First Subregional meeting Mexico-Central-America and the Spanish Caribbean
Latin-american-Caribbean Forum for Best Practices Optimazing
population settlements for a more sustainable future.
The Spanish-American-Caribbean Forum for Best Practices: Optimizing
population settlements for a more sustainable future was founded on
May, 1997 on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the aim of promoting,
research, exploration, monitoring and propagation of best practices
on population settlements and to prepare the international
submission of proposals on best practices 1998 sponsored by United
Nations Fund for Human Settlements (HABITAT).
Under the forum, the first agreement was the founding of 5
subregional nodes or representations for the Latin-America and the
Caribbean regions. CENVI was selected as the subregional node for
Mexico-Central America and the Spanish Caribbean.
The forum for best practices through its Mexico-Central America and
the Caribbean office, launched the first subregional meeting housed
in Mexico City on September 29-30, October 1st, 1997.
2. The first subregional meeting in Mexico
The school of Architecture under the National Autonomous University
of Mexico (UNAM), played an important role on the celebration of
the first meeting of the subregional forum for best practices
making available its facilities and equipment located on the San
Carlos Academy, Historic Center, Mexico City.
2.1 The meeting's central goals
- The publicizing of The Forum in all the concerned countries, to
promote the urban development program, with the aim of fulfilling
the HABITAT II Agenda in all the countries comprised by it.
- To identify and locate institutions interested on research,
planning, design, and workability on best practices oriented to the
furthering development of sustainable population settlements.
- To make available to the public the database on UNCHS -HABITAT
Best Practices as well as the one called Best Practices developed
by The Technical University of Madrid, Spain.
- Define the criteria and proceedings for the exploration,
registration and sistematization on best practices on participating
countries, to promote knowledge on the subject and create a
specific need for its application..
- To publicize the criteria for the submission of proposals on
best practices 1998.
- To promote on specialized schools and investigation centers,
the research and development of specific oriented proposals on Best
Practices related to urban development and population settlements.
- To promote mutual cooperation between the countries and
organizations involved with the aim of exchanging experiences as
well as methods and techniques for the development of best
- Organization of specialized meetings in order to learn from the
assistants real examples of proven Best Practices and to make
discussions based on their characteristics and experiences.
- To outline the subregional nodes & activities as well as work
methods with the aim of promoting an information/communication Net
available to all participants.
- Colectivelly, to devise the subregional forum future, policies,
coordination activites in both: subregional and Latin American
level, and most important, to design strategies for the gathering
of financial funding which will make possible the continuos work
and strengthening of the project.
2.2 Expected results
The long-awaited result is the creation of a Subregional
comunication, exchange and Database net on Best Practices, which
would act jointly with the Forum with the future possibility of
expanding on several institutions' database systems, like The
Technical University of Madrid, Spain, and UNCHS.
2.3 The participants
Following the guidelines to select the meeting participants.
During the last few years, CENVI made contacts with the
participants; on several occassions they shared their experiences
and work plans on diverse common grounds, as RED XIVb,(living and
building program) sponsored by The Spanish-American Program for
Development on Science and Technology (CYTED), Habitat
Internationtal Coalition HIC, Habitat Coalition Mexico, Habitat
National Committee, as well as several universities, and social
The next guideline was under the recomendation of construction
programs, like CERCA PROGRAM under HABITAT-LAC.
2.4 The work plan for the meeting
- Introduction of the participants, their institutions and
- Celebration of a meeting with the specific purpose of informing
all the participants the Forum activities, Subregional Nodes,
Databases available, and the conditions required for the submission
of proposals for best practices 1998.
- Discussion of conceptual and methodology issues and the
collective definition of a Best Practice.
- Under the meeting, to share experiencies and points of view on
representative cases with the aim of identifying conflicting
points, delicate issues, innovative solutions, financial funds,
human resources and manpower, technological and material sources,
as well as workplans and methods.
- Exchange of experiences and points of view on the subject.
- Definition and consensus of selected criteria to promote
subregional level work and activities on the same subject,
organizational and practical methods, by all the participants.
- Draw the related agreements on the specific guidelines for the
Forum Subregional Node responsabilities and activities.
