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TitleGovernance of urban environmental sanitation in Latin America; case studies from Belo Horizonte, Cali and Lima
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsSmits, S, Galvis, A, Bernal, DP, Visscher, JT, Santandreu, A, de Nascimento, NO, Butterworth, J, IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre, The Hague, NL
Pagination15 p.; ill.; 14 refs.; 3 tab.; 1 fig.
Date Published2008-11-19
Place PublishedDelft, The Netherlands
Keywordsbrazil minas gerais belo horizonte, colombia cali, environmental sanitation, governance, latin america, peru lima, water management, water resources, water resources development

Cities in Latin America face a double challenge in environmental sanitation, of both providing access to basic sanitation for those currently lacking that, and improving the collection and treatment of wastewater. Governance is identified as a crucial factor affecting the way in which these challenges can be met. This paper analyses current governance arrangements in three cities: Belo Horizonte, Cali and Lima. All three cities have seen the application of governance reforms, such as decentralisation, the establishment of independent regulators and water resources authorities, and democratization of decision-making procedures. These all have contributed to the separation and distribution of governance functions over local authorities, utilities, control agencies and civil society alike. This specialisation has led to a certain degree of fragmentation of roles, resulting in a lack of integration in planning sanitation services. Developing specific mechanisms for joint-up planning have proved to be able to overcome some of these integration problems. Capacity of stakeholders to carry out their functions is also found to be a crucial factor. This paper concludes that the implementation of the package of sanitation sector reforms needs to be accompanied by pragmatic efforts for joint-up strategic planning and the strengthening of capacities for these reforms to have the full potential effect.

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