One of the priorities of the Colombian government is territorial development and strengthening through the development of planning capabilities and tools. The current decentralization model assigning Colombian territorial entities the direct responsibility of providing citizen services has led to local management of most of the country’s public resources. Nonetheless, in many cases such regional empowerment strategies have lacked coordination among the different agencies involved, thus hindering a greater impact on local government performance. One of the municipalities’ main challenges is advancing from formulating and structuring projects to generating execution capabilities.
Between May 19 and 23, 2014, Colombian representatives were able to see how the government of Peru has implemented a sub-national strategy to address similar needs. During the week-long visit, the delegation consulted with representatives from the Ministry of Finance regional office, the Social Development Cooperation Fund (Foncodes) field offices, and the Public Investment Project Bank. On May 18, the delegation traveled to Tarapoto, San Martin Province, in the Peruvian Amazon region and met with the town’s mayor.
The field visit and consultations enabled the Colombian representatives to gather good practices with short-term replicability, and secure efficient and effective regional government public management. They observed how projects are evaluated and approved through external agents and executed through an Executing Entity. The visit also enabled a communication channel for further sharing of experiences.
Bank Group Contribution
Through the South-South Knowledge Exchange Trust Fund (SSKE TF), the World Bank provided the funding for the visit (airfare, lodging, and travel expenses), and meeting space at the Bank’s office in Lima, Peru. The Bank acted as facilitator in the communication and definition of a shared agenda between the two countries before, during, and after the visit. The World Bank’s Public Sector Reform Unit in the Latin American and Caribbean Region prepared the funding proposal.
The Peruvian partners included the Public Investment Project Bank, created by the Ministry of Economics and Finance, and the Social Development Cooperation Fund (Foncodes), which is part of the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion, have decades of experience collaborating in the financing of social, economic, and productive sector infrastructure. Colombian Partners included the Directorate of Fiscal Support, from the Ministry of Finance, and the Department of National Planning.
The governments of Colombia and Peru plan on a continued dialogue and exchange of information on particular topics identified by both teams. To that end, they have created a collaboration platform aimed at sharing their knowledge of public investment systems operations and investment project structuring for local government. The Bank will serve as a facilitator of this dialogue through videoconferences to be held at its offices.
The visit enabled the Colombian representatives to learn good practices with short-term replicability aimed at securing efficient and effective regional government public management, and to establish a communication channel to share experiences.
Thanks to the field visit and the exchange with the Peruvian representatives, the Colombians confirmed that, in order to guarantee success when formulating new National Public Investment System strengthening strategies, to work towards ensuring project sustainability, and to develop strategies for generating regional capabilities, it is necessary to involve provincial department governments in accompaniment programs.