3. Introduction of the participants from institutions and
organizations in Central America and the Caribbean
3.1 Participants from Central American & Caribbean organizations
- Manuel Arguello.
Secretary under the Council on Social Affairs.
President of The, Bamboo Organization.
- Eloisa Ulibarri.
- Felicia Cuevas.
Head of the Housing and Population Settlements Ministery/ HABITAT
agreement.Local Effort Program.
- Rene S. Cardoza.
- Hermes Marroquin.
- Edgard Herrera.
HABITAR, Architecture Department.University of Nicaragua.
- Genaro Flores.
CEDIFA,Technological University of Panama.
- Edwin Quiles.
Architecture Department. University of Puerto Rico.
- Cesar Perez.
Social Investigations Department. Technological Institute of Santo
NOTE- Lily Caballero, participant from Honduras, and Rosendo Mesias
De Cuba, could not be on the participants list due communication
problems, as well as administrative difficulties.
3.2 Participants from International organizations
- Stephen Walsh.
HABITAT for Latin America and The Caribbean.
- Aura Silva.
HABITAT Office in Mexico.
- Eric Vittrup.
- Joel Audefroy.
Habitat International Coalition HIC.
- Victor Delgadillo.
Habitat International Coalition HIC.
3.3 Participants from Spanish institutions
- Miguel Angel Carrillo.
Ministry of Public Works of Spain.
- Jaime Cervera.
Architecture Department. Technical University of Madrid, Spain.
3.4. Participants from Mexican organizations and institutions
- Bertha Tello Peon.
Research Center on Architectonic and Urban Research Coordinator
under the Architecture Department. UNAM.
- Juan Manuel Diaz.
Social Service Department Coordinator of the 5 de Mayo Architecture
Department under Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca.
- Gladys Mascareno.
Architecture Department. Autonomous University of Sinaloa.
- Antonio Perez Campos.
Member of the National Preparatory Committee under HABITAT II.
Collaborator in the Planning Board of the Goverment of The State
- Georgina Ramirez Sandoval.
CASA Y CIUDAD Project Director. Member of the Architecture
Department of the Metropolitan Autonomous University. Atzcapotzalco
- Rene Coulomb.
Projects Director of Housing and Urban Studies Center. CENVI.
Member of the Sociologist Department of the Metropolitan Autonomous
University. Atzcapotzalco campus.
- Alejandro Suarez Pareyon.
Head of the Housing and Urban Studies Center. CENVI.
Postgraduate studies in the Architecture Department. UNAM.
- Jesus Velasquez.
Member of the Housing and Urban Studies Center. CENVI.
Posgraduate studies in the Architecture Department. UNAM.
- Victor Castaneda.
Member of the Housing and Urban Studies Center. CENVI
- Javier Bernal.
Member of the Housing and Urban Studies Center. CENVI.
- Jose Manuel Lopez.
Member of the Housing and Urban Studies Center. CENVI.
- Josef Schulte-Sasse.
Operational Center of Housing and Population COPEVI Director.
- Gustavo Romero.
Center for Solidary Development of Housing FOSOVI Head.
- Alfonso Luna.
Memeber of the Center for Solidary Development of Housing. FOSOVI.
- Cristina Almazan.
Coordinator of the Housing Tenants, Inhabitants and Renters Union
of the state of Veracruz. UCISV-VER. Pobladores. A.C.
4. Introduction to the Forum for Best Practices. Subregional
Node organization activities Mexico-Central America and the
Spanish Caribbean meeting
Stephen Walsh, HABITAT- LAC representative, was in charge of
introducing the Forum for the Best Practices, as well as its
subregional organization issues. He outlined the forum main goal
and objectives as follows.
"To advance the HABITAT II agenda accomplishment by means of the
involvement of the society on development policies for more
sustainable population settlements.....
....based on the following goals:
- To promote contacts between individuals and organizations
involved in the best practices theme.
- Reach results on problems and its possibles solutions ,
advancing contacts and promoting discussions between the
information users and the responsibles of the Best Practices.
