guadalajara, to provide an ongoing presence in the region.
ICMA programs have helped flood-prone communities in Guatemala assess their disaster readiness and improve their mitigation and preparedness capabilities. Also in Guatemala, ICMA provided critical support to strengthen local government financial management by implementing the national-level integrated financial management system in thirteen municipalities in four regions of the country, many of which are isolated and have high indigenous populations.
In Paraguay, ICMA assessed the incident command systems in the fire service and provided training for volunteer fire departments.
We have worked with cities in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Argentina to help them improve their creditworthiness and consequently lower the cost of borrowing for infrastructure and other improvements. We have worked with other Mexican cities to help them improve their performance with the use of a diagnostic tool that enables them to assess their level of institutional capacity in different functional areas: finance, planning, human resource management, and legal frameworks. And we are helping several Central American countries adopt community-oriented approaches to crime prevention through the Municipal Partnerships for Violence Prevention in Central America (AMUPREV) program—starting with Panama and El Salvador.
In Bolivia, ICMA worked to improve municipal administration and management; strengthen local governance by helping municipalities implement participation models and processes; encourage municipal governments to develop policies and practices that promote local and regional economic growth; and build the capacity of municipal support organizations to be more effective and sustainable.
From 1998 through 2006, ICMA managed the USAID-funded Regional Partnership for Decentralization and Local Government in Latin America and the Caribbean. The partnership provided technical assistance and training to key regional actors to help them become more sustainable, and identified, disseminated, and promoted cutting-edge tools and best practices to enhance the management capacity of municipalities in the region.
ICMA also has implemented programs in Ecuador, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela.