UCL Institute of the Americas


Dr Verónica Ramírez Montenegro

Participatory Democracy in South West Colombia: Municipal Planning Councils and Victims' Boards


PhD Completed in 2020 | > UCL Discovery - open access


Professor Maxine Molyneux and Dr Graham Woodgate

Veronica Ramirez-Montenegro
During the last decades of the 20th century, the thesis of popular participation and participatory democracy reached formal recognition in most Latin American countries. A more participatory version of democracy would help to include and empower vulnerable social groups and would make the state more responsive to their demands. In 1991, participatory democracy was granted constitutional level in Colombia.  20 years later, the country started to upgrade its participatory institutions, inaugurating what can be called a 'second generation' of institutions for participatory democracy. Moreover, the more recent peace accords with the FARC-EP demand further improvements, announcing what could be generation three.

In this context, Verónica's research aimed to identify if the innovations introduced in the second institutional generation were being successful in helping to enhance the local participatory processes in South-west Colombia, and what the remaining limitations are. The findings would contribute to the academic debates about the effectiveness of participatory institutions as attempts to deepen democracy, as well as to the discussions about the ongoing reforms of the Colombian political system.