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Germany-Mexico-Guatemala – Managing solid waste


Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE), Mexico Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Mexico Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), Guatemala German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) GmbH

Country (ies):

Mexico, Germany and Guatemala


Guatemala was the first country to approach Germany and Mexico requesting assistance to achieve institutional strengthening and capacity development in integrated solid waste management. A first generation of the GIRESOL Network in Guatemala was formed in 2007 by help of Mexican and international experts. In a second phase, seven Guatemalan environmental promoters from the first generation were trained in Mexico as instructors who then capacitated a second generation of solid waste experts in 2008 and 2009.


What was the purpose, initial steps and the set-up of the SSC experience?
During their governmental consultations in February 2006, Mexico and Germany agreed upon the implementation of trilateral cooperation projects. Furthermore, criteria for the selection of projects and procedures were determined.

The GIRESOL Network, a capacity development tool for integrated solid waste management, was seen as the most appropriate experience of German-Mexican bilateral cooperation to be replicated also in other countries of the region.

Already before the official start of trilateral cooperation, three representatives from the Guatemalan Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) were invited to take part in the second generation of the GIRESOL Network Mexico. After an information visit to the Central America & Caribbean region during 2006, Guatemala was the first country to ask for assistance in building up a network of environmental promoters, also because of the good experience of the three participants in the training course in Mexico. Hence, Germany, Mexico and Guatemala agreed in December 2006 to create a network of environmental promoters in Guatemala modelled on the Mexican GIRESOL network.

The following institutions are involved in triangular cooperation between Germany, Mexico and Guatemala:

• Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE)
• Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT)

• German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
• German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) – Mexico

• Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN)
• Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance (MSPAS)
• National Commission for the Management of Solid Waste (CONADES)
• German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) – Guatemala
• Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA)

What was the development challenge which this SSC activity was meant to address?
The development challenge addressed was the strengthening of Guatemalan institutions and the development of capacities in integrated solid waste management.

What were/are the expected results of this SSC activity?
It was expected to develop a sustainable network of environmental promoters in integrated solid waste management following the Mexican example but adapted to the specific needs of Guatemala. The promoters are expected to multiply their knowledge in order to improve solid waste management especially in Guatemalan municipalities.

Why did the Partner(s) engage in the SSC experience?
Mexico and Guatemala have a common interest in improving solid waste management in the region and have a long experience of bilateral cooperation in other development projects. For the Mexican partners the SSC experience is an opportunity to export the successful experience of bilateral cooperation between Mexico and Germany to other countries in the region and thus to improve regional integration and to take first steps in international development cooperation. The Guatemalan partners were interested in the new tool of triangular cooperation for establishing a network of environmental promoters in their country for developing the needed capacities, better coordination between the involved institutions and improving the solid waste management. The good experience with the GTZ and the intensive bilateral exchange with Mexico supported Guatemala's willingness to start the project.

How did the political context or previous cooperation influence the planning process?
The existence of an established and well connected GTZ program (PROMUDEL – Municipal Program for Local Development) in Guatemala with relations to the Guatemalan project partners facilitated the communication between the three countries and the establishment of the national coordinating committee.


What kinds of SSC activities or modalities were conducted?
At first, a national coordinating committee comprised of the Guatemalan Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), the National Commission for the Management of Solid Waste (CONADES) and the GTZ program PROMUDEL was formed. This coordinating committee prepared in several meetings the first workshop series for environmental promoters "on the ground" by help of technical advisory from German and Mexican partners. In these preparatory meetings, specific tasks with deadlines were given to the national members of the coordinating committee and the international partners. It was in the second meeting when the proposal came up to invite the Guatemalan Health Ministry to join the first generation of the network and establish a long-term partnership.

In 2007, this first generation of Guatemalan environmental promoters was formed with 42 trained experts. The training process of the GIRESOL Network is on-going, with a necessary period of 140 hours for recognition as a GIRESOL promoter. The participants meet three times over a period of six months to receive training on integrated solid waste management, on improvement of group management, teaching and public speaking skills, as well as personalized feedback on the practical activities completed as part of the training process.

An evaluation of the first year of the GIRESOL Network in Guatemala found many positive achievements, such as the good organization of the three events of the first generation of promoters, the high teaching quality and the securing of financing for operation of the network but also some future challenges which were addressed in 2008: The communication in the breaks between the events should be improved, the internal processes of the network should be visualized for better understanding and detailed monitoring and evaluation of the promoters' activities should be assured. Furthermore, a strategic planning of the GIRESOL Network Guatemala for the activities in 2008 was conducted.

In a second phase in 2008, seven members of the Guatemalan GIRESOL network came to Mexico to train as instructors in the first generation of the training course for instructors. Being the first training course for instructors, several points for improvement such as integrating more national experts were discovered and accounted for in the second generation of the instructor course for experts from Ecuador and the Dominican Republic which took place in 2009.

From 2008 to July 2009, by initiative of MARN, the 2nd generation of promoters was trained by the Guatemalan instructors without foreign support, thus demonstrating the sustainability of the implemented activities. With this generation, Guatemala already has 70 experts who offer advisory services to municipal communities.

