Archive for SSP related Analysis

Indigenous population in Latin America: opportunities and challenges

UNDP Peru Indigenous

In a recent publication of the Global American Journal, the inclusion of indigenous population in Latin American countries was highlighted as a major challenge in terms of political representation, economic prosperity, development, healthcare or access to justice.

More than 40 percent of the indigenous population in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru live in poverty, as stated in the Global American Report. The cases of Guatemala and Mexico were highlighted as examples that show on the one hand best practices and areas of opportunity for inclusion of indigenous communities but on the other hand failure to act on those opportunities.

Mexico has the largest absolute indigenous population in the region with 17 million people compared to over 45 million people in the whole region. This high proportion of indigenous people is raised as a challenge on how they are represented at the federal, state or even local political level.  The Global American research stated that Mexico has the lowest proportion of indigenous representatives in the region. Mexico’s parliament only has 14 indigenous representatives elected which means a striking representation gap between the percentage of indigenous people in the country and the percentage of indigenous members of the legislature: 81% followed by a gap of 73% in Peru and 69% in Guatemala.

Mexico does not demand ethnic-based quotas within political parties’ lists but since 2001, parties have been taking indigenous populations into consideration when drawing electoral districts. However, their representation is still one of the lowest in the region.

On the exercise of prior consultation on decisions affecting indigenous peoples, the Mexican Constitution recognizes the right to prior consultation.  Article 2 explicitly states that the government should consult with the indigenous peoples when implementing development plans at the national, state, and municipal level. So far, there is no single overarching law that defines how prior consultation should be implemented in the country.

In this sense, a few weeks ago the legal protection granted by a judge to the community of Milpa Alta, a Southern District of Mexico City, has been considered as a critical decision by local leaders. Following a historical controversy with the government in the capital, the right of the indigenous communities to be consulted on any decision or public policy that affects them or their territories legitimately recognized as original peoples has been recognized by a judge. As stated by the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, this legal text includes the guarantees on indigenous rights established in international and national legislation such as ILO Convention 169.

As part of the conclusions of the Working Group on Sustainability and Shared Societies convened by the Club de Madrid through its Shared Societies Project,  the special relationship that indigenous peoples have with their ancestral and customary territories is a critical reason to ensure their participation in decisions that affect their lands. The ability of indigenous peoples not only to maintain their own cultural context but also to fulfil their responsibilities to future generations, demonstrates the significance of their own local government systems, as is stated by this recent judicial decision on the community of Milpa Alta in Mexico City.

Cultural Diversity and Leadership Program in Australia


Australia’s population can be described as a truly multicultural society. With 28 percent of the population born overseas, it is fundamentally important for many to promote a new inclusive way of leadership that would represent the cultural diversity of the local population.
An initiative to promote Cultural Diversity and Inclusive Leadership was organized by Tim Soutphommasane, Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner, together with Australian Human Rights Commission, the University of Sydney Business School, Westpac, PwC Australia and Telstra.

The working group created a blueprint, Leading for Change, for organizations to take advantage of the cultural diversity of their workers and promote inclusive leadership that would meet current demands of the multicultural society.
The CEO of Westpac Group, Brian Hartzer, points out that “This Blueprint will help Australian businesses to see what best practice looks like when it comes to cultural inclusion. We think that the Blueprint will have a powerful impact in the community…”.
Leading to Change is the important initiative that opened up a conversation about the need to include people representing diverse cultures into leadership positions. The research conducted by the working group suggests that inclusive leadership produces better performance, productivity and decision-making. Leading for Change provides guidance for organizations to improve organizational performance related to cultural diversity and inclusive leadership.
Following the blueprint’s release in 2016, the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity was formed, which consists of senior leaders who advocate for cultural diversity in leadership. The Council indicates the under-representation of cultural diversity in leadership positions among Australian companies. Therefore, the Leadership Council on Cultural Diversity regularly holds events and activities to encourage inclusive leadership.
One of the Shared Societies commitments is to promote respect, understanding and appreciation of diversity, and the Cultural Diversity and Leadership program in Australia can be used as a success story of embracing cultural diversity and a step forward towards creating a Shared Society.


