Latin American Forum of Former Presidents at the City of Knowledge

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Center for Development and Democracy (CGDD) and the Ford Foundation, in collaboration with the City of Knowledge Foundation, conducted the Regional Forum "Partnerships to Strengthen Democratic Governance, Public Integrity and Leadership in Latin America", at the City of Knowledge Convention Center.

The Forum was attended by former presidents Nicolás Ardito Barletta of Panama, Carlos Mesa of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala and Ernesto Samper of Colombia, all permanent members of the Latin American Forum of Former Presidents.

The objective of the Forum was to promote an open dialogue with the former presidents on issues of democratic governance, public integrity, leadership training for public management and prospective scenarios in Latin America.

Professor Jorge Arosemena, Executive President of the City of Knowledge Foundation, was responsible for the opening remarks as he mentioned his satisfaction for the Forum being held at the City of Knowledge, since it was a space created to discuss the major challenges of the 21st century. Professor Arosemena also showed his gratitude to former president Nicolás Ardito Barletta for his great contribution regarding the City of Knowledge project and thus helping create this national and international community for knowledge management to promote sustainable development.

Meanwhile Freddy Justiniano, Director of the Regional Centre for Latin America and the Caribbean of the UNDP, said that the forum aimed to listen to four specialists in the region. He also stressed that they are very aware of the democratic deficits that exist in Latin America, such as inequities and inequalities in the region, corruption, poverty and poor levels of distribution of wealth, and that is why the Forum aimed to strengthen knowledge in order to address these problems.

The Forum was divided into two sessions of dialogue that discussed "The role of public integrity in democratic governance" and "The prospect of democratic institutions and public management in Latin America". These sessions featured reflections from the experience of the former presidents on issues of public integrity, corruption risks, the current situation of Latin America and its future, insecurity, inequality, governance and leadership, among others. Both sessions had a space for questions from the audience.

The Forum served as an input to offer scheduled training for the 2014-15 period, and to enrich the debate on issues of high relevance and interest to national organizations, citizens and related institutions. One of the main objectives is to continue working on the definition of inputs to be incorporated into the training efforts of government officials in Latin America.

Thanks to the collaborative effort between UNDP, CGDD and Ford Foundation, who have teamed up to promote the strengthening and training of public officials in Latin America, this forum was held with great success. During 2013, nearly 200 government officials from 15 countries representing 50 public entities benefited from the virtual regional course on Prevention and Corruption Risk Management for the Public Sector in Latin America.

Ana María Romero-Lozada, Executive Director of the Global Center for Development and Democracy, made the closing remarks of the Forum and provided her particular reflection on the event that took place at the City of Knowledge.