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Ambiente & sociedade

On-line version ISSN 1809-4422


JACOBI, Pedro R.  and  MONTEIRO, Fernando. Social capital and institutional performance: methodological and theoretical discussion on the water casin committees in metropolitan São Paulo - Brazil. Ambient. soc. [online]. 2006, vol.2Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 1809-4422.

The paper analyses the institutional transformations that have taken place in the environmental management process in Brazil since the 90´s, emphasizing the enlargement of democratic spaces and popular participation, specially in the field of water management. The focus is on the water basin committees, an institutional engineering  that has become one of the references of  institutional innovation in the water management process in Brazil since 1997. The new watershed law presents a new framing of the issue of watershed protection, by recognizing the prime importance of a management system, by extending the protection instruments proposed and by opening the possibility of developing widespread agreement among stakeholders for the actions that are needed. The article presents an overview of the theoretical debate and the main outcomes of a survey with all members of the five subcommittees that compose the water basin. The research was developed in 2004 in the water basin of Alto Tietê that covers the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, and is based in the framework of social capital, as a tool to evaluate the institutional development  of these democratic spaces. The analysis based on the conceptual framework allows to evaluate the level of associativism, trust, reciprocity and cooperation that enables the consolidation of an effective performance. Water basin committees are the appropriate arenas to develop a comparative study of institutional performance and its relations with cooperative practices linked to preservation and spatial and environmental management.

Keywords : River Basin Management; Water Basin Committees; Social Capital; Institutions; Decentralization.

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