Preparation of an Urban Development Strategy for the Region La Paz in the Department of La Paz and San Vicente



Approval Date
Actual Completion Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
El Salvador
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
Participation: it is necessary that the participation mechanisms are formally and publicly known. The absence of formal mechanisms does not allow the success of participative processes. These mechanisms must be known to ensure that the majority has the opportunity to participate. The formal mechanisms also ensure that these processes are not severely altered due to the changes in the local authorities. Partnerships and Cooperation: On the cooperation between ALN and other institutions, there is evidence of the weakness of the legal framework favoring an adequate articulation among the national and local policies. The advances achieved are sustained on the good will of the parties, but they are unstable, due to the same reason. Implementing Public Policies and Scaling-up Local Experiences: The transfer of local experiences at the level of public policies has made evident the absence of formal and clear mechanisms for the formulation of public policies. In fact, the Salvadoran state designs and implements, so far, only a few public policies, replacing them by short term programs or action plans. It is necessary to complement these initiatives with others that advance the design of public policies and facilitate the “scaling-up” of local experiences. The achievement of visible impacts on land use was hampered due to the absence of a national spatial planning policy and modern legislation. In the same manner, the absence of a property tax does not allow the municipalities and the state as a whole recover part of the value added in private properties generated by public investments. These aspects of a normative framework are still pending, extended indefinitely at the legislative assembly. Financial Sustainability: Financial sustainability of the processes started in the La Paz Region, rests in the capacity of the municipalities to more systematically use the instruments they have by law, to obtain their own sources of income, as well as creating new income sources within a highly restricted tax framework. The demands of local (municipal) public resources are increasing quickly. Nevertheless, the country debates strongly on how to increase the fiscal capacity of the state, so far without results. It is a lesson in this process that the development of new capacities in municipal management demands additional resources, and the same must come from new sources. Otherwise, other areas of community services will be weakened.


This proposal sets out to promote urban economic development in a region, addressing institutional, technical, and financial constraints to improve the network of cities and institutions.
1) Create a strategic vision for urban centere and for the region; 2) Link national and local agencies in order to address factors that limit the competitiveness of firms and economic recovery;  3) Improve statistics related to regional management, local economic development, business climate, employment, financial autonomy;  4) Improve consistency between national, regional and local investment plans;  5) Institutionalise measures to address insecurity and violence issues;  6) Improve cooperation between municipalities, communities, government agencies, universities, research centres, the private sector and civil society on local economic issues.
1) Draw up a strategic development vision for the region;  2) Elaborate a Regional Development Plan with emphasis on spatial planning;  3) Elaborate plans and budgets for various areas such as: productive clusters, research in technology in competitive sectors, human resources on a regional level, and basic infrastructure;  4) Identify private investments;  5) Adapt the National Security Plan to the region.
Expected Impacts and Results
Improve the economic performance of the region through the elaboration of a number of action plans in different areas.