Presentation

When, in January 2007, we started preparing the 2007-2010 National Development Plan, the "Plan for the Citizens' Revolution", we did not start from scratch. At this time, our challenge is to consolidate it and this is why the 2009-2013 National Plan for Good Living establishes new horizons aimed to materialize and radicalize the project for a change of the Citizens' Revolution for and, finally, for the achievement of Good Living for all Ecuadorians.

The 2007-2010 National Development Plan, the "Plan for the Citizen's Revolution", was elaborated for the first presidential term of Rafael Correa. It was the result of many of the proposals for change outlined in the Government Plan proposed by Movimiento País, in the run-up to the elections of 2006 and 2007. With the ratification of a new Constitution (2008), came new elections, a new presidential term for the Citizen's Revolution (2009-2013). In accordance to the new political circumstances and the new legal and constitutional framework, a new National Development Plan was deemed necessary. It was called the 2009-2013 "National Plan for Good Living", and sought to give strength to the Five Revolutions of the Citizens' Revolution, promote the gradual construction of a Plurinational and Intercultural State, and support the new social contract contemplated in the new 2008 Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador.

The Five Revolutions of the Citizen's Revolution are the following:

  • A Constitutional and Democratic Revolution  to lay the foundations of an inclusive and reflective political community, by trusting in the country's capacity to define another historic course to achieve a fair, diverse, plurinational, intercultural, and sovereign society.
  • An Ethical Revolution  to guarantee transparency, accountability and checks and balances as the pillars on which to build social relations that enable mutual acknowledgement between individuals and collective trust; essential for long-term change.
  • An Economic, Productive, and Agrarian Revolution  to overcome an inherited model of exclusion, and direct State resources towards education, health, the road network, housing, scientific and technological research, to promote employment and production, in a way which includes both rural and urban areas.
  • A Social revolution, hand in hand with inclusive economic policies, for the State to guarantee the essential rights of all individuals, communities, peoples, and nationalities.
  • A Revolution in Defense of Latin American Dignity, Sovereignty and Integration,  to uphold a clear, dignified and sovereign position in Ecuador's relations with international actors and multilateral organizations, in order to advance towards genuine integration within Latin America and the Caribbean; and to insert Ecuador strategically the country in the world community.

The 2009-2013 National Plan for Good Living raises significant technical and political challenges, as well as methodological and instrumental innovations. However, the Plan's greatest significance lies in the conceptual rupture with the so-called Washington Consensus[1] and the most orthodox approaches to the concept of development.

Good Living is the result of a search, over several decades, for new ways of living on behalf of Latin American social actors. It is the result of their demands in the face of the neoliberal economic model and paradigm. In Ecuador, these demands were eventually incorporated into the Constitution and have since become the guiding principles of the new social contract.

Good Living is based on a vision that surpasses the narrow confines of quantitative economicism and challenges the notion of material, mechanic and endless accumulation of goods. Instead the new paradigm promotes an inclusive, sustainable, and democratic economic strategy; one that incorporates actors historically excluded from the capitalist, market-driven logic of accumulation and redistribution.

Similarly, Good Living revises and reinterprets the relation between nature and human beings, and proposes a shift from the current prevailing anthropocen­trism to what we may call bio-pluralism (Guimaraes in Acosta, 2008). Good Living posits that humans should use natural resources in a way that allows their natural generation (or regeneration.)

Finally, Good Living also relies on social equality and justice, and gives importance to dialogue with – and acknowledgement and value of – diverse peoples, cultures, forms of knowledge and ways of life.

Good Living, therefore, is a complex, non-linear concept which is in permanent re-signification. In sum, Good Living could be defined as "covering needs, achieving a dignified quality of life and death; loving and being loved; the healthy flourishing of all individuals in peace and harmony with nature; and achieving an indefinite reproduction perpetuation of human cultures. Good Living implies having free time for contemplation and personal emancipation; enabling the expansion and flourishing of people's liberties, opportunities, capabilities and potentialities so as to simultaneously allow society, specific territories, different collective identities, and each individual, understood both in universal and relative terms, to achieve their objectives in life (without causing any kind of material or subjective dominance over any other individual).Our concept of Good Living compels us to re-build the public sphere in order to recognize, understand and value ourselves as diverse but equal individuals, and in order to advance reciprocity and mutual recognition, enable self-advancement, and build a shared social future" (Ramírez, 2008: 387.)