New OECD Report on Migration and Public Policy


The OECD recently released a report entitled Interrelations between Public Policies, Migration and Development. Launched at the UN headquarters in New York City, the report is based on field research and empirical analysis conducted in ten low and middle-income countries. More than 20,000 households, representing over 100,000 individuals, were involved in the study. Countries studied include Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Costa Rica, the Ivory Coast, Haiti, Morocco, and the Philippines, among others. The extensive document details the dual relationship between migratory flows and public policy by looking at factors like education, investment, agriculture, and labour market trends.

The OECD findings highlight the influence of specific public policies on migratory ¨outcomes¨ including remittances, cultural integration, and the decision whether to migrate or return. The report identifies numerous policy areas where governments are failing to implement coherent strategies that align with their migration goals. Poor vocational training, low rates of financial inclusion and literacy, and the denial of regular status to immigrants are some examples of this failure.

The report points out that in many developing countries, immigrant heads with regular migration status are more likely to own a business. One nation that it refers to specifically is the Dominican Republic, a place where Club de Madrid has focused much attention as part of its Shared Society Project joint initiative together the Instituto Nacional de Migración (INM-RD), a Government body within the Dominican Home Affairs Minister. The CdM and the INM-RD have championed a humanitarian approach during a recent High Level Mission led by former President of Spain and Club de Madrid Member, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, championing a comprehensive and humane approach to the issue of migrants, emphasizing the need to recognize their inalienable rights and to not treat them as second-class citizens.

The Shared Societies Project took part in a session at the OECD on October 2016 to review the draft of the document and highlight the positive impact of an approach to policy formulation which involves both the migrant and host communities. It has also been in touch with OECD Migration Unit planning a potential collaboration in the Dominican Republic as both organizations agree on promoting an inclusive migration approach in the country.

Vike-Freiberga explains Club de Madrid’s ‘Shared Vision of a Shared Society’ at the Hufftington Post

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The future of the United Kingdom is uncertain, as the challenges of a post-Brexit reality need to be faced and editorials compete in their predictions of the course the United Kingdom will take under its new prime minister.

As such, it was an encouraging sign for many, especially within the Club de Madrid, when PM Theresa May seemed to adopt the concept of Shared Society, long championed by the Club de Madrid, in a speech drawing up her plans for the future of the islands. Club de Madrid’s President, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, penned an essay in the Huffington Post in response, which doubled down on the values that Shared Societies embodies: “when everyone is involved and encouraged, they become an asset to society and a contributor to the common good, rather than being a drain or a liability”.  It also emphasized that in order to be effective, governments all across the ideological spectrum need to support it, not imposing it but rather enabling it.  The Prime Minister’s speech has sparked a welcome debate about the concept in the UK media.  For example Frances Ryan in the Guardian gave her own views of the policy changes that would be required to create a Shared Society here.

Please to find Vaira Vike-Freiberga’s article in the following link.

Although the United Kingdom is sailing in uncharted waters, we at the Club of Madrid feel confident that there could be no better guiding principles for a nation seeking to reinvent itself than those of our Shared Societies Project and we are open to opportunities to share the insights that the Members have gained over the years.


How to use the SSP Guide?

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Did you know we have a guide of good practices to achieve a Shared Society? You can find it here, and below you can learn how to use it!


What is the SSP Good Practice Guide?
The Shared Societies Good Practices Guide is an easy way to explore the goals and activities of the Shared Societies Project. Our approaches for building dialogue, diversity, and social cohesion have been divided into four parts on the color wheel. These are: arrangements, safeguards, service provisions, and intercommunity development. You can use the wheel to follow a specific approach and use the map below to see how various projects across the world are using these methods successfully, being an inspiration for our project.

