Pilots for efficient and sustainable municipal development in Cuba
Cuba is going through comprehensive social and economic reforms, which SALAR is supporting by developing best practices for local government management and service delivery, through pilot projects in two provinces.
During the past decade Cuba has been undergoing economic and social reform processes. This led to the drafting of a new constitution which aims at horizontal power-sharing at all levels. To support this process the Cuban government found it useful to study international references and to identify best practices for inspiration and possible application in the Cuban context. As part of this process, Sida and SALAR were approached in 2016 by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs with an expressed interest in learning more about Swedish local governance.
SALAR was requested to share these experiences with relevant counterparts in Cuba. This request coincided with the formulation by the Swedish Government of a new country strategy for Cuba. The new strategy stated goals such as “contributing to a sustainable economic development” and “strengthening public administration institutions”. This created a good basis for the design of a project that could make use of SALAR’s expertise and at the same time suit the Cuban request.
Two new provinces as pilots - Mayabeque and Artemisa
Mayabeque and Artemisa are two new provinces in the territory of the former Havana Province. Each province consists of 11 municipalities. These new provinces were created as pilots by the Cuban government to test a new local administration model. The Cuban ambition has been to increase accountability at the local level, establish a stricter division between the political assemblies and the administrative leadership and create a more effective service delivery. To make use of the favourable conditions for change in these provinces, they were also selected for implementation of the SALAR-led project. The project has had two main focus areas:
- capacity building on new knowledges
- methods and tools for efficient and sustainable management at the local level.
During the project, two provincial capacity building centers have been restored and equipped. A training program has been developed in order to capacitate public servants at the provincial and municipal level. The 44 public servants who have participated in the training program come from four municipalities within the provinces of Artemisa and Mayabeque. Evidence shows that they have really changed perspective of their roles in the local governments, going from “functionario” (officer) to “servidor publico” (civil servant). This indicates a shift to more of a perceived role to meet citizen needs. Finally, a major project result is the fact that the training program has become a certified university course in Cuba and the material has been published in a printed edition.
The project is implemented by SALAR International in co-operation with the Centre for Local and Community Development (CEDEL) of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment in Cuba (CITMA).
Mia Patiño Stålgren
Deputy project manager