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CIMTRA

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ENGLISH

The CIMTRA Group

(CITIZENS FOR TRANSPARENT MUNICIPALITIES)

The CIMTRA Group (from its Spanish acronym) is composed by more than 20 Mexican non-governmental organizations and coordinated by the Centro de Servicios Municipales Heriberto Jara, Locallis, ICMA- Latinoamérica and ACCEDE.

 

The Group’s objective is to assist in building a culture of accountability among local governments through transparent actions towards society. In order to achieve this, the group designed a 31-item questionnaire (called CIMTRA-Básico) to evaluate a municipality’s level of transparency, generating a score that can be rated on a scale from 0 to 100. The questionnaire, application, and scoring manuals provide guidelines to municipalities to enable them to take the necessary steps to improve their score.

 

The questionnaire measures three areas of transparency:

1) information provided to society by the municipal government;

2) the way communications between government and society are established and operate; and

3) transparency in governmental processes.

 

Two manuals can assist in the implementing the CIMTRA-Básico:

  1. Manual to implement questionnaire: An explanation of where the information can be obtained, how to implement the questionnaire, how to build a relationship with local authorities and real examples of Mexican municipalities that offer information.
  2. Manual to translate questionnaire answers to a value scale: An explanation of the value of each answer, as well as how to assess answers with special specifications.

The benefits for society are that It allows to compare transparency levels between municipalities.  And provides a basis for citizens to pressure their government for increasingly better transparency. For the local government It allows a municipality to see its weaknesses and opportunities for improving transparency, isolating the areas that need the most attention.

 

As of May 2008, the CIMTRA-Básico has been applied to 88 municipalities, covering 13 of the 32 states in Mexico, and all 16 wards in Mexico City, 

 

The CIMTRA Group has developed two additional tools to evaluate state governments (CIMTRA-State) and to evaluate municipalities which have received higher scores (CIMTRA-Plus). However there are current efforts to unify CIMTRA-Plus and CIMTRA-Básico in order to generate a stronger tool that raises the level of transparency, going beyond what the local laws say about accountability.

 

Thanks to the effort of the local NGOs that apply the CIMTRA-Básico, Municipalities have adopted new local resolutions, improved existing citizen committees, publicized previously classified information and increased citizen interest in local affairs.  NGOs, which had previously never worked together, are now cooperating on this initiative, along with business groups. The results are becoming a reference for national policy makers, particularly those involved on issues of transparency and accountability.

 

CIMTRA Group received a grant from The Open Society Institute to strength its presence as well as its institutional capabilities.

 

Some of these results achieved by CIMTRA are reflected in the following statistics:

 

  88 municipalities have been evaluated; 64 of them have undergone a second round; 41 have gone through a third round;  28 have gone through a fourth round, and 5 have completed their fifth round

  The average score in the first round is 24.47/100 points. In the second round, the average score is 38.92/100 points, representing an increase of 59.2%.

  86% (or 55 of 64) of the municipalities evaluated in a second round increased their score as a result of joint efforts between civil society organizations and local governments to improve transparency in the three areas evaluated by the CIMTRA.

  In 2008 six municipalities of a new state (Querétaro) we aggregated to the ranking and current evaluations are under way.

  In the second semester of 2008 is going to start being applied the “New CIMTRA Tool”, which put together issues from CIMTRA-Básico, CIMTRA-Plus and new aspects of the newer constitutional reforms on transparency.

 

The CIMTRA Group needs your support to keep moving forward. For more info please contact Jaime Villasana jvillasana@icma.org  

 

CIMTRA´s Webpage www.cimtra.org.mx

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