The Private Sector as a Promoter of Citizen Control in Colombia

Maria Fernanda Campo

In a globalized environment, one of the main challenges for governments focused on sustainable development is the promotion of social participation and consolidation of the civil society as a strategic player in reinforcing democracy. This chapter refers to the role played by social participation in processes of decision making, implementation, and monitoring of policies and programs. It also highlights the progress made in Colombia, especially in Bogota, regarding the development of a new way of thinking in relation to demanding accountability.

First, this chapter will describe the level of social participation in Colombia, in reference to both the progress made and the basic challenges that still exist, as well as the role played by private entities in the promotion of citizen control, defined as an improvement in quality of life and level of competitiveness. Later, the programs through which the corporate sector is contributing to develop a sense of social participation, citizen control, and accountability within Colombia’s decentralization framework will be considered.

ECLAC (2000) proposed a new focus for integrated development regarding social, economic, and environmental matters, which presents the concept of citizenship linked to participation. Beyond its role as a demander of rights, citizenship must be complemented by the development of policies to make “people’s commitment to the society’s destiny, individual participation in community activities, citizen control over public powers and individual participation in the presentation of public ideas and opinions” effective (ECLAC, 2000: 306).

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