Commitment 1:
Commitment one of the Shared Societies Project is to locate responsibility in order to ensure the promotion of social cohesion within government structures.

The Approaches:
The first commitment of locating responsibility of social cohesion within government structures has three different recommended approaches. The first is to create a government department with this goal in mind that has its own minister within the government. The second is to create a unit within the executive branch that will directly report to the head of state. The third and final recommendation is to create an independent body (such as a community relations council) to act between the government and the people to encourage civil society involvement that will strengthen community relations.

The second commitment of the SSP Good Practices Guide is to create opportunities for minorities to be consulted and the Club de Madrid recommends four different approaches in order to achieve this goal. The first is to establish consultative councils on which all identity groups are represented and are given the right to be consulted on the impact of government policies. The second is to encourage identity groups to create representative bodies with which they can meet with the government and other identity group in order to explore and understand issues and concerns that affect them. The third is to create a system of community meetings that allow community members to express their views and air their grievances. The fourth and final recommendation is to mandate that public bodies include representatives of smaller identity groups in their boards and other decision making bodies.

Examples of good practices:
There are several organizations from around the world who are following the SSP Guide’s recommendations for good practice such as the Sierra Productiva which focuses on increasing national productivity in Peru by working with local farmers and new forms of technology, the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council which focuses on bringing peaceful coexistence to Muslim and Christian populations, and the CEO Philadelphia Access Network which seeks to increase small business ownership amongst minority women within the City of Philadelphia.

Diversity enters into the Spanish Parliament (Finally!)


The elections held in Spain on December 20th of 2015 brought about many changes in the Spanish political sphere. One of these changes came in the hands of Rita Bosaho, who became Spain’s first female black Member of Parliament . As The Guardian explains, the “election saw record number of women elected into lower parliament” while “immigrants still make up only 1,2% of country’s representatives,” and composeapproximately 10%of the population.[1]

Bosaho has received much attention from the media following the elections, which has caught her off guard, as she tells EFE News Agency. “Why is it so striking that a black woman could end up in parliament? What does that say about us all being integrated?”

Born with Spanish nationality in Equatorial Guinea, Spain’s former African colony, and after three decades living in Spain, she doesn’t consider herself an immigrant, but is happy to have become such a symbol. As she explains, immigrants remain somewhat invisible in Spanish institutions. “It’s a structural problem that needs to be put in context, looking at the social panorama of Spain.”

According to an ongoing study called “Pathways to Power” led by several European universities,[2] which compares immigrant political representation among seven European democracies, says “in Britain or the Netherlands, between 8% and 11% of national deputies are of immigrant origin, in France and Germany these rates fluctuate between 3% and 4%, and in Italy it is 1.5%.”It’s not only about immigrants making it into parliament, “but about reaching all the institutions”, as the French and political scientist and sociologist Sami Nair says.

Rita Bosaho’s achievement seems like a positive step forward in bringing about true social integration through political representation, as well bringing attention to the percentage of political representation of immigrants in Spain.

While speaking to El País, Vladimir Paspuel of the Ecuadorian association Rumiñahuispoke about the immigrant representatives in government saying “it’s providing a real struggle, but little by little we’re starting to achieve political participation.”

The Club of Madrid has developed the Shared Societies Project, committed to achieve an integrated society. In this framework, it has developed 10 Commitments as key policy areas for leaders and governments.

With the first black woman ever elected in Spain, comes the opportunity to “encourage the creation of a shared vision of society” both locally and nationally, as Commitment VIII promotes. Including bringing new ideas into the political arena to build a society in which the needs and rights of all citizens are met and protected.

As Bosaho jokingly said, it’s about time someone like her reached the Spanish Congress.


[1]According to the InstitutoNacional de Estadística (INE),

[2]Study led by the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands), University of Bamberg (Germany), University of Leicester (United Kingdom), and SciencesPo (France).


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