- To establish a vast net of institutions with the aim of
ensuring a sound exchange of information, experiences and
techniques on sustainable urban development.
- To improve the existing information resources and make them
available to the public....."
As regards to the subregional meetings, the main subjects are the
funding which will enable the future existence of the Forum, and
the characterization of the main issues in every country involved.
Miguel Angel Carrillo outlined the role played by the Development
Ministry of Spain, supporting the Best Practices Program before and
after HABITAT II, especially the numerous activities initiated by
Alejandro Suarez Pareyon presented the First Subregional Meeting
Mexico-Central America and the Caribbean, as well as its agenda and
5. Presentation of the Database on Best Practices
Stephen Walsh, introduced the Best Practices Database developed by
HABITAT which the user can access by CD or Internet.
The Database on Best Practices developed by the Architecture
Department under the Technical University of Madrid, Spain was
presented by Jaime Cervera, in charge of the the database design
and operation, available to the user via Internet.
In both presentations, and once concluded an answering questions
session, the meeting participants discussed issues like the
database access and availabilty, and operational costs. Due to
time factors, the discussion was extended, taking time from the
other agenda themes.
6. Introduction to the guide for Best Practices
Stephen Walsh introduced the guide for best practices (for more
information look at the related section on this report). The
introduction was followed by a question session from the
participants, which made contributions and suggestions for the
better comprehension of the guide.
7. Defining a Best Practice
Previous discussion and definition of the Best Practices, the
participants were informed of the criteria advanced by the
international community experts, under which a Best Practice is
defined as the experience that includes the following three main
- Association (or participation)- as it was suggested by a
participant in the meeting, this means that the experience has to
present at least two of the following entities or participants:
- national and or local governments,
- postgraduate studies and research institutes,
- professional organizations, Non Governmental Organizations
- communication media,
- private sector,
- civic leaders,
- international organizations and institutions,
- volunteer organizations.
- Impressive effect.- Aimed to advance substantial improvements
on inhabitants' living conditions.
- Sustained effect.-This means that the improvements on living
conditions are capable of being translated into the following
- legislation, city regulations,
- social and sectorial policies,
- balance between social, economic, and enviroment
- institutional forums,
- decision taking bodies,
- effiective, honest and responsible management systems.
The next factors are the three additional concepts advanced by The
- Leadership.- Related to proposals conducing to innovative
activities, promoting changes and advancing of clean, responsible
non excluding procedures related to decision taking activities.
- Preparing the community.- Related to making the population
- the betterment of their living conditions,
- access to public assistance and resources,
- active involvement on decision taking processes,
- establishment of community organizations,
- advance a more conscious community on social and political
- Social participation.- Formed by proposals related to social
and cultural diversification, promotion of social equity.
During the First Forum on Best Practices, convened on Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil, the participants advanced the following criteria
and proposals with the aim of selecting a suitable practice.
To define and select a suitable practice it has to be taken in
On the other hand, during the Mexico meeting, the following
proposals were advanced:
- To observe sustainable physical changes and improvements.
- Take in account the financial stability of the project.
- To reinforce proved experiencies which include the combination
- To give preeminence to the processes, better than results.
- Learn methods for the recognition of conflicting points and
- The results of the Special Mentions on the symposium of Best
Practices of Dubai, showed that the most suitable practices still
have some loose ends, which should be tackled.
- It is of upmost importance to have an impact on public opinion
and governments, since this is the only way for the Community Based
Organizations (CBO) and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to
influence on public law making; this is the reason behind the
significance of promoting and propagating the best practices
- It is necessary to find a way to solve the existing
contradiction between the guidelines established by InterAmerican
Development Bank (IDB), The World Bank and several financial
institutions which impose their conditions on the related
goverments, since in many ways they oppose to the contents
proposed by the Guide for Best Practices.
- All the previous remarks show the relevance of the sound use of
all the information and communication resources available which
will enable a clear comprehension of the issue.
