Project awarded!


DEVPOLES and Innovative Prison Systems (IPS) to strengthen the operation of the criminal justice system in Guyana

The Government of Guyana, through the Ministry for Legal Affairs and the Inter-American Development Bank, have entrusted DEVPOLES, in consortium with IPS Innovative Prison Systems, to lead the strengthening of the country’s probation system. 

Credits: Supreme Court of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana
Foto credits: Supreme Court of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana.

Statement of the challenge

The general problem to be addressed by the Program is the overcrowding conditions in Guyana’s penitentiary system. Statistics show that Guyana’s prison overcrowding population rate in November 2018 was 209%. Capacity of the Guyana prison service was significantly reduced by fires in 2017 and 2020 at the Camp Street and Lusignan prisons, respectively. Today overcrowding has plunged to 29,7%. From an institutional standpoint, structural overcrowding can be explained by three (3) main contributing factors:

    1. Diminishment of physical capacity;
    2. The over reliance on custodial sentences; 
    3. The overuse of pre-trial detention.

In Guyana, judges and magistrates have the option of both probation and community service orders as alternatives to imprisonment. However, these measures are scarcely used because magistrates lack the proper “incentives” to make use of these options, as confidence in the effectiveness of probation services to provide efficient supervision of offenders is low.

Solutions and expected results

The goal of the project is the strengthening of the organizational framework of probation services in the country, for which the design of a staff training programme is planned to be implemented over the next year. It will cover topics including, but not limited to: legal consideration of probation, interpersonal communication skills in the context of probation interviews, case load management, the investigation and community supervision of probation, probation investigations; probation officer physical conditioning; defensive tactics and first aid for criminal justice officers.

DevPoles & IPS will carry out a manpower audit, develop an organizational structure for the Probation Department, develop job descriptions, conduct a psychometric test of all probation officers to determine candidate’s suitability for the various roles on the proposed organizational structure, develop an orientation manual, performance metrics, standard operating procedures, evaluation tools, a self-care policy and the delivery of a 360º training programme to strengthen hard and soft skills for the modern probation officer. All project deliverables, conclusions, and recommendations will be based on evidence-based qualitative and quantitative analytics.

The Tokyo, Bangkok and Beijing Rules advocate the frequent and early use of probation as a resource. They affirm that probation should be used by the relevant authority wherever possible. In this sense, probation and community service will be identified in Guyana as alternatives to incarceration for minor and non-violent crimes. Furthermore, options that have been successful in other jurisdictions will be explored, such as bail, confiscation of travel documents, periodic check-ins with the police or other authority, electronic tags or curfews, conditional sentences, or suspended sentences.

Through these approaches, the project led by DEVPOLES in consortium with IPS Innovative Prison Systems will contribute towards reducing recidivism and inmate population by improving the social integration of people who have committed minor, non-violent crimes through the promotion of more rehabilitative approaches that involve families, victims, and members of the community to support their recovery and reintegration though an effective restorative approach.



International Labour Day: Fostering decent work & strengthening human resources worldwide.


International Labour Day: Fostering decent work & strengthening human resources worldwide.

International Labor Day has been celebrated worldwide on May 1 of each year since 1889 to claim labor rights and fair conditions in accordance with international labor standards recognized internationally by most governments. With the arrival of the pandemic, several reports show deterioration in job growth, with the loss of more than 30 million full-time jobs, according to the International Labor Organization. Furthermore, in Latin America and the Caribbean, more than 160 million people work in the informal sector have seen their income reduced by up to 80%, well above the world average (60%), one of the world’s hardest hit regions. The same is true in Africa, where 85% of workers are informal, and in Asia, with more than 60%.

At DEVPOLES we work to promote decent employment conditions, income generation, and the inclusion of women in the labor market in order to increase levels of social cohesion. This is achieved by informing public decision-makers on public policy design, regulation by working in close cooperation with civil society, economic agents and worker interest groups. For example, DEVPOLES is currently supporting UNDP by mapping the key stakeholders for development in the 12 indigenous territories of Panama, so that investments planned can factor in local needs connected to decent work practices, income generation, promoting local consumption and fostering local employment. On the other hand, in Peru, within the framework of international technical assistance in support of DEVIDA financed by the European Union, a study by conducted by DEVPOLES revealed that although women in coca producing areas constitute between 40 and 70 % of the workforce, almost 70% of this work is unpaid and 55% of women have no or very low educational levels. That is why development also involves education, enforcement of fair working conditions, and fight against informality and child labour via regulation and oversight..


On the other hand, DEVPOLES is also contributing to reform initiatives in public entities to adapt and update the organizational development to internal an external push and pull factors that drive the generation of public value, by working on building new competencies, knowledge, skills and abilities for civil servants that can guarantee improved efficiencies and productivity, in a framework that observe decent and ethical work practices.

