Helmer Velasquez




Coordination of NGOs and Cooperatives of Guatemala, CONGCOOP

Level of involvement in the CPDE:

Responsible for promoting CPDE’s work in Central America and Mexico


Which is the most significant and paradigmatic story of a development

partnership that you have experienced?

A social, indigenous, peasant, non-governmental, and research partnership has been operating in Guatemala for the last three years with the aim of:

Facilitating dialogue between the State and civil society in order to promote policies in favor of peasant and indigenous populations regarding their safe and equitable access to land;

Promoting public investment in rural development;

And boosting the implementation of a new National Policy of Comprehensive Rural Development.

This Partnership is a member of the Guatemalan Peasant Committee of the Highlands (CCDA); the Rural Women Alliance (AMR); the Peasant Development Committee (CODECA); the Verapaz Union of Peasant Organizations (UVOC); the Nuevo Día Ch’orti’ Campesino Central; the Coordination of NGOs and Cooperatives of Guatemala (CONGCOOP); and the Institute for Agricultural Studies and Rural Development (IDEAR).

Initially, three elements reunited the member organizations of the Alliance: first, the relevance of some of the organizations that make up the Alliance as the International Land Coalition; secondly, the MDGs monitoring work that said organizations undertook in the country and the subsequent design of proposals related to the SDGs; and finally, the debate on Development Cooperation.

The Partnership —which nowadays is consolidated and has its own agenda— was established on the basis of these three confluences and the country’s debates on the existence of a rural development law.

As of today, one of the Alliance’s core demands is related to the rural

development national policy. Although said policy was approved two years ago, it does not receive any allocations from the public budget.

Furthermore, the lack of transparency in the implementation of Guatemala’s general public budget and specifically, in the public budget from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food (MAGA), has prompted the drafting of periodical monitoring reports on the Ministry’s public budget within the Alliance framework—particularly, in relation to the budget aimed at small producers and rural women— as well as the drafting of proposals on the increase of the public investment towards rural areas.

The work of the Civil Society Organizations Partnership has managed to create spaces for dialogue with the Commission of Agriculture of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala, as well as with the Department of Agriculture. These spaces for dialogue have succeeded in reaching some achievements, like the opening of lines more directed at small-scale agriculture and finance for rural women. These achievements have caused that some items dedicated to said sectors were increased in the Congress. Opening lines of dialogue on development finance is in itself an important achievement in a country like Guatemala, where politicians and State Agencies are traditionally closed to dialogue.

Nevertheless, the adoption of an Integral Rural Development Law is one of the main challenges for the Partnership and other Civil Society Organizations. This would allow the integral rural development not to be subject to the ups and downs of the incumbent Executive Agency’s policy. However, in the Parliament there is a large majority linked to traditional parties, which are related to the landed elite and oppose the adoption of the law.


Guatemala Gallery

How was the process of Monitoring this Development Partnership?

This monitoring experience arises from the need to generate a social audit of the public budget for agriculture; the creation of a national partnership of International Land Coalition’s member organizations; and the discussions related to the development effectiveness. It also arises from the Busan Declaration and the Istanbul Principles; the efforts to boost the realization of the MDGs within the country; and the need to introduce new contents for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

The monitoring reports on MAGA’s public budget are carried out periodically —on a quarterly, six-monthly, and annual basis— and are undertaken by the Institute for Agricultural Studies and Rural Development (IDEAR), which is part of the CONGCOOP.


These monitoring reports provide a first-hand source of information on the budgetary amounts allocated to agriculture and how and to what extent they are being implemented or not. Armed with this information, civil society organizations at the national level can undertake their political work and, in turn, grassroots organizations —which are members of national organizations—, can access information on how many resources exist in agriculture for their department or municipality. Thus, they are able to demand access to those resources. (Attach to pdf file)

Which was the monitoring role of the CSOs?

Involvement as

project partners

Bringing in consultation and

involvement of the community

affected by the project


Research and



Within the Partnership, CONGCOOP acts as a Technical Secretariat. This role translates in the search for spaces for dialogue and discussion, as well as in the maintenance of the group’s cohesion. Another of the Partnership’s key roles is the knowledge creation on that specific issue. In this respect, the CONGCOOP has created the Institute for Agricultural and Rural Studies, which is the foundation on which the monitoring studies are built. It also plays a political role in the debates with the Government and the Parliament, as well as linking and assisting peasant organizations by providing political support and accompanying them whenever complaints arise.

Moreover, the Partnership maintains spaces for the dissemination of said studies through the holding of forums by conducting forums and debates, and regular maintenance of a newspaper column to generate opinion on the issue  This combination of efforts, coupled with peasant street mobilizations that occur in different circumstances and conjunctures, have contributed to generate spaces for political influence.