8. Presentation of actual cases of Best Practices uses
8.1 Designing a Better Practice. UCISV-VER and CENVI cases
The Housing Tenants, Inhabitans and Renters' Union of the state of
Veracruz (UCISV-VER) Pobladores A.C., under the consultant services
of CENVI, during the last eight years compromised on the
development of a program on participating urban planning in Xalapa
City, the capital of the state Veracruz. The work done in that case
is a clear example of the joint work of an NGO and a Social Base
Organization, this was an extensive project that took in its hands
from the macro aspects of urban planning in the case of a middle
size city to the micro aspects of the housing issue in a very
specific area of the city, known as "barrio".
UCISV-VER was established in Xalapa in 1984 with the aim of
promoting ways of dealing in a healthy way with the housing
problem, especially for a big sector of society-in the lowest
income inhabitants. Since its start, the UCISV-VER has made several
proposals, most of them turned into real projects benefitting more
than 300 families in several cities in Veracruz state. It has also
launched public assistance and health programs, as well as culture,
economic, and recreational projects with the only aim of finding
new ways of sustainable development balancing enviromental, social,
urban, and economic issues.
The organization aim could be resumed in the following phrase: to
make "popular, urban, productive, ecological settlements".
On the other hand, CENVI is a NGO founded in Mexico City in 1979,
specialized in popular settlements issues, as well as urban
development, it is also compromised to the planning, promoting and
designing alternative ways to solve human settlement problems.
In 1990, both organizations started joint activities launching
programs on participative urban planning with the goal of
identifying and solving specific problems, as well as proposing
solutions for the betterment of human settlings specifically the
ones located in the suburbs of the city of Xalapa.
The joint activities of the organizations started since the low
income communities would not get enough response from the
authorities. The plan made by UCISV-VER and CENVI showed that an
organized society is able to propose solutions that can benefit the
whole society and city. The plan results were first made avalaible
to the public on 1992, from there the communities proposed the plan
to the municipal and state authorities. It would be fair to say
that now, 1997, the results had not been an entire success, still
the major goal was attained, the authorities granted access to the
land reservoir of the city to build their housing project.
At the present UCISV-VER and CENVI are working on a similar housing
program for the city of Xalapa.
8.2 Costa Rica's experience on Best Practices
An introduction: changes in Costa Rica's social policies
Manuel Arguello has started this in his speech summarizing Costa
Rica's social, geographic, economic and political issues. Later he
explained the way social policies have been improved to tackle
housing problems. He particularly explained the case of the
National Financial System for Housing, since 1980 to 1996. This
made a clearer understanding of the cases exposed later on about
FUNBAMBU and FUPROVI.
FUNBAMBU esperience on Best Practices
Bamboo Organization FUNBAMBU was one of the one hundred Best
Practices choosen by HABITAT II. This is a project jointly launched
by Costa Rica's Government, International Cooperation Ministery of
Netherlands, and United Nations Program for the Development.
This case was presented in a video which dealt in detail with all
the planning, research, planting and production of the bamboo
plant, as well as its industrialization and manufacturing processes
and uses in house building, furniture, appliances, etc.
FUPROVI experience on Best Practices
Organization for the Promotion of Housing or FUPROVI is a Costa
Rican NGO oriented to the promotion and supporing of housing
through community-organizations joint activities.
It's program called "Urban Popular Housing Program" was also
selected as one of one hundred Best Practices by HABITAT II.The
main issue in this case was to find a suitable methodology to
define a best practice, which guidelines were discussed by all the
participants and are the following:
- Balanced with all the sectors involved.
- Influential to public policies.
- Furthering concerned institutions.
- Promoting society and all the involved participation.
- Promoting training and qualification.
- Redesignable and replicated.
8.3 CERCA, Resource centre for the sustainable development of human
settlements in Central America
Eric Vittrup, Regional Coordinator of the Program, explained the
backgrounds of CERCA talking about the HABITAT I Forum celebrated
in Vancouver, B.C, on 1976, as part of the initiatives launched by
UNO to develop human settlements.
CERCA's main goal is to develop and propose participative
strategies to fight proverty and make human settlements more
sustainable in all the countries comprised in Central America.
CERCA acts as a mediator between the following groups:
- CCVAH Central American Council for Human Settlements and
Housing (ministeries of Housing and urban development of Central
- FEMICA Federation of Municipalities of Central America .
