Posteado por: Rimisp | 12 octubre 2012

Final Report Rural Territorial Dynamics Program

Over the course of five years, more than 50 organizations have been working in 11 countries in Latin America to explain why some rural territories have achieved greater economic growth with more social inclusion and environmental sustainability, and to collaborate in the design and implementation of public strategies, policies, programs and projects based on gathered knowledge. Along the way, these organizations have created a dialogue, collaboration and shared-work system that in itself is a contribution to rural territorial development in Latin America. These are, in sum, the results of the Rural Territorial Dynamics (RTD) Program.

The Final Report sheds light on some of the main Program activities, its results and products from 2007 to 2012. This document also presents a group of key actors in the process: the Program’s partners. The Program’s intellectual output and its practical contributions to the design and implementation of policies and other forms of public actions are so numerous and diverse that we have been forced to select some of the results that better reflect the set of outcomes in general. All the products and results are available at the Program’s website for those interested in learning more about them.

Just like any other good research effort, the Program has answered some questions and created others. This unresolved agenda prominently includes a series of questions on the role played by public policies and large private investments in the generation and reproduction of territorial inequalities.There also unanswered questions about the best combinations of sectoral and territorial public policies that can help countries achieve territorial cohesion; these questions include the issue of incentives and capacities needed to solve the lack of coordination that prevents moving from biased actions to true territorial development strategies. Another substantial issue that requires more research work is the effect various types of economic growth have on national territorial cohesion and, especially, on changes that affect various types of poverties or social inequalities. We must better understand how to reconcile territorial development policy objectives at the national level with development goals created by actors in each territory. The number of unanswered questions could continue to grow, but what we mean is that there is still a lot to learn.

At the practical level, there are also problems left to solve. We have already mentioned the challenges related to coordinating actors, sectors and government levels, which is indispensable for territorial development. We must learn more about how to achieve a deeper commitment to collective actions from the most powerful territorial actors, including the largest private businesses, to achieve territorial development, instead of them using their power to directly find solutions to their individual needs. Since almost always territorial dynamics occur in larger and more diverse spaces beyond local government jurisdiction, we must continue experimenting and innovating with mechanisms that help build forms of governance and public administration that can effectively manage development dynamics at the territorial level. In regards to national public administration issues, there are large vacuums in criteria and methods that specialized government agencies can use to evaluate ex ante and make decisions about sets of articulated multi-sectoral public investment activities, necessary to implement territorial development policies. There is also a lack of adequate and cost-efficient methods to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the final impact of territorial development strategies, policies or programs, which by definition assume the simultaneous modification of numerous factors due to the actions taken by a variety of actors. In sum, these are examples that show that there are still many insufficiencies in the territorial development toolbox.

Rimisp-Latin American Center for Rural Development and a group of leading partners that participated in the RTD Program have been working together to design a way to give continuity to the tasks achieved, with new research questions being formulated and facing practical problems that require better solutions. During the second half of 2012 we will be implementing the program “Territories of Well-Being” (Territorios de Bienestar), a conduit to continue working on decreasing territorial inequalities directly affecting tens of millions of people living in Latin America’s lagging territories. These inequalities are a burden on general Latin American development and, therefore, also hinder well-being and opportunities for all people living in this region.

Rimisp- Latin American Center for Rural Development was charged with coordinating the RTD Program and facilitating the incredible work done by its partners. For Rimisp, the experience has been an amazing opportunity to learn and help build capacities. Evaluations conducted show that the RTD Program has also contributed to the organizational development of many of our partners.

We should not end this introduction to the Report without recognizing and thanking cooperating agencies that have generously provided their financial backing to make this Program possible. The contribution made by the International Development Research Center (IDRC, Canada) gave us the initial boost that made everything else possible, and provided the axis around which all other contributions fell into place. The support from the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAP) was essential to the work done in Central America, especially in regards to capacity development for territorial administration. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) made a significant donation that allowed us to expand our activities on public policy dialogue. Without this support, many of the contributions made in this area simply would not have happened. These three agencies showed great generosity and flexibility in making their donations truly complementary and in reducing administrative and transactional costs. Perhaps even more importantly, they all took significant risks, approving programs with innovative elements that, initially, had little guarantee of providing results.

Besides these three key benefactors, the Program also received support for specific activities from FAO; the Ibero-American General Secretariat, the governments of Brazil (Ministry of Agricultural Development), South Africa (Department of Rural Development and Land) and India (National Planning Commission); the Rural Development Agency from the state of Michoacan in Mexico; Simon Bolivar Andean University based in Quito; the government of the Tungurahua province, Ecuador; Nitlapan Institute at the Central American University, in Managua; the Danish Institute of International Studies (DIIS); CEPAL; ICCO (The Netherlands); the French Development Agency (AFC); The College of Mexico (Colmex); the Institute for Economic Research Foundation (FIPE) at Sao Paulo University, Brazil; Earth Foundation, Bolivia; PRISMA Foundation, El Salvador; University of the Andes in Bogota, Colombia; the Group for the Analysis of Development (GRADE) and the Peruvian Studies Institute (IEP), both based in Lima; Rafael Landivar University, Guatemala; Manchester University and Greenwich University, both in the United Kingdom; the Salvadoran Development and Environmental Research Program; and, the World Bank.

To everyone who invested in the RTD Program – and to all the people who participated and collaborated in it – I would like to express my gratitude and that of the coordinating team. Thank you!

Julio A. Berdegue
RTD Program Coordinator




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