Core area "Peaceful and inclusive societies" Strengthening good governance and public participation
Supporting transparency and participation
In terms of social and economic policy, Ecuador is facing difficult challenges. The continuing economic crisis, which has become more pronounced in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, is threatening to undo many social achievements of the past. Over time, the faith of the public in Lenín Moreno's course of action and in democratic institutions came to decline significantly. In October 2019, social discontent erupted into violent mass protests and clashes with security forces after the reduction of fuel subsidies had been announced. Indigenous and rural people in particular are increasingly feeling that they are being disadvantaged.
Social cohesion can be strengthened through good governance that also addresses social inequality and people's fear of losing social status. Under its Technical Cooperation programmes, the BMZ therefore works with a broad range of social stakeholders in order to effectively and sustainably improve transparency and participation. For example, GIZ provides advice, on behalf of the BMZ, to Ecuador on how to foster integrity and effectiveness in public administration, prevent corruption, and enhance public participation. There are also activities for greater gender equality through a programme to prevent violence against women.
Addressing displacement and migration
Due to the crisis in Venezuela, more than five million people left that country between 2017 and 2020. According to the latest estimates, more than 440,000 of them are currently in Ecuador, in addition to the more than 70,000 recognised refugees from Colombia (the actual number of applications for asylum is significantly higher). Public institutions and humanitarian organisations are barely able to meet these people's most basic needs. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically exacerbated the economic and social situation. Displacement and migration are therefore a key political issue in Ecuador, and the integration of refugees is one of the major challenges for the country's social policy, especially at the local level.
A regional project under the BMZ's Special Initiative on Displacement, which is being carried out in cooperation with the European Union, is addressing the Venezuelan refugee situation on the northern border with Colombia and along the migration route to Peru. The project is geared towards enabling governmental and civil society stakeholders to organise the hosting of refugees in such a way that social conflict is prevented and jobs are created, and to provide services for the refugees. The focus is on protecting refugees' rights, regularising their status and integrating them, and on fostering peaceful relations between locals and refugees. Special attention is given to young people and women. Protecting people from gender-based violence and from all forms of exploitation is an important element of the project.