Mexico, July 11, 17 participants, Organizer: The Hunger Project – Mexico
As part of the implementation of the Participatory Local Democracy Project, on 11 July 2014, The Hunger Project Mexico and the Mexican Center of Philanthropy held the focus group discussion to collectively answer the survey on local democracy.
17 people participated in the meeting, including local leaders of Oaxaca, Chiapas and San Luis Potosí, part of THP Mexico, as well as the Director of Research of the Mexican Center of Philanthropy, among others.
The debate was truly interesting. We all agreed that even if the legal framework in Mexico establishes mandatory forms for local democracy, in practice there is still a huge gap between local authorities and citizens.
There was a consensus that Municipios’ capacities are very heterogeneous. Particularly, governments from south states require more trainings to better develop their functions and to actually exercise decentralization.
Regarding civic participation, we also discussed how important it is for citizens to be more informed about their rights in order to make their governments accountable and transparent, because there are no well known instruments to monitor government, and we have a weak civic culture to demand and monitor government procedures in the local context.
However, we also acknowledged the existence of different forms of participation in Mexico – for example, traditional forms of government in Indigenous communities, as well as collective forms to make community decisions.
The meeting allowed the participants to initiate an important reflection on the urgent need to strength local democracy in their own communities, as well to engage local authorities in this aim.
-Yunuel Martinez, The Hunger Project – Mexico