Latin American civil servants in the social services area participate in a regional workshop on social protection

The training workshop was inaugurated in the La Moneda presidential palace by the country's Ministry of Social Development, Marcos Barraza, and the Head of the Political Section of the EU Delegation to Chile, Ruth Bajada

Nineteen people from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay attended the workshop, which represented the final stage of a training process entitled Training programme for social protection for cohesive societies which was promoted throughout 2015 by the European Union's EUROsociAL Programme.

The idea for this training process arose from the observation that, while government institutions in Latin America have acquired greater managerial capacities, better instruments and sophisticated methodologies in recent years, they still need a better understanding of the complex social reality and to adopt a more strategic vision when designing and implementing public policies for advancing in social cohesion. Along these lines, it is essential to stress training of senior officials, managers, experts and professionals in public administrations so that, with new capacities and skills, they can take the best decisions, thereby contributing to a new orientation in social policy.

In the first stage, the initiative consisted of developing certifications, courses, and national masters-level programmes on social protection financed by the countries themselves. Over a hundred people have participated in these. In addition to incentivising this initiative, EUROsociAL contributed European and Latin American expertise in the national training processes.

The people who stood out in each country, as well as the managers of the respective organising institutions, met during the workshop in Santiago to exchange ideas, reflect and delve deeper into the issues addressed. European and Latin American experts from ECLAC and the World Bank also participated, and the attendees had the opportunity to engage in dialogue and debate with them.

In this context, the interest in the European experience was also notable: in the face of immense challenges in Latin America—in addition to a context of a slowdown in economic growth, following five boom years that enabled great social progress, they were still not able to radically alter income distribution and other inequalities—the European social model and its stamp of social cohesion continues to be an essential perspective. 

The coordinator of the workshop and the regional initiative was Clarisa Hardy, an expert on social policies, former Minister of Social Development of Chile, and a member of the EUROsociAL steering committee. The workshop also enjoyed the support of Chile's Ministry of Social Development, which arranged a visit to the services of the municipality of Peñalolén, and also provided information on two of the pillars of the Social Protection System being constructed in Chile, in particular the early childhood programme Chile Crece Contigo (Chile, Growing with You) and the National Support and Care System for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

At the end of the workshop, the attendees and managers of the national institutions that organised it (National Autonomous University of Mexico, University of Chile, Brazil's National School of Public Administration, etc.) expressed their firm commitment to promoting the second edition of the initiative.