United Nations system in Ecuador
INTERAGENCY ASSESSMENT OF ECUADOR’S
NORTHERN BORDER REGION
Summary
Background
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Visit of the Secretary General to Ecuador in November
2003.
On December 30th, 2003 the Government of Ecuador
requested the Secretary General to send an inter-agency
mission to the Northern Border Region to assess the
present situation and recommend preventive
development measures.
In February and March 2004 the Secretary General
approved the organization of the assessment mission.
The United Nations System in Ecuador took charge in
structuring it.
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
Objectives of the Mission
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Update the diagnosis of the Northern Border Region in
terms of strengths and weaknesses and identification of
the main challenges from the point of view of human
development and the commitments of Ecuador in the
Millennium Development Goals Declaration.
Present to the Government of Ecuador a number of
recommendations in the various assessment areas.
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
Thematic Areas of the
Assessment
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Human Rights
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Humanitarian Assistance and Refugees
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Basic Social Services
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Poverty, Production and Employment
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Environment
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Institutional Analysis
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Drugs and Crime
Millennium
Development Goals
(2000-2015)
1. Poverty and
hunger
2. Primary Education
3. Gender Equality
4. Infant Mortality
5. Maternal Health
6. HIV/AIDS, malaria
7. Environmental
sustainability
8. Partnership for
Development
Cross-cutting areas: Gender and multiculturalism
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
The Interagency Mission
Members of the Mission:
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UNHCR, UN -Department of Political Affairs (DPA), FAO,
OPS/WHO, WFP, UNDP, UNICEF, UNODC, UNSECOORD
and UNV.
Technical Advice:
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UNESCO, UNFPA and UNIFEM.
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
Geography of the Region
4 Provinces in the Northern Border Region of
Ecuador
Pacific
Ocean
N
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E
S
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
The Assessment Process
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Collection of secondary information in Quito and in the
Northern Border Region
Interviews with development actors of the region (119
interviews)
Field visits in the four provinces
Elaboration of intermediary reports in each thematic
areas
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Technical discussion within the UN System
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Preparation of the final report
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
Key Ideas of the Report
1.
2.
3.
4.
The Northern Border Region possesses a
enormous development potential
The Northern Border Region is especially
vulnerable
There are storing reasons to establish a
Special Plan for the region
The region should continue to be a priority
for international cooperation and its actions
must be coordinated adequately
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
1. A Region with great
potential
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Cultural diversity (10 ethnic groups with their own
language)
Extraordinary biodiversity (7 ecological reserves, 25%
of the region’s territory)
Natural resources (Sucumbíos is the heart of oil
production)
Social capital (organizations, social networks,
participation)
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
2. An especially vulnerable
region
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Inequalities and social exclusion, poverty levels and gaps
in basic social services (education, health, water and
sanitation) are above national average.
Institutional weaknesses (Human Rights, security,
administration of justice and social rehabilitation)
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Deteriorating employment conditions and competitiveness
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Strong pressures on the environment
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Proximity with a particularly problematic region of
Colombia (violence and drug trafficking)
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
3. Need for a Special Plan
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Numerous need and urgencies, but limited financial
resources and management capacity
Strategic approach on priority objectives (MDGs as a
reference)
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Preventive character
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Respond to bi-national initiatives
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Balance and coordination between various levels of
government
Channels for social participation
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
4. International Cooperation
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International cooperation is considerable in the region
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Some dispersion, dis-coordination and gaps
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Need to strengthen coordination mechanisms
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Role of UDENOR
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Convening of the Consultative Group in Brussels, under a
new mechanism
Local donors table for the border
For the UN: strengthen its support, joint programming,
support to the elaboration of a Special Plan and the
Consultative Group
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
2.1. Poverty and Social
Services
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Historical isolation of the region
Poverty: some cantons are over 95% (Río Verde, San Lorenzo, Eloy
Alfaro, Putumayo)
Chronic malnutrition > 30% en Carchi and Sucumbíos, and 50% in
Imbabura
Average schooling completed < national average
High levels of child mortality: 54 for each 1,000 born alive in
Esmeraldas, 62 in Imbabura and 72 in Carchi
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High incidence of malaria in Esmeraldas and Sucumbíos
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High incidence of HIV/AIDS in Esmeraldas
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Basic needs: 80%-100% of households in the border’s vecinity
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
2.2. Human Rights and
Administration of Justice
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Insecurity of population caused by violence and impunity
(high homicide rates)
Weakness of the provincial “Defensorías del Pueblo”
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Sexual exploitation and violence against women
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Serious shortcomings in public order and absence of State
authority
Weakness of the social rehabilitation system
Communities denounce the violation of indigenous people
collective rights
Discrimination against Colombian citizens
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
2.3. Effects of the Colombian
Conflict
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As of June 30, 2004: 26,703 persons had requested
refugee status. It was granted to 7,609 of them
Additional demands for basic social services.
