شالوده شکنی بهترین سناریو: درس هایی از سیاست آب در لاپاز، ال آلتو، بولیوی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|19863||2007||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Geoforum, Volume 38, Issue 5, September 2007, Pages 841–854
For nearly a decade the La Paz–El Alto concession in Bolivia was heralded by donor organizations, the state and the commercial water industry alike as an emblematic ‘pro-poor’ water concession under the private sector model. Managed by one of the largest water multinationals in the world (the French company Suez), the network was extended beyond the new connections required by the original ‘pro-poor’ contract, acclaimed as a pioneer of new pro-poor technologies and frequently disseminated internationally as an example of best practice. This paper analyses the La Paz–El Alto concession’s pro-poor image focusing on issues of social exclusion and network extension, contract negotiation, participation and transparency. It documents the rise of social protest about the concession and critiques the failure of neoliberal regulatory systems to promote accountability to the poor. In the context of the continued transnationalisation of the water industry the paper highlights the need for new mechanisms and delivery models to ensure greater national control over private companies and the development of a framework for international water governance.
In recent years Bolivia has come to play a central and emblematic role in global water debates. Home to both an iconic anti-privatisation movement based in the city of Cochabamba and one of the first large, city-wide private water concessions (La Paz–El Alto, granted in 1997) to be heralded as ‘pro-poor’ by donor organisations (Komives, 1999) water issues here are hotly contested under an increasingly international gaze. With the appointment earlier this year (January 2006) of Evo Morales to the presidency (a left-wing, peasant-indigenous leader and a strong supporter of re-nationalisation) the Bolivian case looks set to establish a new era in water policymaking in the near future. A year previously, after widespread social protest the government had ordered the early termination of the La Paz–El Alto contract following persistent calls for the French managing company (Suez) to withdraw for failing to deliver a pro-poor service. As a result, the pro-poor image of this concession, up until then one of the most widely held success stories of privatisation, has been brought into question. Its failure was underlined nationally and internationally in early 2006 with the naming of Abel Mamani the former leader of FEJUVE,1 the urban-peasant neighbourhood organisation that spearheaded the anti-Suez campaign in El Alto, as the new Bolivian water minister. He subsequently participated in the IV World Water Forum in Mexico (March 2006) in both official and NGO/social movement forums and sessions. Bolivia’s current high profile on the international water stage, however, is not only the product of recent national political changes but rather, as we shall demonstrate in this paper, it needs to be understood as part of a wider set of processes involving the construction and contestation of private-sector led best practice models in the water sector. While an historical analysis of the pro-poor story of the La Paz–El Alto case is the main focus of this paper, its evolution and outcome is clearly linked to the first example of the ousting of an international water company in Cochabamba in April 20002 and connected to wider anti-globalisation movements3 The events of 2000 had major repercussions for private sector involvement in water management globally. In Bolivia in particular it shaped debates over the management of the La Paz–El Alto concession and crucially, gave birth to a national critical mass of transnationally networked professionals, activists and NGOs focused on new visions for water (Laurie et al., 2006). Key figures in this network now populate Mamani’s water ministry. Events in Bolivia unfolded at a crucial time in global water policymaking. Linked to donors’ post structural adjustment concerns with decreasing absolute poverty, improving access to water and sanitation became a key target of bi-lateral and multi-lateral organisations from the end of the 1990s.4 Measurable, improved poverty indicators, such as new water and sewerage connections, have thus taken on great political importance in many poor countries, playing a central role in state nation-wide anti-poverty programmes. As the water industry became increasingly globalised, templates for privatisation were exported around the world as part of donors’ attempts to meet anti-poverty targets. Under this new global water paradigm, particular understandings of best practice were further cultivated by the search for exemplary case studies to indicate how the private sector benefits the poor. Such processes of dissemination rendered certain iconic cases, like that of La Paz–El Alto, almost untouchable for a while as their mythologies of success were repeated transnationally in much the same way that drives towards modernisation canonised certain forms of economics in Latin America, revisited through market driven neoliberal reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. In such private sector, pro-poor management models participation was largely seen as a form of demand management, as illustrated by Fig. 1, which indicates the areas of interventions under private-sector led, ‘pro-poor’ approaches. Here the emphasis is on controlling the service (provided through private consortiums comprising national and international investors); rates (established through consultation processes) and technological aspects (which can include developing pro-poor technologies and using community labour). Fig. 1. A private sector led “pro-poor” approach – areas of intervention and support mechanisms. Figure options Proponents of these models have argued that, as private participation makes