- At the event, four mayors elected for the 2024-2028 period had the opportunity to learn about their municipality's situation in terms of food security and nutrition.
August 21, 2023. CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center), through the National Information Platform on Nutrition (PiNN) project implemented in Guatemala, convened a dialogue with elected mayors from the eight municipalities and representatives of institutions comprising the Departmental Commission on Food Security and Nutrition (CODESAN) in the department of Totonicapan.
According to Eduardo Say, coordinator of the PiNN project, the purpose of this activity was to present the evidence generated by the project on topics related to nutrition, food security, and governance, in order to position these subjects on the municipal public agenda of the eight municipalities in Totonicapan for the 2024-2028 management period. Additionally, Say explained that engaging with elected officials and their technical teams is strategic for continued support in data and information management for decision-making at the municipal and departmental levels.
According to information provided by Martha María Pacay, public policy specialist for the PiNN project, the event was attended by elected mayors for the 2024-2028 administration, along with their teams, including: Francisco Eduardo Chuc Pastor of San Andrés Xecul; Albino Cuyuch Chaj of Momostenango; Juan Carlos Carrillo Castro of Santa María Chiquimula; Juan Chivalan Tiu of Santa Lucía La Reforma; as well as representatives of the incoming municipal corporation of San Cristóbal Totonicapán.
Representatives from CODESAN included members from the Secretariat of Food and Nutritional Security (SESAN), the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Food (MAGA), the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), the Secretariat of Social Works of the President's Wife (SOSEP), the Juan Bautista Gutierrez Foundation (FJBG), the Municipal Directorate of Food Security of the Municipalities of San Francisco El Alto and Totonicapán, the National Council for the Care of Persons with Disabilities (CONADI), the Departmental Ombudsman's Office for Human Rights (PDH), the Executive Secretariat of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (SE-CONRED), and the Project for Maternal-Child Nutrition Improvement through Primary Health Care (PROMINUTRI/JICA).
In order to share information related to the food security and nutrition challenges of these municipalities and have more elements to plan effective interventions, nutrition specialist Gabriela Ogaldes from the PiNN project discussed the main indicators of food security and nutrition in the department. Also, economist Enrique Maldonado, a consultant for the PiNN project, presented a study on municipal public spending on food security and nutrition, highlighting the lessons learned from the 2020 to 2022 spending in Totonicapan, with the intention of sustaining the achievements already reached in this field.
For Karin Linares, a departmental assistant from the Office for Human Rights (PDH), the responsibility assumed by the elected mayors is a significant challenge. Moreover, Linares commented that the municipal response must be comprehensive and with good governance practices; she thanked CATIE for preparing the mayors by showing them real data about their municipalities, and the mayors for attending this dialogue, with the aim of transforming the reality of the vulnerable population.
Among the observations made by CODESAN members to local authorities were investment in water and sanitation, the development of more comprehensive projects on food security, and greater involvement of the mayor or their representative in the Municipal Commissions on Food Security and Nutrition (COMUSAN) meetings, held once a month in each municipality. They also noted that investment is a significant challenge, and they hope that with the new authorities, they can have a greater impact in the department of Totonicapan.
The attending mayors expressed their interest in the common good of the population and in receiving support and accompaniment from institutions comprising CODESAN and international cooperation. They also thanked CATIE for the information provided at the event, giving them a better understanding of their municipality's situation regarding food security and nutrition.