Summary of the Conclusions of Working Groups

Local, Regional and National Government

The conference heard a report on the experience of the Guamote Municipal Council in fostering new forms of grassroots participation in local government. In this respect, the participants put forward the following conclusions and proposals:

1. Direct involvement by the community, its leaders and structures in decision-making and in the planning and execution of comprehensive political and economic development at the local level is essential.

2. Community and local government leaders must work with the Parliamentary caucus to produce legislative and other reform inspired and directed by the grassroots, as follows:

a. Legislative priorities include a new Municipal Law; a new Direct Hiring Law to help in the fight against corruption and encourage self-government; and a new Popular Participation Law to help define democratic participation in local government.

All legislation should place special emphasis on the need to enforce native rights in all areas, including civil registries, markets and schools, where Pachakutik Nuevo País and native organizations will play a decisive role.

b. Native groups should work to improve organizational efforts in areas of least development, such as the coastal region of Ecuador. Migrant workers should be given the opportunity to organize.

c. Following the recent local, regional and national elections, we note with some concern that creation of the Pachakutik Nuevo País movement is causing some fractures which may place the entire process of native organization in jeopardy. In this respect, the resignation from the movement of two members of parliament for Amazonia can only be regarded as a betrayal of the people who entrusted them with their political aspirations. This sort of attitude cannot go unchallenged, as it may set a disgraceful precedent which might encourage local or regional leaders to follow suit.