With funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Caribbean Central American Action (CCAA) is implementing CompromisoNicaragua, under the Alliance for CAFTAction, to build sustainable partnerships between and within the Nicaraguan business community, civil society, and public sector. CompromisoNicaragua works closely with established business community leaders and organizations (AmCham, Chambers of Commerce & Industry, the Competitiveness Presidential Commission, NicaExport, etc. with particular emphasis on Small and Medium Enterprises-SMEs) to assist in the establishment of a more constructive private sector dialogue while proactively reaching out to civil society and the public sector. These on-going private-public partnerships will help mobilize the country’s opinion leaders in articulating a common vision about the decisions they face and the actions they must take relating to the successful implementation of DR-CAFTA.
CompromisoNicaragua serves as an honest broker and catalyst for an open and candid exchange of information and views to rally broad-based support for the timely adoption of the public policy changes required to attract the investment needed to fully take advantage of the opportunities and impacts that DR-CAFTA brings to people living and working in Nicaragua. CompromisoNicaragua focuses on improving the lives of all workers by developing their skills and preparing them for the economic opportunities that are created through trade liberalization. Particular emphasis is placed in addressing the needs of workers in sectors that will be negatively affected by DR-CAFTA.
CompromisoNicaragua builds on the Alliance for CAFTAction‘s multi-pronged approach of creating positive momentum for a “workable” consensus across these constituencies, which often have competing objectives. The strategy is to create a measurable framework that seeks out committed leaders, with coordinated activities, and that can deliver a consistent grassroots message, built on a solid foundation of achievable “best business practices” recommendations across industries. Our ultimate success will be measured by the dissemination of information on the DR-CAFTA and the speed and number of “best business practices” actually adopted in Nicaragua.
In addition, CompromisoNicaragua supports and strengthens the Alliance activities by developing a coordinated program of local activities, including a “grassroots” DR-CAFTA Workforce Briefings to workers and traditionally excluded groups in Nicaragua which includes labor, environmental, and rural groups, small medium enterprises (SME), unions and others who are generally absent during policy implementation. The components of CompromisoNicaragua are:
Working with respected individuals from the business community and civil society in each country to create a broad-based regional network that, by signing the Declaration of Principles, publicly commit time and resources to driving forward the successful implementation of CAFTA and raising business, legal and social standards across the region.
Result: Over 50 Declaration of Principles have been signed by Nicaraguan businesses and organizations who have publicly committed their time and resources to drive forward the successful implementation of DR-CAFTA.
Working with AMCHAM and other business organizations, the Alliance has worked hard to educate the people of Central America about the realities of DR-CAFTA, provide them with access to unbiased information, show them existing participatory mechanisms. More importantly, trainers in Nicaragua have discussed with both workers and civil society the benefits that successful implementation will have on their job and family, on their industry and community.
Result: Over 32,000 people in Nicaragua have been equipped with educational information about DR-CAFTA.
CCAA has received a 6-month no cost extension to focus on the Best Practices portion of the program. The Alliance has constructed a diverse network of “socios” from the U.S. government, regional multilateral institutions, local business organizations, and senior members of the private sector to jointly pursue a common objective. A broad consensus exists that the energy sector represents both the most critical obstacle to growth and the most significant opportunity for action. The recent groundbreaking of the SIEPAC regional transmission infrastructure project is an indication of the importance of this sector to the region. In order for Central America to overcome its specific disadvantages of insufficient energy generation, inadequate urban coverage and uncompetitive pricing, the region’s per annum investment in infrastructure must increase from its current level of 1.5% to at least 4-5% of GDP. The single most important barrier to attracting this additional investment is the lack of clear and uniform “rules of the game” codified in a regional legal and regulatory framework.
Result: CCAA has developed the “Regional Legal and Regulatory Framework for Power Generation” program to tackle one of the most complex problems facing the region. This collaborative effort will convene senior leaders from the local public and private sectors, multilateral agencies, US government and multinational corporations to define a common policy agenda and establish their commitment to its execution. The outcome of this initiative will be the agreements by the participants to adopt recommended regulatory changes to create a harmonized legal/regulatory framework for energy generation.