What type of monitoring of government-led DPs is occurring in your country?

"So far, the State has not implemented any monitoring platform for development partnerships. In this respect, there are several proposals promoted by social organizations, but they have not had any positive responses from the State."

Open to all stakeholders,

and include their ideas

Open to all stakeholders, but doesn’t include their ideas

Open to a few, chosen stakeholders, and include their ideas

Open to a few, chosen stakeholders, but does not include their ideas

Not open at all

Which are the actors or development agents that had participated in

the Development partnership that you describe in this story?



Kyrgyz Republic










Private Sector


Other Agents

"The main actors involved in the social partnership are mainly indigenous, peasant, and non-governmental organizations or research centers.."

How could you define the dialogue process between the

multistakeholders involved in the Development Partnership?

The dialogue between the State and the Civil Society is open, but inconsistent. The State does not seem interested in the products to be obtained. Furthermore tasks are undertaken under pressure to a great extent, since work tables are created only in response to certain conjunctures —generally street mobilizations driven by social organizations. There is a problem with the State’s compliance in regards to the agreements, and it discourages dialogue.

Lack of proper listening, cycling the same arguments, no learning.

Creation of certain platforms to hear the views of civil society with a moderate dialogue

Encouraging listening and taking voices into account

What kind of monitoring processes is being done?

Ad hoc exercises

(specific for the process)

Regular reviews/on-going


Qualitative/quantitative assessments

or evaluations.

Could you explain how the four-development effectiveness principles were used

as monitoring criteria in the experience you are presenting?

By clicking on the round circles in the graphic you could read more about how the principle has been used.

Key Primary Tool

Used somehow

Principle not used in the monitoring

Ownership of development priorities by developing counties

 Recipient countries define the development model that they want to implement.

Focus on results

Having a sustainable impact   should be the driving force behind investments and effort in development policy making

Partnerships for development

 Development depends on the participation of all actors, and recognises the diversity and complementarity of their functions.

 Transparency and shared responsibility

Development co-operation must be transparent and accountable to all citizens.

How has the Human Rights Based Approach been used as

monitoring criteria in the monitoring experience you are describing?

The Human Rights-based Approach (HRBA) is used as a monitoring standard, since it works on the basis of the Right to Food and the collective rights of indigenous peoples, peasants, and women farmers by understanding the social demand as a set of economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights.

Not at all

Key Primary Tool

How did the government or other stakeholders react after

you have presented the monitoring initiative/some monitoring results?

Some spaces for dialogue have been created. For example, some spaces for participation in open
discussions on budgetary issues have been created with the Commission of Agriculture of the Congress of the Republic of Guatemala and the Executive Agency of the State —in particular the Ministry of Agriculture.

Monitoring experiences from CSOs like the one in my story happen in my country...

Several monitoring efforts have been made by both women’s organizations and Human Rights organizations, each within its area of activity.



Which capacities do you consider as key in order to realise this monitoring experience?

Capacity to relate, by participation in coalitions and networks of CSOs to engage engaging at multiple levels,

with the community and a variety of stakeholders

Capacity to foster dialogue with government and other stakeholder. Convene around a common landscape

Communication and outreach capacity. Counting with media in reaching and influencing public opinion.

Capacity to conduct evidence-based research and policy papers.

Capacity to commit and act, through a well-elaborated strategy for lobby and advocacy.

Capacity to conduct Lobby and Advocacy representing right-holders, from a legitimate, accountable and trustworthy representation.

Capability to mobilise public support and create and maintain operational space. Contributing to the public debate and maintain legitimacy of representation.

Capability to ensure organisational sustainability (with financial sustainability and capability to attract and retain qualified staff)

Capacity to adapt and renew, pro-act to changing external contexts. Organizations should be able to monitor changing circumstances and respond accordingly.

Capacity of culture of learning and innovation in the organisation. Developing an own learning agenda

Key competences

The team’s key competencies and skills are the following: the capacity for political advocacy; the capacity of coordination and interaction with the organizations that form part of the social partnership; the capacity of dialogue with the Guatemalan State; and the capacity to formulate proposals.

Which are, in your opinion, the capacities needed to conduct a good monitoring of Development partnerships?

"From our point of view, the key capacities needed are the capacity to interact with the other actors of the development partnership; the capacity of internal and external communication; and the capacity of mobilization and political advocacy.."

To which extent has this experience been articulated through networks and
shared at regional level in other countries?

"This experience is disseminated through networks at the national level. At the regional level, it has been shared with other organizations in Central America."

Which is the projection of the organisation/network at the moment

in their national and international context?

We have a nationwide deployment and a national territorial presence. In turn, each one of our members has regional and international partnerships.

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