This conceptual rupture we are proposing is based on ethical principles that pave the road to radical change and a fair, free and democratic society. In this regard, it relies on five essential understandings of justice: social and economic justice; democratic and participative justice; inter-generational and inter-personal justice; transnational justice; and unbiased justice. Its main proposals could be resumed as follows:

  • To build a society that recognizes unity within diversity.
  • To recognize humans as gregarious beings who wish to live in society.
  • To promote social equality, integration, and cohesion.
  • To progressively guarantee universal rights and potentiate human capabilities.
  • To build social and economic relations in harmony with nature.
  • To build a fraternal and co-operative coexistence.
  • To consolidate liberating forms of work, allowing for leisure.
  • To re-build the public sphere.
  • To deepen the construction of a representative, participative, and deliberative democracy.
  • To consolidate a democratic, pluralist and secular State.

The conceptual rupture with the notions of "development" and "State" relies on a long-term strategy that seeks to build an "eco-touristic biopolis" in the context of a post-petroleum post-petroleum economic model aimed at generating and redistributing wealth for Good Living. For the first phase of its implementation (2009-2013), this model articulates twelve strategies for change:

  1. The democratization of the means of production, the redistribution of wealth, and the diversification of the forms of property and organization.
  2. The transformation of the pattern of economic specialization through the selective substitution of imports.
  3. The increase of real productivity and the diversification of exports, exporters and markets.
  4. Ecuador's strategic and sovereign insertion in the world, and Latin American integration.
  5. The transformation of higher education and the transfer of knowledge in science, technology and innovation.
  6. To boost connectivity and telecommunications to build the "information society".
  7. To change the energy matrix.
  8. The investment for Good Living within sustainable macroeconomics.
  9. The inclusion, social security and protection, and guarantee of rights within the context of the Constitutional Rule of Law and Justice.
  10. The sustainability of the natural heritage, conservation, knowledge and the promotion of community tourism.
  11. Territorial development and planning, deconcentration and decentralization.
  12. Citizen power and social leadership.

The Plan therefore proposes a logic based on the 12 main national objectives previously set forth in the 2007-2010 National Development Plan, and currently updated in view of the Government's recent performance, new proposals for sectorial and territorial public policies, and the need to take into account the new constitutional framework. The updated objectives of the National Plan for Good Living are:

Objective 1. To foster social and territorial equality, cohesion, and integration within diversity.

Objective 2. To maximize the citizens' capabilities and potentialities.

Objective 3. To improve the population's quality of life.

Objective 4. To guarantee the rights of nature and promote a healthy and sustainable environment.

Objective 5. To guarantee sovereignty and peace; and to promote Ecuador's strategic insertion in the world, and Latin American integration.

Objective 6. To guarantee stable, fair, and dignified work and employment in its diverse forms.

Objective 7. To build and strengthen public spaces for intercultural social interactions.

Objective 8. To affirm and strengthen national identity, diverse identities, plurinationalism, and interculturalism.

Objective 9. To guarantee rights and justice.

Objective 10. To guarantee access to public and political participation.

Objective 11. To establish a social, fraternal and sustainable economic system.

Objective 12. To build a democratic State for Good Living.

This Plan offers a cohesive vision of society based on a rights-and-opportunities approach. Its axes are environmental sustainability; and gender, generational, intercultural and territorial equality. A great deal of coordination and articulation is required in order to harmonize the demands of diverse sectors with the national objectives.

To achieve this articulation, this Plan developed sectorial agendas which were conceived as instruments of sectorial coordination and consensus in order to define policies, strategies, programs and projects to be executed by the different institutions of the Executive Branch. These sectorial agendas and policies are consistent with constitutional provisions and with the objectives of Good Living.