- FECOC Federation of Communal Organizations of Central America.
CERCA is devoted to activities like technical assistance, training,
research, promotion and exchange of experiencies with the aim of
make a more participating citizenship and attain a more sustainable
local development. To fullfill these goals CERCA has been impulsing
the following sectors:
- ALIANZA where the politics of the region converge, establishing
and operative alliance between national governments, municipalities
and communal organizations.
- SISCOM. Is the communication and information system available
to all CERCA associates, it operates via Internet.
- PROCOMUN is devoted to the qualification and training with the
aim of obtaining authorizitations from local authorites for
- INVESTIGA research and action on local development management.
- COGESTION Provides technical assistance for the design,
operation and put in practice of participative strategiy for human
9. Shaaring experiences by the meeting's participants
Institute of social and finantial development for Central America
Thirty years ago a group of volunteers and professionals which had
a common interest on Guatemala's social problems, realize the
importance of expressing the needs of the public society in an
organized and sound way, the next step was the establishment of
several non governmental organizations, as IDESAC.
As a result of the national compromises comprised on the peace
accords, the Guatemalan government made a commitment to grant, as
of 1997, 1.5 per cent of the national budget to the development of
housing, particularly popular housing, this under the supervision
of several institutions and organizations. Now the succes of the
accords it depends on a sound collaboration and involvement between
public institutions, universities, and non governmental
IDESAC has a true interest on taking part of such process, in
accordance it organized meeting and simposiums jointly with other
institutions with the aim of advancing a housing program in
accordance with the needs of the under-developed sectors of the
Multidisciplinary advisory activities on local government levels.
Antonio Perez Campos
On a personal basis, that is leaving aside institutional
representation, Antonio Perez Campos presented an interdisciplinary
advisory experience, a case of joint work from a state university
and the community of Nuevo Urecho district, state of Michoacan,
located on what it is called "the arid region" of Mexico.
This community inhabitants live under extremely poor conditions,
lacking of most everything, especially water for human consumption,
and farm production. There has been many efforts on improving the
Local autorithies in Nuevo Urecho, asked advise from the National
Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM, experts on diagnosis and
proposals for aliviating the poverty reigning in the area.
The multidisciplinary group's innovative proposals included the
submission of an extensive Agenda 21 for the district with the main
goal of restoring the natural balance between the inhabitants and
the environment, and at the same time promote economic and social
Land Legalization Program.
Edgard Herrera presented the experience of HABITAR, a Nicaraguan
non governmental organization in charge of the Land Legalization
Program applied on the west section of Managua. The program was
awarded the honor of being one of the One Hundred Best Practices
Putting into effect the 1990 Regulation, The Land Legalization
Program embarked on the land reform of 360 community settlements
all over the country, 300 of them located in Managua, with an
average population of 300 each.
HABITAR took development of the west section of Managua,
considered the most populated area recorded in the city. HABITAR
advanced The Land Legalization Program within the framework of
"Women, Human Settlings and Environment Program", an extensive
development project for the betterment of the living conditions of
the community. The project includes legalization of the ownership
of the land, urban planning, community health and social
assistance, improvement of basic human infrastructure.
Under The Land Legalization Program the Community Action Movement
played a basic role, taking part on the negotiation process.
HABITAR provides consultory expertise to the communities grouped
under the Community Action Movement, offering advise on design and
communtary planning, legal asisstance, and support. HABITAR also
acts as a bridge between the community and the goverment offices in
charge of the land legalization.
Research Centre of the architecture department CEDIFA under The
University of Panama.
CEDIFA was founded fifteen years ago under the Architecture
Department of the University of Panama. Since its begginings it
embarked on the creation of a database and promoting research on
the fields of urban and regional planning, housing, transport,
environment, sound technologies, etc. It also provides consulting
services to the University, government agencies and private sector.
CEDIFA is engaged in research projects jointly with several
international institutions, like The International Center for
Research Development of Canada, and Red XIVb "Living and Building"
CEDIFA is in charge of developing specialized research on the
housing issue in urban, poor and underdeveloped communities and the
center's students work on thesis over related subjects, like
sustainable urban development, underdeveloped human settlings,
rural development, and effective technologies, on this last one
there has been several innovative proposals for the use of
alternative construction materials and technologies.
