Despite progress through the implementation of proactive social policies, a lot more needs to be done in a country with traditionally limited social spending and high inequality rates.
Insufficient employment possibilities keep pushing young Salvadorans to (illegally) migrate to the US. The lack of competitiveness of the economy is hampering diversification of the productive sectors. The negative impact of the poor human security situation can be felt in all layers of society. Violence and crime take away individual development opportunities for young Salvadorans but also affect the economic performance of businesses.
The Government of El Salvador, which took over in June 2019, is currently working on a comprehensive National Development Plan. The Plan Cuscatlán, which is the government platform presented during the electoral campaign, sets out the government’s priorities in terms of economic development, security, and human development.
EU and MS participate in common initiatives with the government, on human rights issues including gender and feminicide, social policy, public finance transparency, and violence prevention.
Subsequently, three priority areas have been identified by the EU:
Given the link between productivity and digitalization, we strongly believe that El Salvador must continue to improve its connectivity. It has a limited regulatory, institutional, and public policy framework and has one of the lowest mobile broadband penetrations in Latin America. This prevents households from benefiting from the digital transformation and limits the incentives for companies to move their operations online. One of the strategic objectives of the Government is to provide connectivity to public buildings such as schools, health centres, and police offices, in urban and rural areas where poverty rates are higher.
The 2015 National Plan on Climate Change of El Salvador contains actions such as the strengthening of policies and institutions, the mitigation of climate change, and the fulfilment of the country´s international commitments. It includes a program to promote the use of renewable energies and energy efficiency, as well as urban development actions focused on urban transport. Fiscal policy reforms, such as the introduction of a pro-poor carbon tax should be envisaged to address inequalities. This means adopting energy storage, demand-side management, efficiency measures, digitalization, and other innovative technologies, as well as promoting renewables beyond the power sector.
Governance and Human Development
El Salvador’s new political configuration is testing key democratic institutions and checks and balances that emerged from the 1992 peace agreements. We intend to maintain an open and positive engagement with the authorities, and stand ready to support, politically and financially, all efforts to strengthen democratic governance. In parallel, the EU will strengthen its support to civil society to reinforce accountability and its participation and influence in the design and implementation of national policies and regulations.
The Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for El Salvador for 2021-2024 amounts to €59 million.
Priority area 1: ‘Digital Transformation’plans to ensurethat all companies and public institutions have access to broadband and affordable Internet connections. Young women and men, including forcibly displaced people and migrants, should be able to benefit equally from e-services, access to entrepreneurship opportunities, and skilled jobs offered by the digital economy.
Priority area 2: ‘Green Transition’ supports decarbonized energy mix while promoting renewable energy sources and reducing GHG emissions in line with Paris Agreement NDCs while ensuring energy security by reducing import dependency and sustainable and inclusive public transport systems for all.
Priority area 3: ‘Governance and Human Development’ advocates for oversight institutions, including the electoral body, that perform their missions with transparency, accountability, and independence. All relevant stakeholders should be included, represented, and participate actively in the democratic processes of the country while universal social protection coverage, including universal health coverage, should be able to be accessed by all members of the society.
Measures in favour of civil society engagement are a key feature of good governance. The EU focus is on improving Civil Society Organisations (CSO) enabling environment, meaningful participation, and capacity development. Freedom of association and access to information remains a key issue for better accountability and CSO’s involvement in the public policy field. The Delegation will continue to support civil society in the following areas:
- Promoting the independence of civil society actors and human rights defenders.
- Encouraging formal mechanisms to allow CSOs participation in policymaking.
- Increasing capacity development for civil society in policy dialogue with the government, research, monitoring, spotlight reporting, and advocacy.