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“P olicy experienced by the people” By Jorge O. Romano International Governance Team ActionAid

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“P olicy experienced by the people” By Jorge O. Romano International Governance Team ActionAid OGF September 2011. Brazilian context: the elites power.

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“Policy experienced by the people”

By Jorge O. Romano

International Governance Team



September 2011

brazilian context the elites power
Brazilian context: the elites power
  • Traditionally: authoritarism, patrimonialism, clientelism and corruption are important tendencies in the national State resulted from the elites power.
  • Access to public goods, services and justice as elites favour rather than people’s rights: people as clients
    • Trade offs: favours by political and economic allegiances.
  • Social movements, NGOs and CSOs demanding civil, political rights and more collective social rights
democratization and after neoliberalism
Democratization and after  neoliberalism
  • 1998 New Constitution:
    • Expanded social and political rights
    • Instituted more mechanisms for civil society’s participation in public policies and social control over the State (plebiscites, public hearings, public civil actions, management councils)
    • But access to public services remains: people as beneficiaries
  • Late 90’s & early 2000’s  structural adjustment:
    • weakness of State’s capacity to guarantee social policies and constitutional rights.
    • Privatization and people’s access to public services as consumers
lula s government strengthen public space but limited participation process
Lula´s government: strengthen public space but limited participation process
  • Lula’s government  expectation of strengthening the public space for practices of citizens as active political actors, and promoting civil society’s participation in public policies’ framing and managing.
  • Despite advances, there are limits in the participation process:
    • reduction to consultative spaces.
    • Unequal or lack of permeability of government representatives.
    • Difficulties for people’s access to public services as agency
challenges for organized civil society s strategies
Challenges for organized civil society’s strategies
  • How to strengthen democratic interests, practices, process and tendencies in the State and in the Society?
  • Through:
    • maintenance of civil society organisations (CSOs) autonomy
    • continuous social mobilisation and pressure
    • rethinking the participation process in order to promote people’s access to public services as agency
    • to make good use of public policy monitoring practices as societal accountability.
potentialities increasing societal accountability and changes in power relations
Potentialities: increasing societal accountability and changes in power relations
  • Our main question: Are public policy monitoring initiatives really contributing to change power relations for strengthening democratic interests, practices, process and tendencies? How??
  • Constructing new themes and arenas.
  • Democratizing access to information and promoting transparency.
  • Empowering civil society actors.
  • Politicization of technical aspects.
  • Developing capacity for strategic analysis and formulation.
  • Increasing political capital and credibility of civil society organisations.
  • Stimulating networking
  • Changing content and management of public policies
  • Promoting accountability legal actions.
limits and challenges
Limits and Challenges
  • Risk of loosing political autonomy
  • Difficulties in maintaining the efficiency, the quality as well as the social and political relevance of monitoring
  • Intellectualize monitoring practices
  • Difficulties in theevaluation of its costs and impacts.
  • Judiciary system discredit reduces monitoring use for accountability legal actions.
  • Weak links with grassroots organisations and social movements
  • Agenda built more for donors than to social movements.
limits and challenges1
Limits and Challenges
  • Brazilian CSOs able to participate in the formulation of public policies – health, food rights, education, indigenous populations’ and women’ issues – through heavy lobbying over government actors.
  • But they have been less effective in exercising control over the policies’ implementation in order to guarantee that public policies will be carried out in a participatory and transparent manner, and will effectively deliver for the poor people.
second phase policy experienced by the people 2008 2010
Second phase: Policy experienced by the people(2008-2010)
  • Objectives:
    • How poor people understand and evaluate public policies from the perspective of their daily lives?
    • How do they participate in the policies definition and implementation?
    • Strengthen monitoring practices of public policies and measure the extent to which they contribute to concrete improvements in people’s quality of life.
    • To promote ‘accountability networks’ articulating local, national and also international levels.
    • To change the role of poor people from clients, consumers and/or beneficiaries to being agency of the public services.
the methodology
The methodology
  • 1)Building local forums through
    • Bi-monthly local workshops with poor people in the communities (mixed workshops [men and women] and workshops with only women) about understanding the public services and its implementation, and people’s right to it
    • Workshop between communities and local stakeholders (NGOs, CSOs, local councillors) to discuss the situation of the public services and to share national information about the public policy produced by the national partner.


the methodology1
The methodology
  • 2) Access to information:
    • 3 national partners producing monthly clipping and key information about each of the public policies (structure, responsibilities, implementation, budgets, difficulties, etc).
    • Sharing learning through interchanges: field visit of some members of the communities to other municipalities to learn about the situation of the public services, about the organizations of the poor people and the accountability process.
  • 3) Building “accountability networks”
    • Linking local forums, national partners producers of key information, local and national stakeholders.
    • Sharing the information with international ActionAid Campaigns to denounce the situation on the ground (HungerFree and Women Won’t Wait)
the methodology2
The methodology
  • 4) Promoting accountability spaces:
  • Six monthly workshops among communities, stakeholders and local authorities about the situation of the public services.
  • One National Public Service Workshop about each one of the three public policies, with members of the local forums, social movements, CSOs, national partners, Local and Federal Government representatives and the media. Presentation and debate of the people’s chart of demands on each policy.
  • One National Cross Public Services Workshop putting together members of the several local forums, social movements, CSOs, national partners, Federal Government representatives of the 3 public policies and the media. Authorities holding commitments for improvement of the access of poor people to the public policies.
the results
The results
  • Originally the big number of the poor people did not know about the procedures of the public policies and also about their right to them.
  • Reasons: complex structure of the public service, technical language, top-down building policy without people’s participation, elite appropriation, clientelism, inefficiency of public administrators, corruption.
  • The offices giving information about the dynamic of the public services and promoted social accountability and participation
  • Local forums becoming permanent space
  • Charts with demands currently renewed and negotiated
  • More dialogue and links with local and federal government
  • More access of women to public policies (PAA)
  • Need time and resources
  • Need permanent investment in maintaining the local/national and international network
  • Weaker international dimension
  • Challenging the institutional public service culture
  • Beginning to change the role of the poor people to agency of the public services