In the other hand, CEDIFA also holds seminars, meetings,
conferences and discussions both on national and international
levels, on the related fields. Also, the center took part on the
Preparatory National Committee for HABITAT II.
Architecture Department under The Autonomous University of Sinaloa.
The involvement of the Architecture Department of the Autonomous
University of Sinaloa on the research of urban and settlement
related issues started on a teaching coincidence. The interest
formed part of the alumnni projects on "real preocupying population
issues" one of the most important problems in the region.
Sinaloa is a high contrast state located in the north east part of
the country, as it shows extreme richnness it also suffers from
Due to circumstancial reasons the Architecture Department working
jointly with the National Institute of Antropology and History
INAH, "the government body in charge of the nation's cultural
heritage, inititated studies on registration and conservation of
the Historic Centers of the Colonial cities of the northern and
north east regions of Mexico. This juncture allowed the scholars
the opportunity of throughly study the modernization effects on
thearchitectonic and urban transformations of the cities.
Based on those experiences the university was able to sign
consulting agreements with local governments for the advancing of
urban development plans and programs. At the present time the
university signed an agreement with the Culiacan, the state capital
authorities, on a Development Plan for Popular Human Settlements in
the east part of the city.
The postgraduate studies department of the Architecture Department
of the University established an exchange program with CENVI and
the Architecture Department under UNAM.
Social Service Department Coordinator of the 5 de Mayo Architecture
Department under Benito Juarez Autonomous University of Oaxaca.
Juan Manuel Diaz
Juan Manuel Diaz is the coordinator of the Social Service
Department of The Architecture Department under the Autonomous
University of Oaxaca. Social service is an requisite asked to the
students in order to get their degree and consists on activities
related to the betterment of the community in different aspects.
Oaxaca state is one of the three most poor states of Mexico, it is
crossed by a huge mountain chain which makes more difficult the use
of farm land, it is also a state vast on ethnic groups and due to
geoghraphic characteristics there is more than two thousand five
hundred communities, as well as 500 municipalities of difficult
Juan Manuel Diaz presented the case of a research project and
technical support to San Miguel del Progreso community, Tlaxiaco
Municipality, located in the highest part of the mountain chain
known as Sierra Alta de la Mixteca. It is not necessary to mention
that this is one of the poorest communities.
He proposed a betterment housing program using an innovative
construction system based on polyesterene foam sacks filled with
dirt called "Adobolsa". This was not the first use of such a
system, but still it showed good results.
Architecture School under University of Puerto Rico.
Edwin Quiles experience was based on the creation and use of
participative design methods with the aim of the community
involvement in the design of their houses and common architectural
The questions he formulated were related to the following issues:
- To find ways to make more participative communties in the
design of their housing spaces and areas.
- To find ways of training the communtiy with the aim of making
it able to express their specific needs in necessary technical
terms describing their houses and areas.
- To find ways to make people aware of the need of betterment and
preservation of their living areas.
Citing some examples Edwin Quiles showed simple ways to create a
specific language that enables the community to express their
spaces for living needs.
Social Research Team under Technical Institute of Santo Domingo.
Cesar Perez talked about the latest political and economic
developments in Dominican Republic, particularly in Santo Domingo,
Since a communal or housing movement does not exist in Dominican
Republic, and also because of the lack of a municipal and sector
policy, the only example of conducting a best practice is El
Caliche case, a program on urban and communitary betterment
launched by GTZ from Germany and the Dominican Republic government.
The creation of a National Council on Urban Issues was a major step
for the advancement of new urban policies in a very limited
El Caliche's experience was of upmost importance because for the
first time the government gave credit to the settlement. As from
then more urban betterment projects emerged, such as the depressed
zone known as "Pantoja".
At the present EQUIS (Social Research Team) conducts a research on
urban social movements, analyzing the project of an specific area
located in the suburbs of the historic center, an area with growing
population that comes from the center of the city to populate the
Some achievements have been made on the municipality policies and
the attention is focusing on attending the center needs in order to
prevent the migration to the poor suburbs.
