Central America

Agreement on Socioeconomic Aspects and the Agrarian Situation signed between the Guatemalan Government and the Guatemalan National Revolutionary Unity [URNG] in Mexico City on 6 May, 1996 To strengthen real, functional, and participatory democracies and comprise: a) consensus and dialogue between representatives of the socioeconomic development: b) consensus between these representatives and state institutions in the drafting and implementation of strategies and development actions; and c) peoples' effective participation in identifying, setting priorities and fulfilling their needs. Citizens' participation in the socioeconomic development as well as being a democratization factor is essential to improve productivity and economic growth, for equitable distribution of wealth and assessment of human potential. With this disposition and in accordance with the agreements on the Resettlement of the Peoples Uprooted by the Armed Conflict and Indian Identity and Rights, the parties concur that it is important to create or strengthen mechanisms that allow citizens and different social groups to effectively exercise their rights and fully participate in the decision making on different issues that affect or interest them, with full awareness and in a manner that responsibly fulfills social obligations on personal and collective matters.

·        Reframing Citizenship: Indigenous Rights, Local Power and the Peace Process in Guatemala By Rachel Sieder.  Although the civil war in Guatemala was not fought over ethnic claims for self-determination, the peace process that brought the war to an end holds the prospect of incorporating historically neglected indigenous demands into a democratic national agenda. Given that the majority of Guatemalans are indigenous, further democratization that is responsive to the ethnic diversity of the country would radically transform Guatemalan politics and society.  One agreement in particular, the Accord on the Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples (AIDPI), signed on 31 March 1995, is of primary importance. It explicitly recognizes the multi-ethnic, culturally plural and multilingual nature of Guatemala and the specific, collective rights of some six million indigenous people. 

·        State Formation in Central America -- The Struggle for Autonomy, Development, and Democracy By Howard H. Lentner (1993). This analysis of the four basic components in the formation of states in Central America offers guidelines for understanding worldwide strivings for autonomy, unity, economic development, and democracy and examines Central American states. 

o       Decentralization and Recentralization: Lessons from the Social Sectors in Mexico and Nicaragua Gershberg, Alec Ian (August 1998).  The Office of the Chief Economist of the IDB Working papers series disseminates the findings of work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development policy issues.  This study is designed to help practitioners prepare and evaluate institutional reforms for education and health programs. It provides an analytic framework for use by public officials and researchers, with case studies that illustrate a wide range of actual practice, and a set of lessons learned. The framework uses the concept of accountability to link the broad goals of reform to the key dimensions of organizational arrangements. The case studies, based on fieldwork in Mexico and Nicaragua, demonstrate a wide variety of available policy instruments. Significantly, they also demonstrate that the responses to these instruments are equally various: creative interpretation of central regulations by local officials, self governing schools that complement public funds with resources mobilized by fees, the reassertion of national control over previously decentralized health programs. A lot of attention is paid to the how of reform; the process of implementation is at least as important as the question of what is to be reformed. The lessons derived from these experiences emphasize contingent, rather than absolute, recommendations. Overall, the study suggests how success in achieving greater efficiency, equity and democracy in the management and delivery of social services requires a careful balance of centralized and decentralized responsibilities.



·        Strengthening the Inter-American Human Rights System Report on the seminar organized by the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, February 2-6, 1998. Versión en Español 

·        The Misrepresentation of Citizenship in Social Contract Theories. Modernist Civic Culture and Its discontents A civic culture must perform effectively two related tasks: (1) it must provide cultural resources capable of rendering intelligible to citizens the standpoint proper to liberal democratic citizenship and (2) it must render this standpoint intelligible in such a way as to generate in citizens the motivation to develop the moral capacities required for citizenship. Specifically modernist civic culture is defined by its use of Enlightenment conceptions of reason and knowledge to carry out both of these functions.

·        What Education for What Citizenship? (UNESCO Project). Designed during the last half of 1993 and launched in January 1994, this is an attempt to help improve educational strategies for citizenship education supported by empirical cross-cultural evidence about the images of democratic citizenship and the educational approaches and practices currently utilized for that purpose in different countries. A first phase of activities, consisting mainly of a comparative survey conducted in thirty-four countries utilizing representative samples of students and teachers at the secondary education level, and sampling students' parents as well, is currently being completed. In 1996 was launched the second phase of the project aimed at experimenting and evaluating the most striking findings of the survey in actual school situations, with a view to developing effective and adapted curriculum and pedagogical strategies for citizenship education in fifteen countries. The third phase of the project, devoted to the dissemination of knowledge and information in the field of citizenship education, has also been initiated with the creation of the Citied international forum on the topic, available through Internet, and the construction of an expert system providing increased accessibility to research-based expertise on citizenship education throughout the world.                       

·        Inter-American Development Bank Documents.