Last Update: October 2021
Institutional Framework Database for Social Policy
in Latin America and the Caribbean
Organizational dimension
The organizational dimension refers to the way in which ministries and executive powers are set up and in charge of social functions, considering their mandates and legal status. They emphasize the relative importance and formal mandates of Social Development Ministries (or other equivalent entities of the government devoted to social development) within the structure of the central government, as well as their degree of autonomy, specialization, relationship and importance in comparison to other sectoral areas of government.

Latin America and the Caribbean (21 countries): composition of collegial mechanisms of intersectoral social policy coordination, 2015
Country Collegial mechanism of intersectoral social policy coordination Year of creation Coordinated or presided by
Antigua and Barbuda National Economic and Social Council (NESC) 2004 Delegado(a) del Primer Ministro
Argentina National Council for the Coordination of Social Policies 2002 Presidential Delegate
Barbados National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC)
Bolivia (Plurinational State of) National Council for Economic and Social Policy (CONAPES) 2003 Presidential Delegate
Brazil Social Assistance National Council 1993 Minister of Social Development and Assistance, Family and Fight Against Hunger
Belize Caucus of Chief Executive Officers Primer(a) ministro(a)
Chile Interministerial Committee of Social Development 2011 Minister of Social Development
Colombia National Council for Economic and Social Policy 1958 President of the Republic
Costa Rica Social Presidential Council 2014 Second Vice-President of the Republic
Dominican Republic Social Policy Coordination Cabinet 2001 Vice-President of the Republic
Guatemala Social Development Special Council 2012 Vice-President of the Republic
Honduras Sectorial Cabinet for Social Development and Inclusion 2014 Sectorial Cabinet Coordinator
Haiti National Commission for the Fight against Hunger and Malnutrition 2012
Jamaica Social Development Commission 1965 Ministro de Gobierno Local y Desarrollo Rural
Mexico Interministerial Commission for Social Development 2004 Secretariat for Welfare
Nicaragua Presidential Council for Communications and Citizen Affairs 2007 Presidential Delegate
Panama Social Cabinet 1985 Minister of Social Development
Peru Interministerial Commission for Social Affairs 2007 President of the Council of Ministers
Paraguay Social Cabinet 2009 Delegate of the President - Executive Secretary of the Management Unit of the Presidency, through the Executive Direction of the Technical Unit of the Social Cabinet
El Salvador Social Welfare Cabinet 2019 Presidential Commissioner for Operations and Government Cabinet
Uruguay Social Cabinet 2005 Minister of Social Development
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) 2001
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) Sectorial Vicepresidency for Social and Territorial Socialism 2019 Sectorial Vice-President for Social and Territorial Socialism


Source: Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), on the basis of official information from the countries. a Another important intersectoral coordination mechanism is the National Social Service Council, created in 1993, which is chaired by a presidential delegate and consists of nine government representatives, including a representative from the States and one from the municipalities, together with nine civil society representatives (from the users of the social security organizations of the sector’s workers), chosen under the supervision of the Federal Public Prosecution Department. The council is also chaired by one of its members, elected democratically by members to serve a one-year mandate, with only one re-election allowed for a similar period. It also has an executive secretariat, in addition to a series of thematic committees devoted to both management and the financing of the competencies needed to fulfil the requirements of the Organic Law on Social Security: the Social Security Policy Committee, the Committee to Monitor the Social Security Councils, the Financing Committee, the Standards Committee, the Benefits and Income Transfers Monitoring Committee and the Committee to Monitor the Deliberations of the National Social Security Conferences. b In Honduras, another important intersectoral coordination entity is the Social Protection Technical Committee. Its participants include the Secretariat of State in the Office of Social Development, the Secretariat of State in the Office of the President, the Technical Secretariat for Planning and External Cooperation, the Secretariat of State in the Office of Education, the Secretariat of State in the Office of Health, the Secretariat of State in the Offices of Labour and Social Security, the Secretariat of State in the Offices of Justice and Human Rights, the Secretariat of State in the Offices of Indigenous Peoples and Afro-Hondurans, the Secretariat of State in the Offices of the Interior and Justice, the Honduran Institute for Children and the Family, the National Institute for Women, the National Youth Institute, the Honduran Association of Municipalities, the Honduran Social Investment Fund, the National Commissioner for Human Rights, the Civil Society Group, the Coordination of Rehabilitation Institutions and Associations of Honduras, the National Commission for Non-Formal Education, the Women’s Network, the National Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Honduras, the Honduran Foundation for the Rehabilitation and Integration of Persons with Limited Abilities, the Regional Network of Justice and Peace, the Kukulcan Association, the Violet Collective Association, the Network of Institutions for Children’s Rights, Ayuda en Acción, Casa Alianza, the Christian Children’s Fund, Plan Honduras, the National Association of Honduran Millers, Asociación Compartir, the Foundation for Solidarity and Voluntary Work of the Valencian Community, Asociación Gaviota, the Christian Youth Association and the National Youth Forum; the Honduran Council of Private Enterprise and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce. c In 2000, the Human and Social Development Office was set up for the first time in Mexico, consisting of the main federal social offices and coordinated by a Board of Directors comprising the Secretariat of Social Development, Education and Health. In 2004, the General Law of Social Development created the Intersectoral Commission on Social Development (CIDS) as the Federal Coordination Mechanism for Implementing the National Social Development Policy. This included the main social and economic entities of the federal government, chaired by the Social Development Secretariat. In 2013, the Specialized Office of Inclusive Mexico was created, as a higher rank mechanism for coordination at the federal level, followed by the CIDS itself, which added the formal mission of coordinating implementation of the National Crusade against Hunger. d Another important coordination body is the Vice Ministry for the Supreme Social Happiness of the People, chaired by a representative appointed by the government, and consisting of the General Directorate of Social Assistance, the General Directorate of Social Networks, the National Council for Children’s and Adolescents’ Rights, the National Institute of Social Services, the National Development Council for Afro-descendent Communities of Venezuela, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, as well as the El Niño Simón National Foundation and the José Féliz Ribas Foundation, and the Child Jesus Mission, the Negra Hipolita Mission, the José Gregorio Hernández Mission and the Culture Mission.

