No 1 - April 2002
General Coordination: José Esteban Castro
Editorial Assistant: Alexander Loftus
In this issue
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One of the key tasks of the Oxford team as PRINWASS co-ordinator in this first period was the organization of the First Project Workshop with the participation of representatives of all research groups, which took place in Oxford on 22-23 April. The quality of the presentations made by the individual teams was very high, and this contributed not only to the academic success of the meeting in relation to the most immediate project’s goals but also to the development of a very strong bond and team spirit among the members.
The two intensive days of work as a closed group were followed by the two-day First PRINWASS International Conference, an open meeting that brought together water experts, academics, representatives of the private sector, NGOs, and labour unions, practitioners, and students to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing interdisciplinary research efforts in the water sector. The conference was a very inspiring event for the international audience that attended the different sessions during the two days.
The Oxford team has been also very active with research and additional dissemination activities, which include the extension and consolidation of the research network. Prior to the April events, the team organized two research meetings: the First and the Second research workshops, which focused on the economic, policy-institutional and cultural aspects affecting the participation of the private sector in the provision of water and sanitation.
In November, during the first month of the project’s life, Dr José Esteban Castro was invited as keynote speaker at the International Conference on Rural-Urban Encounters: Managing the Environment of the Peri-Urban Interface, organized by The Development Planning Unit, University College London, London, 9-10 November 2001, where he delivered a paper on “The Governance of Environmental Management”. He also presented a paper on “Urban water and the politics of citizenship” at the 98th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Session “Water and Society: Power, Scale, and Boundaries (II)”, Los Angeles, Ca., USA, 13–25 March 2002.
He has also completed several articles in this period, including "Urban water: a political-ecology perspective" (E. Swyngedouw, J. E. Castro, and M. Kaïka) (2002), in Built Environment, Special Issue on "Sustainable water use in urban areas"; "London: structural continuities and institutional change in water management" (J. E. Castro, E. Swyngedouw, and M. Kaïka) (2002), in European Planning Studies, Special issue on "Water for the city: trends, policy issues and the challenge of sustainability"; and "La construcción de nuevas incertidumbres, tecnociencia, y la política de la desigualdad: el caso de la gestión de los recursos hídricos", Revista Iberoamericana de Ciencias, Tecnología, Sociedad e Innovación, Organización de Estados Americanos para la Educación, la Ciencia y la Cultura, ISSN: 1681-5645, #2, January-April 2002.
Dr Castro has also been involved in teaching activities relevant to PRINWASS: during the Winter Term he was an invited lecturer at the MSc in Environment and Sustainable Development, at the The Development Planning Unit, University College London, where he chaired the course "Urban and Regional Political Ecology".
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The Tampere University of Technology team (CADWAS) participating in PRINWASS will also be a partner in WATERTIME, another EU-INCO funded research project. The European Commission has recently accepted this project, which is currently under final negotiations. WATERTIME is co-ordinated by the University of Greenwich, Public Services International Research Unit. WATERTIME addresses the issue of how to improve the quality of urban life by reaching economically, socially and environmentally sustainable decisions on water systems in cities. The team of partners is drawn from different parts of Europe - Spain, Italy, UK, Germany, Finland, Hungary - and with a range of expertise, including economics, political science, environmental science and law, water institutions. The project will study current decision-making on water systems in 29 European cities, and will look at their long-term historical experience. The objectives and expected results of WATERTIME have substantial synergy with the PRINWASS project. WATERTIME will be implemented during the period 2003-2005.
The co-ordinator of the TUT/IEEB team, Dr Tapio Katko has together with his colleague Dr Jarmo Hukka recently compiled a very interesting document on water privatisation. The document, “Water privatisation revisited – panacea or pancake?”, will be published later this year in the Occasional Paper Series of the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC), Delft, the Netherlands.
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In addition to the preparation for their participation in the PRINWASS meetings in late April in Oxford, the University of the Aegean team composed by Dr Harry Coccossis and Mr Giorgos Kallis has just updated the web page with the final reports of the METRON project. METRON is a comparative study of “sustainable water management” in five cities (Amsterdam, Athens, London, Seville and Tel Aviv), and was coordinated by Coccossis and Kallis. The Oxford team, led by Dr Erik Swyngedouw and composed by Dr José Esteban Castro and Dr Maria Kaika, all at the School of Geography and the Environment, were also partners in METRON and carried out the London case study among other tasks. The working papers and final reports can be accessed and downloaded from the site METRON.
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The Newcastle-CESU team, composed by Nina Laurie and Carlos Crespo, is finishing the last touches of a consultancy report for the UK Department for International Development (DFID) on “An examination of the changing contexts for developing pro-poor water initiatives via concessions. The cases of La Paz-El Alto and Cochabamba”. They are organizing a workshop on 19 April in the city of La Paz, Bolivia, to present preliminary results and to discuss the possibilities of introducing a pro-poor approach in Bolivian water policies.
