Naciones Unidas

Planning for development in the 60 years of ILPES

Mid-seventies to the end of the eighties (1977-1990): The decline of development planning

The Central (formerly "Basic") Planning Course, aimed at professionals from Latin American and Caribbean governments, was held annually until the early 1990s. Similar to the previous period, some of its main features were to offer a multidisciplinary and pragmatic vision of development problems associated with an integrated management of planning techniques and economic policy; to foster close dialogue and an effective exchange of experiences among the participating professionals; and, exclusively, to promote the formation of a regional awareness of common development problems, without prejudice to the pluralistic conceptions observed throughout the ECLAC member countries.

During the 1980s, the approach to training continued to be that of knowledge transmission, incorporating topics aimed at preparing public officials for an era of structural adjustment, when market actions gained more credibility, while the State was to be reduced to the minimum expression, in accordance with the postulates of neoliberalism. As a result, the courses included topics such as macroeconomic management, foreign debt, and trade, among others. In this same period, environmental variables were incorporated into the planning tasks and processes and in the related training; a strong concern for social development issues was maintained, especially with respect to emergency programs and in response to the impacts of structural adjustment; and the topics of public investment programming and the instruments for this purpose were expanded, as well as science and technology planning and local and municipal development, among others. In 1989, the specialty of industrial planning, promoted by Fernando Fajnzylber, was introduced to the core course.

Towards the end of the period, a new form of planning begins to be discussed, a medium and long-term strategic planning, which takes into account the environment as well as the internal dynamics of the countries, and pays special attention to institutional problems, the state of democracy, the failures of a lack of coordination and asymmetric information and the need to coordinate social agents.

Selected course programs from ILPES