Forms of Social Authority /a

Different forms of social authority coexist in the region, according to the place they occupy within the general structure of the State, its mandate and powers, and its organizational form:

Country Presidency, Vice-presidency, or presidential delegate Ministry of Social Development or Social Inclusion Family entourage of the executive Ministry of another specific portfolio Ministry for the Coordination of the Social Sphere
Antigua and Barbuda        
Bolivia (Plurinational State of)        
Costa Rica        
El Salvador        
Haiti *        
Dominican Republic        
Trinidad and Tobago        
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)        
Total 13 6 1 2 0

*In the case of Haiti, official information is available concerning the creation in 2012 of the National Commission against Hunger and Malnutrition, at that time headed by the First Lady of the Republic.

By 2017, this Commission was no longer active, but currently there is no official information available that establishes the formal dissolvement of this entity and/or the creation of a new one.

1. Designation by the Presidency or Vice-presidency:
Specialized technical entity at the central executive level, whose authority is normally formalized by a decree from the executive power.

2. Family entourage of the executive:
This authority figure is typically assigned to the first lady with the role of coordinating social assistance programs.

3. National planning Ministries or national entities: its hierarchical position and functions potentially allow the coordination of intersectoral relations, but they may lack the required level of technical specialization in social policy matters.

4. Ministry of Social Development or Social Inclusion:
Ministry or secretariat specialized in the fight against poverty and non-contributive social protection. Commonly it assumes the formal responsibility of coordinating social policy, although organizational inertias, the overlap of mandates and resource disparities in comparison with other ministries may hinder its effective consolidation as the coordinating authority.

5. Coordinating Ministry:
Ministerial entity designated to mediate and coordinate all relevant institutions in the social policy sphere, either at the central level and other levels of government. The most well-known case is Ecuador which in 2008-2017 adopted this organizational form for the entire government structure.

6. Affiliated intersectoral entities:
Social cabinets or economic and social councils, normally composed of ministries of the social sphere and/or other policy sectors headed by the President, Vice-President, or a minister designated as coordinating authority, with eventually an affiliated or individual technical secretariat.

a/ The prescribed organizational variants are ideal types that do not necessarily exist purely or exclusively in each country. For example, in one country a Ministry of Social Development with coordination mandates may coexist along with a form of social authority coordinated by the Presidency such as a social cabinet. Furthermore, the proliferation of mandates that implicate the coexistence and/or successive creation of new entities may result in the duplication of several social authority mechanisms.

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), based on official information reported by governments of the region.

*In the case of Haiti, official information is available concerning the creation in 2012 of the National Commission against Hunger and Malnutrition, at that time headed by the First Lady of the Republic.

By 2017, this Commission was no longer active, but currently there is no official information available that establishes the formal dissolvement of this entity and/or the creation of a new one.


    Follow ECLAC

    Strategic partners
    Get updates by email

    © ECLAC - United Nations