What is Sustainable Local Development?

Sustainable development is a process of progressive change in the quality of life of human beings, which places them as the center and primary subject of development, through economic growth with social equity, the transformation of production methods and production patterns. consumption that are based on the ecological balance and the vital support of the region.

This process implies respect for regional, national and local ethnic and cultural diversity, as well as the strengthening and full citizen participation in harmonious coexistence with nature, without compromising and guaranteeing the quality of life of future generations.

Sustainable local development focuses on the search for the improvement of quality of life human at the local level. It is built from the real role of people (families, children, producers, local organizations and institutions).

For sustainable local development to be a reality, the community must set its own objectives and goals, have confidence in the strength of the community itself, value and affirm culture along with its own traditional knowledge and autonomous forms of coexistence.

The individualistic culture of commercial competition, low self-esteem, political and economic dependence on central institutions and external agents, lack of confidence in community management capacity, are among others the obstacles to achieving sustainable local development.

Self-management and associativity

The real protagonism of people and communities in different spaces and areas is essential to promote development processes with amplified effects on the satisfaction of needs. In this sense, self-dependence is a form of equitable interdependence that encourages participation in decisions, social creativity, political autonomy, fair distribution of wealth and tolerance for the diversity of identities.

The strategy for sustainable local development includes individual and community appropriation of common problems, the creation of participation and consultation organizations (agreement between different actors assuming shared responsibilities).

The joint management of resources and their rational use are also part of the strategy, as well as the promotion of the exercise of local power (depending on the case in the municipalities, regiments and townships).

The resources for local development are those of the soil, vegetation, infrastructure, industries, institutions, local organizations, economic activities of the place and the professional staff that the community has or has access to. Other important resources are experiences in community management, as well as the ability to develop a culture of local power.

The agents that intervene in the process are the existing public institutions in the community, the mayors, the regional committees, the teachers, the natural community leaders, the schoolchildren. In addition, the unions, unions, religious organizations, and NGOs existing in the area, whose orientation is related to sustainable community development.

Development and agroecology

Can not be human scale development local in the midst of depredated agricultural, social and economic systems or fundamental natural resources in processes of extinction. The community must be very clear about what is positive and what is negative for the natural environment. Therefore, technologies that adjust to the characteristics of each ecosystem must be promoted, in such a way as to guarantee the sustainability of natural resources for the future.

A community that does not defend its resources or protect the natural environment does not have the capacity to lead and improve its economy and its life in the short, medium and long term. In this sense, agroecological practices are a substantial element in maintaining the environmental living conditions of the community, since it allows the sustainability of water sources, soils, flora and fauna; essential for the survival of the basins and community territories.

Transformation of gender relations

The integration of women in community participation allows them to know and share with men the responsibilities and experiences of the community in the search for alternatives to solve their problems, reaffirming their self-esteem.

Community development encourages the participation of women, because they are currently responsible for family reproduction: food, custom of cooperation, solidarity and responsibility for the home. The management of shared community development allows men to recognize the equality and capacity of women in a new relationship not conditioned by sex or gender culture. The emancipation of women, the change in the sexist identity of men as well as peace and cooperation in the home, allows the development of community and solidarity values

By Galo Muñoz Arce