Among other services, DEVPOLES promotes various modernization actions in talent management, selection and evaluation, modernization of the job performance systems, preparation and implementation of administrative organizational manuals, job classification manuals and salaries, competency-based training curricula, performance evaluation manuals, wellbeing frameworks, succession planning as well as the strengthening of supervision and control systems.

“Decent labour is at the very center of all projects designed and implemented by DEVPOLES.”

DEVPOLES also improves institutional performance through the updating and creation of new job descriptions in accordance with demand factors and technological trends, focusing on improving hard and soft skills of institutions with central, deconcentrated and decentralized public services at the national level.

Decent labour is at the very center of all projects designed and implemented by DEVPOLES. Our experience showcases DEVPOLES’ perennial commitment to observing, promoting and defending labor rights and decent work through the implementation of national and regional initiatives promoting more democratic, transparent systems and a participatory institutional culture, having a positive impact on citizens.



EU-Mexico: A new beginning


Opportunities for a renewed EU-Mexico relationship.

DEVPOLES examines how the EU might engage Mexico more effectively by improving bilateral relations at a systemic level through public diplomacy initiatives, thus underpinning each other’s geostrategic interests and strengthening rules-based multilateralism.

The appointment of a new ambassador by Brussels and Federal legislative elections to be held in June 2021 have the potential to prop-up a much needed diplomantic momentum.



Oportunidades para una nueva relación UE-México.

DEVPOLES examina cómo hacer más efectiva la relación UE-México mejorando las relaciones bilaterales a nivel sistémico a través de iniciativas de diplomacia pública, apuntalando los intereses geoestratégicos de cada una de las partes y fortaleciendo el multilateralismo basado en reglas. El nombramiento de un nuevo embajador por parte de Bruselas y las elecciones legislativas federales programadas para junio de 2021 tienen el potencial de crear un impulso diplomático muy necesario.

EUPOP 2Design and concept: DEVPOLES


Mexico is one of the most important economies worldwide and is among the ten main strategic partners of the European Union. Building a robust relationship is in each other’s interest amid rising nationalism and unilateral diplomacy in the global arena. At a time when international relations have become more complex, States more interdependent and global challenges and threats more visible, it has become increasingly necessary to have more and better tools to enable participation from a wide range of stakeholders to better promote and underpin the effectiveness of foreign action, beyond the dynamics of classic State to State diplomacy.

The idea of expanding dialogue and interaction among different stakeholders on various issues of common interest that are high up on both Mexico’s and the EU’s agenda; is now a necessity. The richness and thematic variety of the relationship, coupled with Mexico’s and the EU’s complex systems of governance and the global situation, requires such an approach.

Public diplomacy, which enables rapprochement with subnational stakeholders, general citizenry and non-state actors through artistic, cultural, educational and scientific dissemination, indeed constitutes an ideal tool to further build multi-level relations between Mexico and the European Union.

The above implies horizontal coordination between various fields of cooperation, culture, higher education, science, technology and innovation to face new global challenges in areas such as, climate change, health, transport, energy and space programmes, which represent an opportunity for the relationship between Mexico and the EU.

Shared values between Mexico and the European Union and the expanded scope of subject matters included under the enhanced EU-Mexico Global Agreement help establish various channels of strategic communication with key national stakeholders regarding the benefits of the bilateral relationship, and the regional agenda, such as Central America, where triangular cooperation with the support of Mexican cooperation AMEXCID has proved valuable.

Artistic and cultural institutions and organizations, think-and-do-tanks, higher education institutions, research institutes and expert groups, together with decision makers, economic agents and opinion makers, are all natural allies for the EU-Mexico relationship.

In recent years, the Mexican Government has promoted creating new areas of open diplomacy through its Council for Cultural Diplomacy, the Council for Tourism Diplomacy and the Technical, Academic and Scientific Council of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, which seek to strengthen foreign action instruments. This is an unequivocal sign of an intention to diversify the country's foreign actions with its partners and allies abroad, and represents an opportunity to give new impetus to the relationship with the European Union in light of imminently signing the new legal instrument that will govern the bilateral relationship.

Ways forward

Among the avenues of opportunity that should be explored, reaching out to a more “decentralized” audience is probably the one with most potential, engaging the local, state and municipal levels of the Mexican administration; where public policy is built closer to citizens and where the historical and cultural diversity of Mexico constitutes fertile ground to cultivate a much more ambitious relationship with the European Union and its Member States.

The new impulse to bring Mexico and the European Union closer together must be translated not only into greater economic, cultural, scientific and educational exchanges, but must also be accompanied by measures that promote better economic, regional and sustainable development, based on respect for human rights, gender equality, care for the environment, fight against corruption and consolidating the rule of law, as values recognized and shared between both parties.

The local dimension is strategic for a better use of the opportunities offered by the bilateral relationship. A proactive approach with local governments, municipalities and legislators (federal and local), universities, research centers, local chambers of commence, producer associations and groups of experts is ideal vehicle to highlight the benefits of EU-Mexico relations, an essential to creating favourable states of opinion necessary to address bilateral, bi-regional and global issues of shared interest.