Sectorial consensus, by itself, however, is insufficient. The different visions of the inhabitants of the "territories" must be included in order to strengthen the integration and improve the living conditions of communities. This is a two-way process in which local planning nurtures national planning, and vice versa, in order to build a new type of polycentric State. In 2007, therefore, Ecuador promoted a National Development Plan in which the territorial perspective was taken into account through the incorporation of provincial plans. For the 2009-2013 period, this objective was achieved through the elaboration a National Territorial Strategy, which is itself one of this Plan's main innovations.

Establishing differentiated agendas for the seven planning zones enabled us to identify the populations' needs in relation to the territories' qualities, potentialities and limitations, as well as to develop a proposal for a territorial model articulated to a national proposal.

This completely new exercise in national planning also involved high levels of participation. The 2009-2013 Plan was achieved through a sustained process of consultation that began with the 2007-2010 National Development Plan. It was constructed by a collective process involving a great diversity of actors. In this regard, it is particularly important to highlight the organization of several Citizen Consultation Workshops, in which more than 4,000 representatives of Ecuadorian civil society participated, and both national objectives and territorial subject matters were discussed. As a contribution to the discussion, opinion polls were conducted among more than 5,000 individuals, on the meaning of Good Living amongst other questions.

As in the case of the 2007-2010 National Development Plan, the 2009-2013 National Plan for Good Living is divided into three essential parts: 1) a conceptual part; 2) a part defining public policies; and 3) an instrumental part.

Part one presents the guidelines and principles of Good Living. It then incorporates a critical diagnosis of the country's historic economic, social and political processes and puts forward the transformations required to achieve a new mode of accumulation and redistribution essential for Good Living.

Part two develops the 12 National Objectives for Good Living, which have been updated following the new constitutional provisions and the results of the assessment of the 2007-2010 National Development Plan, new sectorial and territorial agendas and policies, and citizens' contributions. This section is concerned with objectives and policies. A major concern is to put an end to bureaucratic and institutional inertia which are major obstacles to the National Government's compliance with its own transformation proposal.

Part three includes the National Territorial Strategy that identifies and establishes the territories in which the main national strategic interventions and projects are to be carried out. A first version of agendas for each planning zone is included in a complementary attachment.

In its final part, the Plan develops resource allocation criteria though the formulation of a Pluriannual Investment Plan. It should be noted that the planning and prioritization of public investment was performed alongside an analysis of the programs and projects articulated to medium-term strategies and the policies defined for each objective highlighted above.

The instrumental part of this Plan is a flexible and dynamic digital tool that gathers the results of participation in the citizen consultation tables and includes additional information in order to allow a process of permanent update as policies are developed. This tool also includes an option for a geographic visualization of indicators. This provides public policymakers with instruments that enable them to develop coverage projections and gauge the impacts their programs may have in given areas, bearing in mind environmental sustainability and gender, generational, intercul­tural and territorial equality.

Finally, the National Plan for Good Living is also a first step to build the National Decentralized System for Participative Planning that aims to decentralize and deconcentrate political power and decision-making and build the Plurinational and Intercultural State. In this sense, and in accordance with constitutional provisions, this Plan leaves the door open for all of Ecuador's peoples and nationalities to build their Life Plans, as well as to develop the special Plan for Amazonian territorial constituencies. Similarly, the Plan recommends the Autonomous Decentralized Governments seek to articulate themselves to this Plan, and update their planning instruments and territorial intervention priorities. 

The "2009-2013 National Plan for Good Living – Building a Plurinational and Intercultural State" was developed with the technical and methodological guidance of the Secretariat for National Planning and Development (SENPLADES), in coordination with the technical teams of a number of different ministries and secretariats, and with the help and contributions of a great many Ecuadorian citizens. The Plan's approval by the National Planning Council is a milestone in enforcement of the new Constitution and in the consolidation of participative democracy.

René Ramirez Gallegos

NATIONAL SECRETARY

FOR PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT



[1]
The Washington Consensus was an ideological way out to the capitalist crisis that resulted from a conference held in 1989 by the Institute for International Economics, in Washington.