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Difficult social insertion
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Illicit trade (drugs, precursors, arms)
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Other illegal activities
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Insecurity
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Worries about the possible effects of aerial spraying of
illicit crops in Colombia
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
3.1. Prevention
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Participation and consultation channels for
communities
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Prevention and conflict resolution mechanisms
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Sustainability
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Environment impact assessments and on social –
environmental conflicts
Territorial approach: non-discriminatory focus
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
3.2. Inter-institutional
Coordination
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Northern Border Cabinet: coordination and follow-up to
the Special Plan
Clarify the role and the technical profile of UDENOR as a
coordinator of international cooperation
Rising responsibility of sectional governments: training
and decentralization
Promotion of associations and consortiums between local
governments
Special Plan as an articulator of actions
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
4.1. Consultative Group
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Beyond a simple presentation of project for financing
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Should not necessarily focus on UDENOR
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Platform to discuss and reach consensus on policy
priorities and the work areas of the Special Plan
Participation of the central government, sectional
government, civil society and the private sector
Convene the Group once the Government has analyzed
and discussed the policy framework
The UN could collaborate with the Government and the
IADB
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
Recommendations
Thematic
Area
Vulnerabilities and Threats
Suggested Strategic Lines of Action
Institutional
capacity
building and
improving
management
Limited
capacity
for
management
and
weak
coordination by the executive
and disconnection between
national and local levels
partially due to the lack of a
shared plan agreed upon with
the participation of all key
players. Notable weakness of
UDENOR as the cooperation
coordination entity has been
observed.
Ineffective
decentralization and low local
technical capacity.
Designing, financing, and implementing a Special Plan for the Northern Zone of Ecuador, focusing on some basic priorities
for social and economic development to remedy the historical marginalization of its population and preventing or
counteracting possible impacts stemming from the problems of neighboring areas. This Plan should guarantee broad
opportunities for participation.
Poverty incidence levels higher
than the national average.
Fragile
situation
of
food
security and weaknesses in the
management of public food
programs.
Incorporating a special component focusing on the northern zone in the National Poverty Reduction Strategy.
Limited
opportunities
for
employment and productive
activities. Adverse impact of
dollarization
on
border
production and trade.
Giving priority to programs that facilitate job opportunities and access to productive assets for the most vulnerable
population.
Poverty and
food security
Production
and
employment
Installing in the executive branch effective coordination mechanisms, such as a Northern Border Cabinet that would act as
the policymaking body in charge of general coordination and follow-up of the Special Plan. Other State representatives
(national or local) could participate in this mechanism as required.
Redefining the preeminently technical role and profile of UDENOR as the entity in charge of coordinating international
cooperation in the northern zone.
Prioritizing institutional capacity building programs for local governments in the northern zone. Guaranteeing the timely
provision of resources and promoting a well-structured process for transferring jurisdiction to autonomous local
governments.
Giving priority to care for the population at risk of suffering from food insecurity, viewing food as elements empowering local
development, and to refugees and asylum seekers, with emphasis on children under five years of age, pregnant women
and breast-feeding mothers.
Promoting the gradual transfer of management of Central Government food programs to local government.
Promoting the implementation of the Program for Sustainable Productive Borders, which would require awarding and titling
lands so that the zone’s inhabitants could gain access to soft loans for production purposes.
Assessing the technical and political advisability of establishing preferential conditions that give incentives to production in
the zone, such as the tax benefits proposed by the northern provinces and which have been submitted to Congress.
Basic social
services
Level of access to basic social
services (education, health,
water supply and sanitation)
below national average and
poor quality of these services.
Greater privations in the rural
sector and in Esmeraldas and
Sucumbíos.
Absence
of
periodical information.
Giving priority to expanding coverage and improving the quality of health and sanitation services, on the basis of primary
care and health promotion strategies.
Undertaking a consultation process on the capabilities of health services so as to evaluate the options of reaching joint
management agreements.
Promoting the formulation of special education policies for the border zone that include the allocation of teachers, teacher
training, and upgrading school facilities. Supporting school inclusion plans with local government.
Building up statistical information systems in order to have valid instruments to monitor and evaluate the zone periodically.
Giving priority to programs aimed at improving access of the population to clean water sources.
Gender
Women living in especially
vulnerable
situations.
Discrimination, violence, and
Undertaking training aimed at government institutions to raise awareness of, and train, staff regarding the importance of
achieving gender equity by connecting these actions to gender violence prevention and eradication policies.
Thematic
Area
Vulnerabilities and Threats
Suggested Strategic Lines of Action
Intercultural
framework
The indigenous and AfroEcuadorian
population
is
suffering from discrimination
and severe social exclusion.
Lack of respect for collective
rights.
Implementing effective mechanisms to guarantee the collective rights of indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian peoples,
especially in respect to regularizing and respecting their territories and their right to be consulted and to benefit from the
earnings stemming from the development of natural resources.
Human
rights and
the
administrati
on of justice
Clear weakness in institutions
administering justice, human
rights
ombudsman
offices,
social rehabilitation system, and
reporting centers that handle
matters involving women and
children. Lack of training in
human rights. Concern for
fumigations.
Giving priority to the work of reforming and building up the administration of justice in the area.
Training the Armed Forces and the National Police in human rights and international humanitarian law.
Strengthening and granting autonomy from political interests to the function of Human Rights Ombudsman and
establishing institutional capacity building programs.
