Juntos Program: an innovative partnership for sustainable development

                                                              

Juntos Program: an innovative partnership for sustainable development

Comunitas
Solution proposed by: 
Comunitas and the City Halls of the following municipalities: Campinas, Paraty, Pelotas, Santos, Itirapina, Limeira, Brotas, Corumbataí, São Carlos, Juiz de Fora, Teresina, Curitiba. Are also involved 21 specialized consultants and more than 30 partner co
In a Nutshell: 
The public-private partnership is a result of a business leaders coalition, society and municipalities to strengthen public management, promote local development and improve community services. Shared and transparent governance is the key-element for success. Implemented in 12 cities the program promotes institutional strength, decentralization and collaboration to overcome urban challenges.
Where and When: 
Campinas, Santos, Itirapina, Limeira, Brotas, Corumbataí, São Carlos, all cities in São Paulo State; Paraty, in Rio de Janeiro State; Pelotas, in Rio Grande do Sul State; Juiz de Fora, in Minas Gerais State; Teresina, in Piauí State; and Curitiba, in Paraná State, Brazil. From February 2013 to the present.
Challenges: 
Despite Brazil’s positive economic growth over recent years, it is still one of world´s most unequal countries. The lack of investment capacity by municipalities, often owing to bad management; the scarcity of public staff technical expertise to implement innovative, or merely efficient public services; and a lack of public leaders with transparency and social change should be addressed. Juntos focuses on having a real impact in those structural problems. Lead by Comunitas, a Brazilian non-profit organization, the program focused its work on the municipal level, to increase efficiency and the investment level of cities and improve public services in a collaborative effort
Innovation: 
Juntos is the largest coalition of Brazil’s most prominent business leaders focused on innovating and improving local government and public service management. It´s an innovative PPP model that brings together social investment, technical expertise and public leadership to develop new services, designed and co-created for and together with citizens. The first factor is the municipality’s own economic sustainability, a fundamental pillar that allow to increase investment capacity to improve and innovate. Another sustainability pillar of the project is the high level of transparency agreed with the mayors, which assures legitimacy with the multiple stakeholders of the project.
Concept: 
Created in 2000 with the mission of contributing to the improvement of the corporate social investment, stimulating the participation of the private sector in the social development of the country and articulating partnerships Comunitas launched Juntos as an innovative and strategic program to support local governments, the administrative scopes that are closest to the population and because reforms at the municipal level are usually more feasible than at the federal or at the state level. The point is to show that private initiative, society and municipalities can invest in innovative partnerships that strengthen public management, promote local development and improve community services. To promote cities competitiveness, one of the main features of the program is the enhancement of the participation of society in public administration, with the inclusion of citizens in the discussions and in decision-making process about the priorities of the municipalities. The involvement of business partners is another plus of the program. In addition to investing resources, they are part of Center of Governance in which they can share their experiences and management, monitor the evolution of initiatives and collaborate and defining the guidelines of the program.
Description: 
Based on reflection and mutual learning among the type of social investments they were practicing until that moment, in 2013 main corporate leaders of the country decided to create Juntos. The idea was that private initiative, society and municipalities can invest in innovative partnerships that strengthen public management, promote local development and improve community services. The program has four main pillars: Management, Innovation, Strengthening Leadership and Social Engagement. Strategic Planning is the heart of Juntos methodology and the necessary basis to assure long-term goals and sustainability. The top-down and bottom-up approach is the greater differential of the program, combining the improvement of internal process management and innovation of public services, with civil society participation and transparency, fundamental conditions to undertake sustainable changes at the local level. 12 cities governed by five different parties were chosen, since one of the core principles of Comunitas is political neutrality. The selected cities must also be governed by mayors in their first terms and without judicial convictions by collegial bodies. The relevance in the region, the population and geographical heterogeneity and the possibility of dissemination of the results achieved are also important criteria. Once a city become part of Juntos, mayor and its secretariat make a commitment of shared and transparent governance with the “Center for Governance”, composed by some of most important business leaders of the country, responsible for overseeing and monitoring the program results in each municipality. Each city has a Leader Sponsor, a member of the Center for Governance, who is committed to closely monitoring the activities from a strategic perspective, ensuring and protecting the governance principles and values. The program also stimulates the constitution of a Local Leaders Committee, composed by local entrepreneurs, mayor and secretaries, responsible to guaranteeing the long-term sustainability.
Impacts: 
The first factor to be considered is the municipality’s own economic sustainability. This is why the initial focus is on generating fiscal efficiency, which creates additional budget that can be invested in more innovative and better quality public services. Fiscal equilibrium is a fundamental pillar to be sustained, to allow increased investment capacity to improve and innovate social and human development areas, such as education and healthcare. Another sustainability pillar of the project is the high level of transparency agreed with the mayors, which assures legitimacy with the multiple stakeholders of the project.

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Credit: Valor Econômico newspaper and Exame magazine
Credit: Valor Econômico newspaper and Exame magazine