Rene Cardoza explained the case of FUNDASAl, a NGO founded 30 years
ago. FUNDASAL is the responsible for the financing and creation of
30,000 houses, helping 165,000 inhabitants, or 3 % of El Salvador
He also presented the case of Las Palmas urban development
Las Palmas is a poor settlement located between the most expensive
area of San Salvador and a military base. For the last few years
FUNDASAL has been working on the improvement of the settlement.
Habitat Mexico Coalition (House and City, CENVI, COPEVI, FOSOVI)
The collective presentation of six cases of joint efforts of
communities and organizations for housing betterment.
This organizations presented the reunion the document "The study of
six cases of joint work on housing projects with the assistance of
NGO", this effort forms part of an extensive research program
launched by Postgraduate Studies Department under the Architecture
The study shows the experiences of the four NGO comprised by the
Habitat Mexico Coalition. This are the projects that set an example
for the housing movement in Mexico supported by Social
Organizations and NGO.
Rene Coulomb, from CENVI talked exhaustively about the best
practices sense, analized the attitudes present by the diverse
national governments which in many ocassions gave their support to
bad quality projects responding to particular interests, he
concluded his speech proposing the following ideas:
- A best practice is trying making things in a better way, and to
achieve good results and processes which ultimately will become
- Then the main goal should be to succeed in the adoption of the
best practices by the national governments.
- An easy and logic way to identify a best practice will be:
10. Debate, definition and general consensus on Best
The reunion's participants submitted ideas and opinions on many
aspects that should be taken in account to construct a best
practice, as well about the aspects that should be considered in
the selection of experiences that should take part of the best
Some opinions related to the convenience of designing criteria and
procedure methods in order to identify and select the best
- To promote the existing information on best practices, and on
the Best Practice 1998 event, as well as the Best Practice Guide
and the databases in order to reach all the people interesed in
- To promote the creation of National Comittees for Best
Practices on every social level in order to get the most
representaive participation possible.
- To promote experts' meetings, simposiums and debates with the
assistance of all the social sector's representatives.
- To organize exhibits open to the public on better practices.
- To include the best practices subject in the agenda of
universities and research centers.
- To design a suitable methodology for the subregion in order to
identify and clasify the best practices.
- To design databases for the subregion on better practices.
- To define if a best practice is only a real project, that means
a project built in reality and subject to an evaluation at any
moment since it exists, or could also be a work plan or a program.
This issue could not be answered during the reunion, since it
requires more specific time for debate and discussion.
11. Outlining the criteria for the advance of the subregional
work on Best Practices, ways of organization and effective
Using the Secretariado AD Interim under the Forum (IBAM- HABITAT-
LAC- Public Works Ministery) as a model, the participants presented
their proposals on the following:
- The definition of the Forum Subregional Node.
- Possible ways of organizing a secretariat or coordination
- The promotion of the Best Practice Event.
- The gathering of financial resources in order to exist.
The meeting's assistants discussed all the points and finally
reached the following conclusions.
12. Agreements on the operation of the Subregional Node
The subregion is formed by three different areas, so it is
necessary to define the coordination node on the activities of the
forum including all and each one of this areas.
The node's secretariat will be formed by a representation of each
one of the three areas: Mexico, Central america and the Caribbean.
The secretariat will not have a physical representation in none of
the subregion areas, this means that it will be based on a virtual
base, which could be reached via Internet and e-mail.
- Mexico: CENVI (which has also the Coalicion Habitat Mexico
- Central America: CERCA.
- Caribbean: Cesar Perez (NGO Coalition).
The three representation offices most be capable of:
- Promote the goals and objectives of the Best Practices Forum in
their respectives areas of the subregion.
- Promote the assistance and participation of individuals and
groups involved in the identification and promotion of best
- Establishing agreements with their respective governments with
the goal of founding the National Committe for the Promotion and
Selection of The Best Practice for the 1998 Event.
Since a financial support does not exist, the subregional node and
its secretariat will be working with the financial resources of
each one of the three representations.