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Measuring the Success ofLocal IWM Reform

The extent to which these changes were implemented varied among the six Ecuadorian cases. IWM reform is a process that takes time; new watershed management systems are built over years, not days. In some cases, this process endured long enough to achieve all of the desired conditions. In other cases, the process lasted long enough to create some conditions, but broke down before new governance arrangements were fully functional. In some cases, IWM reform efforts never got off the ground. Reform “success" is therefore a function of whether the local IWM reform process (i.e., phase 2 of grassroots global governance) endures or not.

To measure this in the Ecuadorian cases, I developed an index of 15 indicators based on four concepts commonly used to measure the quality of governance: consensus, inclusiveness, effectiveness, and sustainability.[1] The indicators reflect a series of conditions that are realized as a case advances through phase 2 of the grassroots global governance process (see Fig. 2.1): problems are defined and are placed on the agendas of consequential political and social groups; strategies and plans for solving the problem are created; new governance institutions are designed; and finally these institutions and plans are implemented.

Using the index, I scored the six Ecuadorian cases on a scale ranging from 0 (low success) to 15 (high success). A higher score means a case reached a later stage in the IWM reform process. As Table 3.1 shows, Tungurahua, Celica, and El Chaco were successful in that new IWM governance institutions and action plans were implemented and functioned as intended. Tungurahua is the only case where an initial IWM reform effort broke down but a subsequent effort succeeded (see chapter 7). For the three unsuccessful cases, the lower the score, the earlier in the process reform efforts broke down. Efforts in both Ibarra and

Governance

Concept

Indicator

Tungurahua

Celica

El Chaco

Zamora

Ibarra

Pastaza

Consensus

General consensus among local authorities, water users, and landowners on broad principles and goals for watershed management (reflected in statements by group representatives and surveys).

1

1

1

1

0

0

Consensus

General consensus among local authorities, water users, and landowners on specific projects and work plans (e.g., work plans developed with broad social participation and endorsed by members of all three groups).

1

1

0.5

0.5

0

0

Consensus

Compensation for conservation agreements between local authorities and landowners exist for at least 20% of landowners in the prioritized areas of the watershed. This includes sales of land for conservation.

1

1

1

0.5

0.5

0

Effectiveness

Development of a relatively comprehensive watershed management plan with specific projects (reflecting planning capacity).

1

1

1

1

0.5

0

(continued)

Governance

Concept

Indicator

Tungurahua

Celica

El Chaco

Zamora

Ibarra

Pastaza

Effectiveness

Creation of a local financing mechanism with an initial capital investment (i.e., the institution exists and has funds).

1

1

1

1

0

0

Effectiveness

Implementation of the watershed management plan has begun, according to the timetable set forth in the plan.

1

1

1

0.5

0

0

Effectiveness

Abatement or prevention of point or non-point sources of pollution (e.g., fencing off streams, restricting animal presence and commercial waste).

1

1

1

1

1

0.5

Effectiveness

Restoration ofvegetation, reforestation, and decline in deforestation in critical areas.

1

1

1

1

1

0.5

Effectiveness

A monitoring system exists with capacity to sanction violators.

0.5

0.5

0.5

0.5

1

0

Inclusiveness

Creation of a participatory mechanism linking various actors (e.g., local authorities, landowners, user groups) for decision making on watershed management; effort made to involve representatives of affected groups.

1

0.5

0.5

0

0

0

(continued)

Governance

Concept

Indicator

Tungurahua

Celica

El Chaco

Zamora

Ibarra

Pastaza

Inclusiveness

Members of local government, user groups, and landowners collaborate on key decision-making processes.

1

0.5

0

0

0

0

Inclusiveness

Members of local government, user groups, and landowners share responsibility for implementing watershed management projects.

1

0.5

0.5

0

0.5

0

Sustainability

Local actors make regular contributions to the local financing mechanism.

1

1

1

0

0

0

Sustainability

Local government ordinance allows regulation of watershed land use.

0

1

1

1

0

1

Sustainability

Watershed management well-institutionalized (institutional mechanisms exist for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of management projects, facilitated by trained technical experts).

1

1

1

0.5

0

0.5

Total Score

13.5

13

12

8.5

4.5

2.5

a Scoring rules: 0 = absence of criteria; 1 = presence of criteria; 0.5 = criteria are only weakly present or were present at one time but not sustained.

Pastaza broke down at the initial agenda-setting stage. While the indigenous group living in Ibarra’s watershed catchment area took some unilateral efforts, IWM reform never made it on to the local government’s agenda and the process soon collapsed (see chapter 5). In Pastaza, advocates got local authorities to buy in and design new institutions, but these remained empty paper reforms due to a lack of agenda setting with social groups. In Zamora, new institutions and an IWM plan were created and funded, but efforts broke down at the implementation stage. Chapter 6 describes the collapse of IWM campaigns in Pastaza and Zamora.

One interesting thing about Ecuador’s successful cases is that IWM reform succeeded despite the fact that it seemingly went against the status quo interests of politically powerful actors. IWM reform is not just about improving efficiency, but achieving a more sustainable balance among competing interests. It requires new arrangements for deciding who gets access to resources like land and water, how much each person gets, and how they can use these resources. More important, these new governance arrangements expand the array of stakeholders who participate in decision-making. As a result, they inevitably challenge powerful interests and tap into long-standing political, class, and ethnic tensions. This is perhaps best illustrated by the way Tungurahua’s IWM reforms resulted in marginalized indigenous groups assuming leadership positions within irrigation councils and dominating the new Water Parliament. This challenged the historical dominance of wealthier, mestizo landowners (described later).

  • [1] These measurements are consistent not only with those found in studies of watershed management (Ostrom 1999; Pena and Solanes 2003; Sabatier et al. 2005), but also with indicators usedby scholars studying local governance in general. Effectiveness is at the core of most definitions ofgood governance (e.g., Crook and Manor 1998; Grindle 2007; World Bank 2007). Consensus andinclusiveness capture the elements of responsiveness, participation, deliberation, and equitable distribution of resources that are included in most definitions of democratic governance (Avritzer 2009;Fung and Wright 2003; Grindle 2007; Moreno-Jaimes 2007; Van Cott 2008). Sustainability reflectsthe recognition by these and other studies that local governance reforms are fragile and easily undoneif not rooted in institutionalized mechanisms.
 
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