Giving priority to building up the capacity of the local social rehabilitation system.
Promoting enforcement of the Code for Children and Adolescents as a mechanism to defend the rights of the child.
Building up the capacity of INNFA so that it can collaborate efficiently in handling cases of gender violence and child
abuse.
Strengthening and regularizing the work of the Scientific-Technical Commission in charge of assessing the potential
impacts of fumigations along the border.
Environmen
t
Nonsustainable development of
natural resources. Institutional
void and ineffectiveness in
controlling forests.
Weak
control
and
remediation
mechanisms to deal with the
impacts of oil and gas
production.
Ensuring the operational functioning of forest conservation and management mechanisms in the Forest Strategy.
Promoting the sustainable use of these resources by replicating successful community experiences. Disseminating the
volunteer forest certification system as an alternative for communities interested in the sustainable use of their forests.
Promoting sustainable resource management on the basis of the sustainable conservation and use of water basins.
Building up local capacity for the effective implementation of decentralization of environmental jurisdiction toward local
government and strengthening the environmental management of the protected areas of the northern region.
Building up existing political, technical, and coordination spaces for international cooperation, for example, by establishing
a subforum for the northern region in the Environmental Donors Forum.
Facilitating socio-environmental conflict management in the northern region through effective institutions.
Building up environmental controls and remediation for oil and gas exploration and production.
Thematic
Area
Vulnerabilities and Threats
Suggested Strategic Lines of Action
Controlling
illicit
activities
Vulnerability to trafficking in illicit
goods and criminal activities in
general.
Lack of effective
control
and
system
for
investigating and punishing
crime.
Urgently establishing mechanisms for monitoring and controlling illicit crops and improving the monitoring of the country’s
ports.
Giving priority to enactment of Money Laundering Act.
Improving identification of drugs and chemical precursors used in manufacturing drugs and implementing mechanisms for
their safe handling and storage.
Strengthening the system for administering justice, especially in respect to investigating and punishing crimes.
Internationa
l
cooperation
Humanitarian
aid and
refuge
Lack of coordination. Need to
build up support in view of the
northern zone’s special
vulnerability.
A rising inflow of Colombian
refugees, beyond what was
forecast in the contingency
plans, cannot be ruled out.
Use of basic services is
already overextended because
of this phenomenon. The issue
of food supply has to be
focused
on.
Society’s
perception
of
Colombian
immigrants tends to be
negative as they are blamed
for illicit activities and unfair
competition for limited job
opportunities. The procedures
of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs to grant refugee status
to asylum seekers have
become inefficient.
Convening, by the Government and in coordination with IDB, a meeting of the Brussels Consultative Group to discuss the
Special Plan for the Northern Zone. This invitation will be preceded by a sound commitment by the Government to
implement this Special Plan and by a discussion of the recommendations formulated in this Report. The Consultative
Group should be conceived as a pluralistic group, which in addition to guaranteeing the participation of the public, private,
and social sectors discusses not only the portfolios of projects or requests for funding but also policy options and priorities.
Establishing in the country an international cooperation follow-up and coordination entity for the zone, such as a Northern
Border Donor Forum.
Expanding and promoting the participation of other UN system agencies and multilateral and bilateral cooperation in the
portfolio of Community Support and Integration Projects funded by UNHCR, in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. The identification and implementation of these projects should ensure the participation of national, canton, and
community structures and incorporate the national, refugee, and immigration population.
Expanding coverage and building up basic social services and food programs in the communities that are receiving inflows
of Colombians who are victims of violence.
Ensuring update to the coordination mechanism and contingency plans drawn up by the Ecuadorian Government with
support from the United Nations, national and international NGOs, and the international community
Building up the capacity of government institutions in order to speed up procedures for determining refugee status, with a
more frequent presence of the Refugee Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador in the border communities
receiving refugees, so as to the reduce the growing number of cases that are pending resolution and the waiting time and
thus promote respect the human rights of asylum seekers
Promoting public campaigns providing information about the real situation of refugees, as well as communication
instruments promoting respect for the rights of immigrants and refugees and the advisability of achieving harmonious social
integration so as to address growing discrimination.
Actions in 4 main Areas
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Local governance
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Refuge and humanitarian aid
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Basic Social Services
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Drugs and illicit activities
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
The Government’s first
reactions
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The Government has acknowledged the relevance of the
recommendations of the Un inter-agency report
Many public institutions have been asked to study the
report and offer their comments
The National Secretariat of Planning and Development
has prepared a Special Plan for the Northern Border,
incorporating the main lines of the Un report
A dialogue on the Special Plan has begun
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with the
European Union, has reactivated the donor’s coordination
mechanism at the national level
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
UN first initiatives
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UNODC has signed new and important projects with the
Government
UNHCR has broaden its portfolio of Community Support
and Integration Projects
The UNCT will suggest the Government to define and
implement a joint development and humanitarian
programme in the region (focused on Lago Agrio).
An inter-agency technical group has been established to
strengthen coordination of UN activities in the zone
Assessment Mission to Ecuador’s Northern Border Region
Thank you for your attention
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Northern Border Joint Programming in Ecuador