Ecuador: Governance in the water and sanitation sector in Ecuador within the framework of the Millennium Development Goals


The coverage and quality of water and sanitation services was below the national average in some poor regions of Ecuador where the Joint Programme operated, with large gaps in the coverage and services between rural and urban areas. The programme contributed to the development of democratic governance of Ecuador's water and sanitation services, focusing on integrated water resources management and social, land and gender equality.

The programme's main initiatives included:

  1. Increased access to safe water and sanitation for the poorest populations of four provinces;
  2. The implementation of a new regulatory and institutional framework for the water and sanitation sector;
  3. The design and implementation of consensual public policies for effective services management;
  4. Improving the technical, administrative and financial capacities of service providers in the areas of intervention; and
  5. The empowerment of women, social organisations and communities that participate in the sustainable and transparent management of the sector.

Main achievements included:

  • National and local capacities were strengthened for the implementation of a new, consensual regulatory and institutional framework for the water sector and the water and sanitation subsectors. This required an Integrated Water Management Strategy at the river basins and a Estrategia del Plan Nacional del Agua (National Water Plan Strategy) involving actions to conserve the aquifers and the good quality of the water sources.
  • The economic, technical, social, environmental and institutional indicators of water and sanitation services providers were improved in the four provinces of the intervention (Esmeraldas, Bolivar, Los Rios and Manabi). This included the development of guidelines for the establishment of associations for efficient and equitable provision of services.
  • Civil society organizations were empowered to influence the development of regulatory frameworks governing water services, and monitoring the quality and sustainable management of services.
  • Infrastructure was built in 20 districts which were targeted with hygiene and environmental education campaigns and capacity building of local institutions and social organizations in the areas of health and environmental education. 
  • Support was provided for the formulation of sectoral public policies focusing on human rights and on cantonal plans for local development and legislation. The country now has three policy instruments for integrated water management (the Socio-Cultural Water Policy; a methodology for dialogue on water; and a Community Bio-Monitoring Guide for the Protection of Water Sources).
  • Residents, particularly women, of 13 rural communities were encouraged to participate in providing water and sanitation services and in monitoring water quality. The coverage of water and sanitation services was constantly increased, water quality improved, and services became more affordable for 4,570 people.
  • In coordination with the Secretaría de Pueblos, Movimientos Sociales y Participación Ciudadana (Secretariat of Peoples, Social Movements and Citizen Participation), and on the basis of an analysis in this field, the opportunities for citizen participation and accountability were strengthened at the national level in communities and municipalities of the programme activities.
  • Training was provided to six ecological youth clubs. In addition, experiences were shared and training was provided for the design of social projects and for the implementation of hygiene and environmental education campaigns from a gender perspective.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in Ecuador (in Spanish).


The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 30 Jun 2009 - 27 Jun 2013
Net funded amount $5,981,000
Participating UN agencies ILO, PAHO / WHO, UN-HABITAT, UNDP, UNV
National partners Ministerio de Desarrollo Urbano y Vivienda, MIDUVI, Secretaría Nacional del Agua, SENAGUA, Ministerio de Salud Pública, MSP
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