How to Build Successful Municipal Governments: Conference Explores Challenges and Opportunities for a New Guatemala

Eddy Simaj
May 13, 2024

Within the framework of the LIDERA program: Building Knowledge Societies, promoted by the Esquipulas Foundation and the Global Peace Foundation (GPF) Central America, a conference was held titled, “How to Build Successful Local Governments? Challenges and Opportunities for a New Guatemala.”

GPF’s ongoing work in Central America has led to partnerships that bring together human rights experts, educators and business leaders in forums to address regional issues such as the independence of the judiciary, threats to democratic institutions in Latin America, development opportunities through investments in science and the green economy, and regional security.

Three professionals in a virtual conference, featuring Mauricio Bermeo Mendoza and Jose de Jesus Sousa Lopez at the top and Nerea Flores at the bottom, each shown in their own frame.

Virtual conference on local development

This event featured the participation of experts in local development: Nora Flores, Head of Planning and Projects at the Esquipulas Foundation; Mauricio Bermeo Mendoza, PhD in Public Policy; and José de J. Sosa López, Institutional Development Specialist. They shared their knowledge and experiences on how to tackle the complex challenges faced by municipalities in Guatemala.

During the conference, a detailed overview of the current problems affecting Guatemalan communities was provided, including inflation, insecurity, lack of basic services such as public health and potable water, femicide, unemployment, corruption, and environmental degradation. Emphasis was placed on the importance of bridging the democratic gap and identifying target audiences to articulate effective solutions that meet growing social demands.

The speakers highlighted the need for participatory strategic planning, financial innovation to “do more with less,” evidence-based and results-oriented public policies, and the concept of “servuction,” where everything is seen as a service. They underscored the significance of public trust in their governments as a foundation for active participation, collective action, and co-responsibility in managing municipal affairs.

A group of young students, standing outdoors in Guatemala, proudly displaying their certificates with tropical trees in the background.

Youth for a healthy and sustainable world; a FUNDAECO program

To confront global challenges, such as accelerated globalization, climate change, and political instability, the importance of concrete and realistic objectives, monitoring and evaluation systems, and the formulation of sustainability-focused strategies were emphasized. The experts agreed that effective governments are those that promote continuous improvement and teamwork, invest in their employees, and encourage citizen co-responsibility.

The conference “How to Build Successful Municipal Governments” marked a milestone in the dialogue on local development in Guatemala, offering a clear path toward creating more inclusive, transparent, and effective governments. The Esquipulas Foundation and the participating experts invite all stakeholders to collaborate in this joint effort for a more prosperous and equitable Guatemala.

The complete conference in Spanish is available here:

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