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The ministry has since developed a five-year plan for gradual improvement of the tax base.
As a result of entrenched corruption, on top of weak tax bases, Guatemala has not been able to develop its social services.
It has expressed more ownership and commitment toward the goals than previously seen with the MDGs, which were mostly perceived as a UN agenda.
According to ministry officials we met with, they have started an ambitious and inclusive process with governorates across the country, though they lack the capacity to reach the entire population. However, it became clear that the commitment has yet to translate into budgets and allocation of resources for an integrated and inclusive implementation.
After sixth grade private education is often the only option available for those wanting to pursue further education; bearing in mind, this is a very young population with almost half under 18 years old.
Health service is also a challenge, with many villages in the countryside lacking access to any medical facilities, including vaccination programs for children.
It has already developed a national plan known as the , which will run until 2032 and build on many of the core targets of the SDGs.
In 2015, a number of peaceful protests demanded an end to Guatemala’s corruption and the dismantling of its criminal networks.The UN Development Programme (UNDP) confirmed that the Guatemalan national plan was developed with the SDGs in mind, and that it corresponds 90 to 95% with the 2030 Agenda.Yet an interviewee told us: “I don’t think that this agenda is internalized in the budget, only in the plans.”Budgets for social services such as health and education remain a challenge in Guatemala, which has one of the lowest tax bases in the world, with revenue largely coming from a flat tax of around 10.5%.This awakening went rather unnoticed in the international sphere.Thanks to the demands of thousands of people, and with the assistance of the leadership of the country’s top prosecutor, high-level officials including the president and members of his cabinet, as well as legislators, judges, and private sector tycoons were sent to jail, ending years of anticipated impunity.
The SDGs can undoubtedly support the momentum already generated, acting as a catalyst for peace and sustainable development.