For more insights on strategic advisory services and technical assistance to make the EU-Mexico relationship more effective, please contact our strategic advisory services in Panama City or Brussels via our colleague Vanessa.Fernandez[@]



México es una de las economías más importantes a nivel mundial y se encuentra entre los diez principales socios estratégicos de la Unión Europea. Construir una relación sólida es de interés mutuo, en un contexto de crecientes pulsiones autoritarias y de diplomacia unilateral a escala global. En un momento en el que las relaciones internacionales se han vuelto más complejas, los Estados más interdependientes y los desafíos y amenazas globales más visibles, se ha vuelto cada vez más necesario contar con más y mejores herramientas que permitan la participación de una diversidad de partes interesadas para promover y respaldar mejor la eficacia de acción exterior, más allá de la dinámica de la clásica diplomacia entre Estados.

La idea de ampliar el diálogo y la interacción entre diferentes partes interesadas sobre diversos temas de interés común que ocupan un lugar destacado tanto en la agenda de México como en la de la UE, es hoy una necesidad. La riqueza y variedad temática de la relación, junto con los complejos sistemas de gobernanza de México y la UE y la situación global, requieren de este enfoque.

La diplomacia pública, que posibilita el acercamiento con la sociedad y con actores no estatales, por medio de la difusión artística, cultural, turística, educativa y científica, constituye la herramienta idónea para el acercamiento de iniciativas de interés común entre México y la Unión Europea.

Lo anterior implica una tarea de coordinación horizontal entre las tareas que se ejercen hacia el exterior y el complemento necesario con otras expresiones que fortalecen la presencia internacional y favorecen la cooperación en distintos ámbitos como la cultura, educación superior, ciencia, tecnología e innovación para enfrentar nuevos desafíos globales en áreas como cambio climático, salud, transporte, energía, programas espaciales, que representan una oportunidad para la relación entre México y la UE.

Los valores compartidos entre México y la Unión Europea y la diversidad temática que se ha ampliado con el nuevo acuerdo, permite establecer distintos canales de comunicación estratégica con actores clave para influir en el mejor conocimiento sobre los beneficios de la relación bilateral, pero también en torno a preocupaciones de interés común en asuntos específicos, como lo es Centroamérica, donde la cooperación triangular con el apoyo de la cooperación mexicana AMEXCID ha resultado valiosa.

Las instituciones y organizaciones artísticas y culturales, los think-and-do-tanks, las instituciones de educación superior, los institutos de investigación y los grupos de expertos, junto con los tomadores de decisiones, los agentes económicos y los formadores de opinión, constituyen aliados naturales que puede ofrence un nuevo impuslo en las relaciones UE-México.

La creación de áreas específicas para fortalecer la diplomacia pública de México son una señal inequívoca de la intención de diversificar las acciones exteriores del país con sus socios y aliados en el exterior, y constituyen una oportunidad para dar un nuevo impulso a la relación con la Unión Europea en un momento crucial para la relación ante la inminente firma del nuevo instrumento jurídico que habrá de regir la relación bilateral.

Pasos a seguir

Entre las ventanas de oportunidad que merecen ser exploradas, llegar a una audiencia más “descentralizada” es probablemente la de mayor potencial, involucrando a los niveles local, estatal y municipal de la administración mexicana, donde la política pública se construye de manera más cercana con la ciudadanía y donde la diversidad histórica y cultural de México son terreno fértil para cultivar una relación mucho más ambiciosa entre la UE y México.

El nuevo impulso para acercar a México y la Unión Europea debe traducirse no solo en mayores intercambios económicos, culturales, científicos y educativos, sino que también debe ir acompañado de medidas que promuevan un mejor desarrollo económico, regional y sostenible, basado en el respeto a la humanidad. derechos, igualdad de género, cuidado del medio ambiente, lucha contra la corrupción y consolidación del estado de derecho, como valores reconocidos y compartidos entre ambas partes.

Lo local es estratégico para un mejor aprovechamiento de las oportunidades que ofrece la relación bilateral. El acercamiento proactivo con los gobiernos locales, con los municipios y con los legisladores (federales y locales), se convierte en indispensable. Los espacios que ofrecen las universidades, centros de investigación. grupos de expertos y gremios empresariales y de la producción constituyen, a la postre, el vehículo idóneo para resaltar las bondades de una relación y crear estados de opinión favorables para afrontar los temas bilaterales, birregionales y también globales de interés común entre la Unión Europea y México.

Para obtener más información sobre cómo hacer más efectiva la relación UE-México a través de asesoría estratégica y asistencia técnica, comuníquese con nuestros servicios de  en ciudad de Panamá o Bruselas vía Vanessa.Fernandez[@]

About DP

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