In order to promote actions and measures aimed at strengthening the institutional capabilities of the different city districts to face the challenges involved in managing urban issues, the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá and Universidad del Rosario signed a cooperation agreement for the consolidation of a proposal to strengthen local public governments and management bodies; one that will bear in mind aspects such as comprehensive citizen services, and the generation of spaces that empower and foster enterprise activities.
The Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá (CCB) has proposed to transform the current Local (Second-Tier) Mayorships into Special Administrative Units (UAE), vesting them with the corresponding administrative and financial independence, in what it sees as the sole feasible alternative to strengthen the city's local management.
This proposal provides the Local (Second-Tier) Mayorships with a legal standing, making them more independent from the Secretary of Government.
The CCB's initiative, which was presented at the Forum "Bogotá más cerca de sus ciudadanos: propuestas para el fortalecimiento de las localidades", believes these units must continue to operate under the City's Secretary of Government, but with sufficient independence in decision-making, with the creation of a suitable and appropriate inter-disciplinary team, and with the capacity to also be held accountable for their actions
Like the UAE (Special Administrative Units), the Local (Second-Tier) Mayorships will be autonomous, that is, they will be capable of making key decisions as required to properly implement the plans, programs and duties they have been tasked with; this autonomy also means having the necessary economic resources required for their operation available to them.
Redistribution of competencies and duties
The proposal by the CCB is the result of a survey carried out with technical support from the Academia, which allowed for the identification and analysis of several different duties and activities currently being carried out by the Local (Second-Tier) Mayorships.
The criteria used to draft the proposal to modify the Local (Second-Tier) Mayorships' duties were based on factors such as the institutional capacity, technical competencies, geographic proximity and inter-institutionality required to manage the different districts.
The local level of government shall be tasked with duties related to:
- Actions associated to the proximal government.
- Actions related to its institutional capabilities.
- Actions and duties within their territorial scope.
- Territorial knowledge that feeds into the formulation of public policies.
The centralized government shall be tasked with duties related to:
- Those requiring a technical specialty.
- Those whose management requires the interaction of several different bodies and institutions.
- Those with an inter-local scope
The duties that must be assumed jointly between the local and central levels of government include:
- Greater articulation and complementarity by levels of intervention.
- The formulation and design of policies and instruments by the centralized sector.
- Execution in the different districts, through city- and local-level investments.
The first stage of this agreement involved the collection of primary and secondary information at the public instances and bodies which are part of the process in both the centralized, decentralized and local levels, in order to have the necessary elements in place to draft the articulation proposal among these three levels.
This field work allowed for the characterization of the current situation in each of the Local (Second-Tier) Mayorships regarding existing regulations and, thus, to identify the gap that exists, when comparing it against reality
Workshops were also carried out with groups of public officials and citizens who use the management services; said exercises were based on strategy methodologies, used to validate the conclusions from the characterization.
The results then served as the basis for the drafting of a proposal for the strengthening of the districts in terms of duties and competencies; one that will take into account articulation scenarios and mechanisms between the central, decentralized and local levels.