Consultation for Community Participation on Water, Cayo

18 Oct 2011

image Water Board Act Consultation Participants, Cayo District

National Consultation for Community Participation and Feedback on Proposed Water Board Act Legislation continues in Belmopan on Tuesday August 23, 2011

The Ministry of Labour, Local Government and Rural Development (MLLGRD) in partnership with the National Association of Village Councils (NAVCO) and with support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is hosting a series of consultations with village councils, water boards and interested community members. The purpose is to obtain community participation and feedback on the proposed amendments to the Water Board Act legislation. The first consultation was held on August 12, 2011 in the Toledo District on Friday at the Father Ring Parish Hall with an impressive turnout of participants. The second consultation will be held on August 23, 2011 at the Belmopan Convention Hotel beginning at 8:30 AM. Interested persons from the Cayo District are invited to attend.

In September 2000 the world’s Heads of States met at the United Nations Millennium Summit and adopted eight development objectives, known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be achieved by 2015. The MDGs identified key actions and concrete targets for human development. Under Millennium Development Goal 7 ‘Ensuring Environmental Sustainability’, Target 7C aims to halve the population that is without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. The country of Belize has set its own target of 100% access to water and sanitation by 2015, making it an ‘MDG plus’ country.

The country of Belize has made remarkable progress towards this ambitious target, however several bottlenecks related to institutional capacity, good governance practices, policy development, sound planning and community empowerment threaten the achievement of MDG 7C. In 2010, Belize was one of 10 pilot countries that participated in the MDG Acceleration Framework (MAF) which looks at impediments to progress in achieving the MDG 7C, through an evidence-based approach.

As part of the MAF, a Country Action Plan was developed which identified the Water Board Act as needing revision and strengthening. In response to the identified challenges, the MLLGRD in partnership with NAVCO and with support from UNDP have developed the draft of the proposed amendments to the Water Board Act legislation which is now open for public comment, through national level consultations. These consultations will provide feedback before presenting the proposed legislation to the National Assembly for consideration.

The proposed legislation aims to produce a Water Board Act that can accommodate the needs of small and large rural communities. It seeks to give better guidance and direction to the systems and practices of local government in Belize towards greater equity, efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency in the delivery of local services. It will also promote greater participation and inclusion of women.