Also, on 10 April Nina and Carlos will present papers on the Cochabamba “Water War” at the International Conference on Development, Natural Resources, and Conflicts, San Simon University, Cochabamba.
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Coordinated by Dr. Marcelo Vargas, professor of Social Sciences, the Brazilian team includes two master's degree students, Mr. Alessandro Leme and Mr. Roberval Lima, as well as a research partnership with Dr Ricardo Toledo Silva, an architect at Sao Paulo University (USP). Mr. Alessandro Leme’s dissertation addresses the privatization of the electric sector in Brazil, while Mr. Roberval Lima’s topic is the controversial privatization of water and sanitation services in Limeira, a rich municipality of the Sao Paulo State. Both students and Dr. Silva are helping Dr. Vargas to elaborate an original contribution to PRINWASS theoretical and methodological documents on the economic and policy arguments dealing with the privatization of public utilities and regulation. The Brazilian group expects to make a substantial contribution to the critical analytical framework being developed by the PRINWASS team.
Dr Vargas and Dr Silva are also participating in an informal research group on City, urban services and citizenship, coordinated by Mrs. Vera Telles, professor of Sociology at Sao Paulo University and director of the university's Citizenship Rights Studies Centre (CENEDIC). This group prepared an annual research report about this theme that will be published soon, including articles by Dr Silva ("Public and private in the provision of Brazil's urban infrastructure") and Dr. Vargas ("Challenges of the transition to a regulated market in Brazil's water and sanitation sector"). The whole report, which includes other essays on urban transport and urban rights under globalisation, is written in Portuguese, but an English version of Dr. Vargas' article will be available by mid April. Also, Alessandro Leme has written a chapter in a recently published book - Water Resource Uses and Management in Brazil, Rima, São Carlos – jointly edited by Leme, Norma Felicidade, and Rodrigo Martins, all from the Federal University of Sao Carlos.
Carmen Ledo has just completed her PhD at the Faculty of Architecture, Technical University of Delft, The Netherlands, and her promotion will take place on 24 June. The title of her thesis is: Urbanisation and Poverty in the Cities of the Bolivian National Economic Corridor (Case Study: Cochabamba), which focuses on the multi-dimensional aspects of poverty, deprivation and vulnerability. Access to water services is one of the key dimensions of her research.
She has now been invited to write a chapter for one of the forthcoming books by the International Water History Association (IWHA) - Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP), University of Bergen, Norway. The title of the books are History of Water Control and River Biographies, Worlds of Water, and The Political Ecology of Water.
She has recently presented a paper on the Cochabamba "Water War" at the International Conference on Development, Natural Resources, and Conflicts at San Simon University, Cochabamba, April 2002.
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Lic. Daniel Azpiazu, with the support of Lic. Karina Forcinito, coordinates the research of the economic and regulatory dimensions of the project’s Argentine case study. They submitted a paper on “Privatisation of the water and sanitation systems in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area: regulatory discontinuity, corporate non-performance, extraordinary profits and distributional inequality” at the PRINWASS First Project Workshop.
Lic. Azpiazu is also Director of the Research Project Privatization and Regulation in the Argentine Economy (No. 02360, Res. No. 792 June 2001, CONICET, 2001-03). He is also Director of the Argentine research team in ECOS, a project funded by the Secretariat for Technology, Science, and Productive Innovation (Argentina) within the Technical Co-operation Programme with France (Code A01H01, 2001-03). ECOS is a comparative study of the management and evolution of water and sanitation services in Argentina and France, focusing on the problems and challenges derived from privatization and the need for the improvement of the mechanisms of control and regulation of these services.
Azpiazu and Forcinito have had also a very active publication agenda since PRINWASS started, which include:
Azpiazu, D., E. Basualdo, M. Abeles, C. Arza, K. Forcinito, J. Pesce, and M. Schorr, (April 2002), El proceso de privatización en Argentina. La renegociación con las empresas privatizadas, Buenos Aires: Página 12/UNQ/IDEP.
Azpiazu, D. (edit.) (2002, in press), Políticas públicas y poder económico en la Argentina Contemporánea. El papel de las privatizaciones en la consolidación de una sociedad excluyente, Buenos Aires: UNQ/FLACSO/IDEP.
Azpiazu, D. and M. Schorr (2001), “Privatizaciones, rentas de privilegio, subordinación estatal y acumulación del capital en la Argentina contemporánea”, Instituto de Estudios y Formación de la Central de los Trabajadores Argentinos, Buenos Aires.
Azpiazu, D. (2001), “Privatizaciones y regulación pública en la Argentina. Captura institucional y preservación de beneficios extraordinarios”, in D. Azpiazu, K. Forcinito, and M. Schorr, “Privatizaciones en la Argentina. Renegociación permanente, consolidación de privilegios, ganancias extraordinarias y captura institucional”, Documento de Trabajo No. 2, Project Privatisation and Regulation in the Argentine Economy (BID 1201/OC-AR PICT 99-02-07523, FLACSO-Argentina).