Please describe the roles, responsibilities, interests and interrelations of the involved stakeholders.
There is a permanent national coordinating committee in Guatemala formed by MARN, CONADES and GTZ-Guatemala which is responsible for the project coordination of the GIRESOL Network in Guatemala. The Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance joined the national coordinating committee in the second phase of trilateral cooperation. The Danish International Development Agency funded parts of the project via its regional environmental programme PREMACA. As part of its activities in Guatemala, the GTZ project PROMUDEL established the permanent contact and cooperation with promoters of the GIRESOL network in the project region. The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) is the political representation of Mexico in the project while GTZ-Mexico and several institutions of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) were technical advisors in the development of the network.


What were the planned and unplanned achievements of the SSC experience? Are these outcomes sustainable? Could they be replicated in similar contexts?

Capacity development at individual level:
The first generation of environmental promoters trained 136 department delegates of MARN, 122 environmental inspectors, 543 municipal employees and more than 900 inhabitants of diverse communities in the country. The second generation was trained without foreign support due to the training of instructors from Guatemala in Mexico in the second phase of cooperation in 2008, thus achieving sustainability of the cooperation project.

Capacity development at organisational level:
The environmental promoters of the GIRESOL Network Guatemala work mainly in governmental institutions on the national, department or municipal level. By help of their profound knowledge in integrated solid waste management, they contribute to institutional strengthening of e.g. the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance. This is of special interest in the local representative offices of the two ministries on department level which are closer to the implementation of solid waste management measures than the headquarters.

The experience with the GIRESOL Network and triangular cooperation is being replicated by Mexico and Germany in two other countries, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, which are both in their second phase of trilateral cooperation.

Did the relation between the providing and receiving countries / governments change with this experience? Why and how?
On the international level, the cooperation improved between the three countries involved which also contributes to better regional integration. On national level, two ministries (MARN and MSPAS) and the National Commission for the Management of Solid Waste joined their efforts to implement the network. For the process of a future regionalisation of the GIRESOL Network, Guatemala along with Mexico are the most active countries which want to bring in their experience in order to create a sustainable regional network.

For longer-term projects, could you describe (both positive and negative) impacts?
Due to the short overall timeframe of the project it is hard to evaluate the impact of the implemented consulting services on the sustainable improvement of solid waste management in Guatemala right now.

Aid Effectiveness:

How can this experience help to understand the possible synergies between SSC and aid effectiveness principles?
Was national leadership supported?

The recipient countries used both the consulting services offered by the German-Mexican technical cooperation and the exchange of experiences between the respective countries for setting up their own network of environmental promoters. The project/activities also reached decision-makers in Guatemala who were sensitised to the topic of integrated solid waste management. The cooperation between different ministries involved in waste management also supported the national policy dialogue.

The fact that Guatemala financed the second generation without Mexican and German financial support shows that the national leadership was assumed by the Guatemalan national coordinating committee.

To which extent was the experience aligned to national priorities and systems?
In Guatemalan national policies, high priority is given to the development of national capacities as Guatemala is still at the beginning of developing a sustainable and integrated solid waste management. The network actually also helped to give the topic higher political attention in the Guatemalan government. The involvement of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Environment in the projects indicates Guatemala's high interest in improving municipal waste management with the help of municipal advisors.

Has there been an effort to harmonize and coordinate with other programmes and development actors?
The Guatemalan partners of the project were financially supported by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) in Guatemala. There is an ongoing exchange between the projects PROMUDEL (GTZ) and PREMACA (DANIDA).

Was managing for results included in the experience?
After addressing the lack of monitoring in the evaluation of the first year of the GIRESOL network Guatemala, managing for results became a top priority in the programme. In 2008, the programme monitored the impact of the multiplication of knowledge that the first generation of environmental promoters in Guatemala had gained. (s. outcomes.)

Capacity Development:

Could you indicate possible comparative advantages of SSC in the national development context, in particular regarding capacity development?
An export of the successful Mexican experiences is of high interest to other countries in the region, especially in Central America and the Caribbean, which can learn a lot from the factors of success and the difficulties overcome in solid waste management in Mexico.

Describe any specific capacity development benefits from this SSC activity at the individual, organizational or systemic level.

At the individual level, connected environmental promoters are formed which offer their services to municipalities. This improves capacities in integrated solid waste management in public institutions in the whole country. At the organizational level a sustainable network of connected promoters from several governmental institutions and between the local and federal level of two ministries has been established.

Are there any lessons learned from this SSC activity that improve the overall enabling environment, especially through improved incentives for better public services?
Through the better knowledge and understanding of integrated solid waste management, decision-makers are sensitized for the special problems in this important field of municipal management and enabled to take the right decisions towards improving public services.


Start: 12/2006 End: official end of support for triangular cooperation: 06/2009 but activities are ongoing Duration: 31 months

Budget (Optional):

Please enter the total budget and the shares of the stakeholders in it (ideally in USD) including financial and in-kind resources According to the financial planning, the estimated budgets for the two phases of cooperation were the following: Total budget of the first generation: 93,750 € (~ 135,000 USD in 2007): • Guatemala: 33% • Mexico: 32% • Germany: 35% Total budget of the second phase: 25,200 € (~ 39,000 USD in May 2008) • Guatemala: 77% • Mexico: 5% • Germany: 18%

Name of Primary Contact Person:

Mr. Axel Macht

Title of Primary Contact Person:

Program Director


Mexico City