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Assessing Urban Governance

The Case of Water Service Co-production in Venezuela


Luisa Moretto

When examining the relationship between urban governance and improved service provision in the Global South, there is frequently a gap between the rhetoric and the reality. Informal, practice-based local governance processes that aim to produce better urban services often diverge from official governance prescriptions and mechanisms for service delivery within the institutional sphere. This book explores the complex area of urban governance assessment, focusing on the issue of sustainable water supplies for the urban poor.
Adapting the UN-Habitat Urban Governance Index, the author explores the dual nature of urban governance, analyzing its formal dimension at the municipal level but also taking account of informal and locally specific governance arrangements aimed at improving access to basic services. Water service co-production strategies involving both public institutions and organized groups of citizens in Venezuela provide an excellent case study of this phenomenon. The book illustrates the limitations of official governance assessment tools in appreciating the extent and vibrancy of local practices and agreements, as well as investigating the discrepancies between normative prescriptions and governance arrangements on the ground.
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Annex 3


: Calculation of the UGI indicators in the Paz Castillo and Cristóbal Rojas Municipalities

Note 1: many indicators – especially those related to water provisions – are considered for both the Paz Castillo and Cristóbal Rojas municipalities and the state-owned water company Hidrocapital. Nevertheless, the final assignment of results for these indicators has been made on the basis of municipal data.

Note 2: UGI is calculated for the year 2006, while the main text provides – when applicable and relevant – updates to the situation in that year.


Indicator 1

Local government revenue per capita – LGR ($)

This indicator represents “the level of income which municipalities are able to raise from their residents, the business and the industries and from higher level of government” (UN-HABITAT, 2004b: 49). It is defined as the “total local government revenue from all sources in US dollars annually, both capital and recurrent for all local governments in the metropolitan area, averaged over the last three years, divided by the population” (ibid.). ‘The balance between the sources of income provides ← 255 | 256 → an indication of the viability, independence and control over resources of the local government, and thus its effectiveness’ (UN-HABITAT, 2003c).

There are two primary sources of revenue (World Bank, 2000b):

1. revenues collected directly by the local authority (numbers 1, 2 and 3)1

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