Cities are challenged by a variety of environmental problems, most of
which are associated with failures in the way urban growth is planned
and managed. The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) set up
the Focus Cities Research Initiative to address these urban management
challenges. It was unusual in that it supported both research and
action, and used multi-stakeholder teams to employ action-research and
work in partnership with local government and civil society to identify
solutions to environmental problems affecting urban dwellers, to
implement them and to monitor the results. This brief focuses on the
three Latin American Focus Cities (FC) initiatives: Lima, Peru;
Cochabamba, Bolivia; and Moreno, Argentina.
Community participation in all stages of the projects facilitated a
holistic approach to addressing urban environmental problems, one that
ultimately increased commitment and sustainability.
To strengthen participation and governance, all stakeholders have to
be involved in the collection of data and production of information
that then forms the basis for decisions about priorities. Integrating
data from various sources, including from residents and community
organizations, was important in building a complete diagnosis.
Agreeing at the outset to a clear set of rules guided participation
and built strong relationships between stakeholders, helping to avoid
conflicts and to resolve them when they arose.
Hardoy, A. ELLA Policy Brief: Focus Cities Programme: Multi-stakeholder Participation in City Governance. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2011) 5 pp.