Azpiazu, D. and K. Forcinito (2001), “La renegociación permanente, los incumplimientos empresarios y las rentas de privilegio. La regulación pública del sistema de agua y saneamiento en el Area Metropolitana”, in D. Azpiazu, K. Forcinito, and M. Schorr, “Privatizaciones en la Argentina. Renegociación permanente, consolidación de privilegios, ganancias extraordinarias y captura institucional”, Documento de Trabajo No. 2 Project Privatisation and Regulation in the Argentine Economy (BID 1201/OC-AR PICT 99-02-07523, FLACSO-Argentina).
Azpiazu, D. and E. Basualdo (2001), “Concentración económica y regulación de los servicios públicos”, in Revista Enoikos, Vol. IX, No. 15, 2001.
Azpiazu, D. and Schorr, M. (2001), “Privatizaciones en la Argentina. Desnaturalización de la regulación pública y ganancias extraordinarias”, in Realidad Económica, No. 184.
Azpiazu, D. “Privatizaciones y regulación pública en la Argentina. Captura institucional y preservación de beneficios extraordinarios”, paper presented at the VI Congreso Internacional del CLAD sobre Reforma del Estado y de la Administración Pública, Buenos Aires, 5-9 November 2001.
Azpiazu, D. and K. Forcinito, “La renegociación permanente, los incumplimientos empresarios y las rentas de privilegio. La regulación pública del sistema de agua y saneamiento en el Area Metropolitana”, paper presented at the VI Congreso Internacional del CLAD sobre Reforma del Estado y de la Administración Pública, Buenos Aires, 5-9 de November 2001.
Azpiazu, D., Panelist on “Legal Security, Contractual Modification and the State’s Regulatory Capacity” at the Seminario Internacional del Ente de Control de los Servicios Públicos de la Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires: Regulación con Equidad, Tarifas Justas y Ganancias Razonables, Buenos Aires, 19-20 March 2002.
The FLACSO Argentina team is also engaged in teaching activities highly relevant to PRINWASS. Lic. Azpiazu, with the collaboration of E. Basualdo and K. Forcinito, is chairing a course on “Economic agents and socialactors: the privatization in Argentina. Regulatory frameworks, extraordinary rent and economic power”, at the master programmes in Political Science and Economic Sociology, Institute of Higher Social Studies (IDAES), Nacional University of San Martín, Buenos Aires.
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The National University of Misiones (UNAM) team (Argentina), led by Dr Jorge Próspero Roze, participates in the project with local and international funding. Last March, the university signed a cooperation agreement with the Inter-university Research Centre for Developing Countries (Centro Interuniversitario di Ricerca sui Paesi in via di Sviluppo, CIRPS), at L'Università degli Studi di Roma «La Sapienza». Through this agreement, the Italian institution will fund a local research project on "Public policy and social change in the Argentinean northeast. The impact of the privatization of water and sanitation services". This project, conceived as UNAM's contribution to PRINWASS, will extend the reach of the Argentine case study to include four provinces in the northeastern region of the country: Chaco, Misiones, Formosa and Corrientes, where private sector participation in the provision of water and sanitation has been at variance with the experience of the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area.
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The research team at the Instituto Gino Germani (UBA) has secured additional funding after being granted the “Tri-annual Subsidy for Technology, Science and Productive Innovation” within the Fifth Framework Programme for Co-operation with the European Union. The subsidy that has a lifetime of three years (2002-2005) will allow the team at UBA to hire an additional full-time researcher and ensure that all members of the team will be able to attend the different international meetings foreseen during the PRINWASS project. It will make an important contribution towards local dissemination efforts. Although given the current crisis affecting Argentina the budget for the subsidy has been frozen by the national government, we expect that the situation will be normalized in the course of the next few weeks.
The group at UBA is also embarked in the extension of the research network at the regional level, and has already established links with research teams working on related topics in Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Cuba.
The team has also established contact with the company “Aguas Bonaerenses”, which since 19 March 2002 has taken over the concesion for water supply and sanitation left vacant by the early exit of Azurix (Grupo Enron), the troubled water utility privatized in 1999 by the provincial government. Aguas Bonaerenses has requested professional assistance for the design and implementation of a “social tariff” for the poorest sectors within the company’s concession and for monitoring the complaints presented by the users in relation to issues such as the technical quality of the service. The UBA team, together with the other Argentinean teams, expect to develop a working relationship with Aguas Bonaerenses.
Regarding dissemination, Emilio Crenzel will participate in the Tercer Congreso Internacional CEISAL 2002 "Cruzando Fronteras en América Latina", in the session on "Water and Sanitation in Latin America" organized by the PRINWASS coordination. His paper will focus on the characteristics of access to water supply and sanitation accross the different “social territories” of the conurbated area of metropolitan Buenos Aires.
Finally, the team is working in the development of a project web page within the Institute’s web site for the dissemination of information related to PRINWASS in Argentina.
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Last updated: June 2017