Peru and Panama share knowledge and experiences to contribute to SDG 1 No Poverty and SDG 10 Reduced inequalities.
One of the main conclusions of UNDP’s Regional Human Development Report 2021 is that the Latin-America and Caribbean region is caught in a trap of high inequality and low growth as a result of the complex interaction of three main factors: the concentration of power, violence and inefficient social protection systems (UNDP, 2021, p.3). As inequality, the different gaps that affect the region’s development have been deepened by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In line with the above, in the Social Panorama of Latin-America 2020, ECLAC projected a 7.7% fall of Latin-America’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that year, which, in turn, would represent a per capita GDP reduction of 8.5% in the region. According to the document, this means “a decline to levels similar to those recorded in the mid-2000s and implies the increase of poverty and inequality” (ECLAC, 2021, p. 49).
In the face of this complex scenario, South-South Cooperation and Triangular Cooperation have much to contribute. On the one hand, as effective mechanisms for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, on the other hand, as frameworks for mutual learning and for the exchange of knowledge and experiences countries have accumulated over the years based on their commitment to achieve development and increase the quality of life of their citizens. The Report of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in Ibero-America 2020 confirms this by showing how Bilateral SSC in 2019 was aligned with SDG 10 through 24 projects. Additionally, and due to its cross-cutting nature, this figure increases to 61 if SDG 10 is considered the second SDG with which these initiatives were aligned.
The bilateral project between Peru and Panama, Exchange of experiences for the implementation of a social intervention project based on the Haku Wiñay/Noa Jayatai FONCODES-MIDIS project, is an example of this cooperation, which is focused on reducing horizontal and vertical inequalities (income gaps, and cultural and geographic gaps, respectively). Through this initiative, Panama strengthened its capacities in the Other services and social policies sector, based on the Peruvian public policy Haku Wiñay/Noa Jayatai “Let’s grow” (Vamos a crecer).
This initiative was approved in the framework of the First Bilateral Cooperation Program between the two countries (2018-2021) and consisted of a series of exchanges, to transfer knowledge, skills and competencies, in which officials of the Ministries of Social Development of the two countries participated, as well as their communities and other stakeholders. The project had a component of productive inclusion for families, among others. In this sense, families which had already been assisted by cash transfer programs promoted by Panama’s Ministry of Social Development (MIDES by its Spanish acronym) were prioritized and provided with an alternative to achieve economic inclusion and to generate autonomous income. To this end, and as a complement to conditional cash transfers, these families were also trained, technically assisted and received asset transfers as incentives.
In turn, the Peruvian policy Haku Wiñay/Noa Jayatai “Let’s grow” (Vamos a crecer), the model on which this knowledge transfer was based, has been implemented for almost 10 years in the framework of the National Strategy for Social Development and Inclusion, “Include to Grow” (Incluir para Crecer), promoted to generate sustainable economic inclusion through the development of productive capacities and rural entrepreneurship in beneficiary families, in order to overcome their lack of access to local markets (Social Development Cooperation Fund, Foncodes by its Spanish acronym, 2021). According to FONCODES, in the 2012-2018 period, this policy:
Focused on 232,245 households in the rural areas of the highlands and the jungle of Peru, which were under poverty and extreme poverty, on 23 departments, 115 provinces and 259 districts (…) directly generating approximately 419,110 self-employment activities, contributing to food security and improving participating households’ income (Foncodes, 2021).
It is worth stressing that, in the framework of the implementation of this bilateral project, these two countries addressed their adaptation to a new socio-economic context within the global health emergency posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also important to highlight the strong territorial, community-based and participatory spirit of the project, which takes advantage of Yachachiqs’ traditional knowledge (in Quechua language: peasant leaders who know and teach) and uses the farmer-to-farmer training model, mainly based on horizontal and mutually beneficial formulas, in line with the principles that guide and inspire Ibero-America’s South-South and Triangular Cooperation.
Photograph: Social Development Cooperation Fund (Foncodes, by its Spanish acronym).