In Paraguay, citizen participation is slowly recovering following the fall in 1989 of Alfredo Stroessner's dictatorial regime of 35 years. The new Constitution of 1992 opened the doors to decentralization and citizen organization, which are manifested mainly through governmental initiatives, such as the creation of departmental and regional health councils, demonstrating the autonomous capacity of local governments. Given that there are high levels of inequality that dominate the social reality of the country, in addition to the widespread concentration of public processes and resources in the capital, the active role of these councils remains important. Indigenous communities, which are continuously displaced, have a legal basis for the development of their own instruments of participation and advocacy, which are already well under way thanks to the Constitution.
With the amendment of the Municipal Law in 2010, new forms of citizen participation are promoted through commissions and neighborhood coordinators that involve neighbors in the local administration more directly, either through the elaboration of participatory budgets or thanks to the monitoring of the neighborhood commissions.
With the expansion of information technologies, initiatives dedicated to monitoring are developed. The objectives are diverse, from the monitoring of voting, to the use of public funds in educational infrastructures, and the financing of political parties, among others. The cases have in common the purpose of monitoring the effectiveness of public services and goods, which can be explained given the high levels of corruption in the public administration of Paraguay. Civil society organizations have a leading role not only in the dissemination of initiatives or in the training of society, but also in the development of projects in conjunction with international organizations for the implementation of new forms of monitoring.
The Access to Public Information Act of 2014 has also been a factor in mobilizing democratic innovations. Through the development of apps and portals on the internet, accountability mechanisms were created within reach of any citizen. In addition, the Open Government policy is based on citizen participation and government plans are developed jointly with representatives of civil society and the state. At the same time, civil society organizations continue to develop mechanisms to promote citizen participation by using free data and technology. Therefore, the main challenge lies in the scope of such mechanisms and in increasing the incidence of citizen participation in public policies.
Anti-Corruption Complaints Portal
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Dengue Open Data
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Local Health Councils
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National Cybersecurity Plan
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Participatory Workshops for the Elaboration of the Strategic Plan of the Judiciary, 2011-2015
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