fresh capital available to fund efficient management and teams of specialised experts (PPIAF-WSP, 2000, p. 10), it is beneficial to the poor and should therefore be given priority status as part if the commitment to serve these groups (see Nickson, 2001a, Nickson, 2001b, Water and Sanitation Program, 2001a and Water and Sanitation Program, 2001b). Under these models, interventions in service, rates and technical solutions are sustained by four key support mechanisms: strong regulation; customer service; social inclusion policies; and an efficient communication/information system. Nevertheless, on the other hand, those who counter the pro-poor justification of private sector participation argue that this model also saves money for the private company that is not necessarily passed onto the customers. Shaping these private sector, pro-poor debates internationally, in Bolivia the World Bank played an active and important role in promoting La Paz–El Alto as best practice in delivering services to the poor. Initially helping draft the terms of the bidding process, later the Bank contributed to financial investment security in the Bolivian water market when the international private sector community became wary about its financial prospects post the Cochabamba water wars5. It also funded technical innovation in service delivery, publishing and distributing technical guides in partnership with the company. In particular, the Bank helped cement the international reputation of Aguas del Illimani by disseminating information about two socio-technical aspects of the concession. First, it praised the original contract for including a mandate to extend the network to reach high levels of coverage in the concession area (see Komives, 1999). Second, it promoted the participation of poor users in developing new forms of appropriate technologies, which kept installation costs down. In this paper we argue that an over-reliance on the global promotion of exemplars like La Paz–El Alto has helped undermine the vice-like grip that the private sector, pro-poor model has had on water orthodoxy in recent years. The Bolivian story serves to critique techno-driven understandings of pro-poor provision that over-emphasize private sector investment in management and technological efficiency, whilst giving tokenistic attention to participation. While private-sector led approaches have increasingly drawn on participatory strategies to engage with users and work in partnerships with donors, NGOs and aid agencies, here we argue that under such approaches participation discourses risk being reduced to consultation processes and information dissemination. In the case of Aguas del Illimani we will argue that despite its long-standing pro-poor image, the company did not take the needs and demands of poor users sufficiently into consideration. They wrongly assumed that the benefits of universal coverage (in whatever technological form) would automatically reach the poor. We will also show how contradictory regulatory regimes and blurred stakeholder roles helped generate an accountability vacuum from which very few governance mechanisms capable of supporting the interests of the poor were able to emerge. The need for a strong regulatory and legislative framework to protect the poor is a key principle in linking a pro-poor water agenda with private investment (Jouravlev, 2000). Nevertheless, Bolivia did not have a regulatory and legislative framework in place prior to establishing its first concession (La Paz-El Alto). The regulator for Water and Sanitation was established in 1997, almost at the same time as the concession. The law designed to govern drinking water and sanitation (Law 2029) was not passed until 1999. As a result, the legislative and regulatory frameworks were not adequately developed and problems over a lack of transparency and clarity (apparent in relation to price structures and mandates to extend, as we shall see below) developed in the Aguas del Illimani contract. Consequently, questions started to arise about whose interests the new contract and legislation and regulatory systems really served. To elaborate these arguments the paper is structured in the following way. First we outline the place of the La Paz–El Alto case in wider Bolivian development policies, and chronicle the growth of what became a wide-spread protest movement. Next we turn to an historical analysis of the pro-poor credentials of the concession. Here we have opted to examine private sector-led, pro-poor privatisation through its own self professed criteria. The point being that if, on closer examination, this case study (for many years one of the private sector’s acclaimed best case pro-poor scenarios) falls short of the very pro-poor norms set out by the private sector lobby, then the model does not stand up to scrutiny. By adopting this particular approach we wish to prioritise the need to look beyond international image building around the technological achievements of the private sector (both in engineering and management terms) and to examine the dynamics of the social and power relations involved in private sector urban water provision in poor countries. We interrogate how well the concession stands up to scrutiny under the techno-driven pro-poor emphasis in private sector-led development, by examining the geographies of connections and debates about pro-poor technologies. In the final section, we focus on the weak nature of the pro-poor support mechanisms in the concession, analysing the limits of demand management, through issues of regulation, transparency, participation and accountability. Here we revisit understandings of participations and accountability in pro-poor approaches, arguing that these need to be re-worked and given centre stage in the new political scenarios shaping water management in Latin America. In the conclusion we suggest that recent events in Bolivia may well point to potential new scenarios for more participative water management.