Despite sustained economic growth over the last decade, approximately 30 percent of Peruvians continue to live in poverty. This is particularly true in highland and jungle areas where economic opportunity and state presence are limited, opening space for narco-trafficking, illegal logging and mining, and incidences of terrorism. This disparity leaves many rural citizens feeling excluded from government and contributes to a lack of confidence in democratic institutions. As Peru’s economy continues to grow, particularly on the coast, the disaffection of those in the Andes and Amazon who feel marginalized has manifested itself in weak public support for democracy (among the lowest in the region) and increasing levels of social conflict. Weak and fragmented political parties further complicate Peru’s efforts to consolidate democracy and economic growth. To address these challenges, USAID’s Office of Democratic Initiatives is working with the Government of Peru (GOP), civil society, and the private sector to strengthen democratic institutions, help make decentralized government more effective and transparent, and build capacity to prevent, mitigate and manage conflict.
USAID supports citizen oversight initiatives to increase government accountability and transparency.
USAID works with national and local governments to simplify administrative processes, create a stronger investment climate, and modernize key national systems (e.g., public investment, procurement, and budgeting for results). Streamlining bureaucracy and shifting some government functions to the regional and local level can give citizens a greater voice in government and ensure more effective service delivery.
Corruption constitutes a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law, undermining citizens’ trust in the political system and its institutions. Economically, corruption hinders the development of fair market structures and distorts competition, thereby deterring investment. USAID works with the judiciary, regional and local authorities and civil society to strengthen tools to address corruption and increase public awareness of corruption and how to fight it.
Following the 2011 election period, USAID is assisting newly elected officials, particularly in Congress, to strengthen their representational role and govern effectively.
Political and civic leaders discuss concrete reforms to Peru’s political party law during a workshop organized by USAID, the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE).
Recognizing the importance of conflict prevention and mitigation for Peru’s continued development, USAID provides policy support, technical assistance and training to government officials and civil society to better understand, address and manage social conflict, particularly related to the use of natural resources.
Recent accomplishments in the Democracy portfolio include:
- In decentralization: increased level of regional and municipal public investment and improved relations with constituents in targeted regional and municipal governments; designed and implemented the “Governance Barometer," a tool to measure regional and municipal government performance and improve responsiveness of public officials, for which the Controller General has assumed responsibility.
- In transparency: worked with five GOP entities to develop systems, processes and networks to strengthen capacity to address corruption within public administration; developed public campaigns to promote citizen awareness about corruption and disseminate information about how to report acts of corruption in public administration; conducted assessment of implementation of the new criminal procedure code.
- In elections/political processes: sponsored congressional and presidential debates that reached over 12 million viewers; supported orientation for 92 percent of newly elected members of Congress.
- In conflict mitigation: accompanied GOP in the design and dissemination of a national conflict strategy and the implementation of a geo-referential system to monitor conflicts; strengthened the capacity of 50 sub-national civil society organizations to engage in constructive dialogue around conflictive issues.
Role play with indigenous leaders during an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI)
workshop organized by USAID and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on transparency in local government.
Partners: Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Interior, Judiciary, Public Ministry, National Council of Magistrates, Office of the Comptroller, Office of the Ombudsman, Congress, regional and local governments and related associations, National Jury of Elections, National Office of Electoral Processes, Donor Groups on Governance and Conflict, IDEA International, and political parties.
Implementing Partners: Associates in Rural Development (ARD), CARE, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo y Participación (CEDEP), International Republican Institute (IRI), FHI 360, National Democratic Institute (NDI), Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and Transparencia.
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