The National Plan of Good Living Sumak Kawsay and the Plurinational Plan as the bases for Cultural Policies
The National Plan Sumak Kawsay was first introduced during Rafael Correa's first term in 2007. After the constitutional changes in 2008, many of which incorporate some of the basis of this plan, it was updated in order to become the foundation for policies in the future. The 2009-2013 Plan is a vision of what Ecuadorian society must become, with a number of strategies that are being put into practice. It is meant to be a long-term and sustainable plan that drives the country toward the following revolutionary changes:
• A Constitutional and Democratic Revolution to lay the foundations of an inclusive and reflective political community, by trusting in the country's capacity to define another historic course to achieve a fair, diverse, plurinational, intercultural, and sovereign society.
• An Ethical Revolution to guarantee transparency, accountability and checks and balances as the pillars on which to build social relations that enable mutual acknowledgement between individuals and collective trust; essential for long-term change.
• An Economic, Productive, and Agrarian Revolution to overcome an inherited model of exclusion, and direct State resources towards education, health, the road network, housing, scientific and technological research, to promote employment and production, in a way which includes both rural and urban areas.
• A Social revolution, hand in hand with inclusive economic policies, for the State to guarantee the essential rights of all individuals, communities, peoples, and nationalities.
• A Revolution in Defense of Latin American Dignity, Sovereignty and Integration, to uphold a clear, dignified and sovereign position in Ecuador's relations with international actors and multilateral organizations, in order to advance towards genuine integration within Latin America and the Caribbean; and to insert Ecuador strategically the country in the world community.
Sumak Kawsay is the result of the search for a new social contract among all social actors that challenges the definition of development only in terms of economic growth and the accumulation of goods. Instead, this new paradigm promotes an inclusive, sustainable and democratic strategy that incorporates the demand of the population and the participation of populations who were traditionally excluded from social, economic and political gains. As such, Sumak Kawsay relies in social equality, justice and the valorization of diverse peoples, ecultures, forms of knowledge and ways of life. Additionally, this model supports the sustainable relationship between human beings and nature.
Change of Paradigm: From Development to Sumak Kawsay
The prevalent concept of "development" is undergoing a profound crisis. In part this is only due to the colonial perspective from which the concept is derived. But it is also a result of its failure throughout the world. The present global crisis has demonstrated that it is impossible to maintain the current patterns of accumulation. For the South, it has meant an extractivist and devastating path to development, with unequal relations of power and trade with the North. It is essential, therefore, to promote new modes of production, consumption, and organization of life and coexistence.
Development as modernization and economic growth tends to be measured through the variations of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP.) Industrial development is what society should expect development and the culmination of the modernization process. Underdevelopment is attributed to the backwardness of society; which ignores the importance of external factors and the nature of the capitalist accumulation process.
In contrast, the concept of "human development" defends the idea of development based on human beings, and not merely on markets or production. What must be measured, therefore, is not GDP but the living standards of people through indicators related to the satisfaction of their human needs, emphasizing quality of life, human opportunities and capabilities that must be encouraged in order to cover different types of needs, such as livelihood, affect, participation, freedom, identity, creativity, etc.
In addition to covering needs and expanding current human capabilities, it is clear that human development must be sustainable. This is not viable without respecting historic and cultural diversity, the very basis on which the necessary unity of the people is constructed. For this purpose, it is vital to grant equal rights and opportunities to women and men, to peoples and nationalities, to boys, girls, youngsters, and adults. This also implies unrestricted citizen participation in the exercise of democracy.
By following the new social contract set forth in the 2008 Constitution, this Plan proposes a moratorium of the word "development" and the incorporation of the concept of Sumak Kawsay in the debate.
The twelve objectives of the the 2009-2013 National Plan are:
Objective 1. To foster social and territorial equality, cohesion, and integration within diversity.
Objective 2. To maximize the citizens' capabilities and potentialities.
Objective 3. To improve the population's quality of life.
Objective 4. To guarantee the rights of nature and promote a healthy and sustainable environment.
Objective 5. To guarantee sovereignty and peace; and to promote Ecuador's strategic insertion in the world, and Latin American integration.
Objective 6. To guarantee stable, fair, and dignified work and employment in its diverse forms.
Objective 7. To build and strengthen public spaces for intercultural social interactions.
Objective 8. To affirm and strengthen national identity, diverse identities, plurinationalism, and interculturalism.
Objective 9. To guarantee rights and justice.
Objective 10. To guarantee access to public and political participation.
Objective 11. To establish a social, fraternal and sustainable economic system
The implementation of the guidding principles of the Pan started in its elaboration process, through the many efforts to include the population in national-wide debates about a sustainable government plan for development. The Plan's participative nature was achieved through a sustained consultation process that began with the preparation of the 2007-2010 National Development Plan. It was characterized by the diversity of the actors who took part in the process, and was elaborated with the help of citizens' policy implementation inspectorships, national and regional citizen consultation, and dialogue and consensus-building with social and institutional actors.
The plan in itself proposes a number of strategies for its own implentation, including giving priority and funding for social protagonism, mechanisms for the reduction of poverty and the protection of diversity.
The 2008 Constitution incorporates a crucial break with the past: the shift from a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic State, encompassed in the 1998 Constitution, to a plurinational and intercultural State. In societies like the Ecuadorian society, marked by inequalities, we cannot think of interculturalism without considering domination processes. Intercultural dialogue is based on the premise of a dialogue among equals; and this is not possible when some cultures are subordinated to others.
Similarly, economic inequality is linked to deep ongoing processes of social exclusion, discrimination and segregation.
As a result and in order to build a plural, democratic society, there must be a focus on three levels: the social-economic level to assure equality; the political level to enable changes to the structure of power so that difference no longer favors oppression; and the social-cultural level, in which differences may be acknowledged, and which opens the possibility of intercultural learning.
A plurinational State means building a radically democratic post-colonial State. Plurinationalism acknowledges the authority of peoples and nationalities elected according to their uses and customs within the context of a unitary State. Plurinationalism, therefore, values the different forms of democracy that exist in the country: community, deliberative, and participative forms of democracy that nurture and complement representative democracy in a descentralized manner.
The process of implementation of these policies in the cultural area, and in the protection of cultural rights, is clearly reflected in all the actions that have been reported in this document. All policies and actions in the state must be closely tied with the goals and strategies of the Sumak Kawsay National Plan.
Challenges identified in the implementation of this measure:
The creation of the Plan required confronting four main challenges: articulating the planning to the new constitutional framework; generating processes of intra-State articulation and feedback processes, incorporating a result-oriented form of management; inserting territorial and local planning; and promoting a process of social participation.