Inclusive territorial economic development in the Muskitia region


The Muskitia indigenous region requires strategic changes that favour inclusive economic development and reduce violent conflict over land use and maritime resources. For this reason the program strengthens territorial governance, improves the business climate and increases access to services. This includes supporting 8 of the 12 territorial councils in stimulating productive sector value chains such as cocoa, fish, and basic grains that generate employment and income for 10,000 families and consolidate indigenous businesses.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Honduras
Employment & economic development
Governance
Industrial policy
Decentralisation
01.06.2021 - 31.12.2028
CHF 15'000'000
Background

The Muskitia region, located in the department of Gracias a Dios, to the east of the Honduran border with Nicaragua, is home to 96,000 persons belonging to four indigenous peoples: Miskitos, Pech, Tawakas, and Garifunas. Economic activity is based on agriculture (cocoa, basic grains) and artisanal fishing, focused on primary production with little added value. The region is also characterized by a low level of inclusion of the population in economic activities and in weak business cultures and infrastructure.

State presence in the Miskitia is weak and the institutions that are present do not have the resources needed to provide services for the population. In addition, their role is not clear in relation to the indigenous institutions that are based on International Labour Organization Convention 169. The lack of shared governance creates barriers for socioeconomic development, as shown by the fact that 99% of households have one or more unsatisfied basic need (UBN) and 79.3% of households live in extreme poverty with more that one UBN indicator.

Because of its situation of exclusion, the indigenous population fights for recognition of collective rights and it has achieved property titles in the name of 12 territorial councils (TC). These TCs are organizationally weak and they should strengthen their roles in relation with governmental institutionality. They also face the challenge of administering and governing the territory within the Honduran legal framework. This includes implementing an economic system that enables growth and sustainable development of the population.

COSUDE has acquired experience in areas such as territorial governance, public-private alliances, and value chains through projects such as PROCACAHO or SURCOMPITE. In addition, participation in the donor and territorial governance round tables in Muskitia legitimates COSUDE for work on inclusive economic development of the Muskitia.

In light of this background and the context in the region, the objective of the program is: To contribute to the exercise of collective rights by the indigenous peoples of the Muskitia and their development of a sustainable economy in collaboration with non-autochthonous groups. In order to achieve this objective, the following two results are foreseen: i) Eight territorial councils of the Muskitia stimulate socioeconomic inclusion of the population based on prioritized value chains and respect for the system of governance. ii) The stakeholders in the prioritized value chains assume proactive roles that increase productivity and competitiveness, respecting the system of governance and indigenous priorities in natural resource use and management.

The program is coherent with the Country Vision (2010-2038) and the Government Plan 2014–2018 with their focus on competitiveness of the territories and their policy objectives in relation of sustainable economic development. Domain 1 of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Central America 2013-2017 (SCS CA) prioritizes inclusive territorial economic development that generates employment and income and attenuates conflicts in a fragile context.

The estimated total budget is CHF 22.1 million for a period of 13 years, including the opening credit phase (CHF 100,000) to undertake specific studies and respond to the open questions.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
  • Other international or foreign NGO North


Estimated operational start of intervention

(Main Credit Phase 1):  01.01.2017

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   15'000'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   0
Project phases

Phase 99 01.06.2021 - 31.12.2028   (Active)

Phase 1 01.03.2016 - 30.05.2021   (Current phase)