Consultation for Community Participation on Water, Belize

06 Sep 2011

imageParticipants of Water Board Consultation, Belize District

National Consultation for Community Participation and Feedback on Proposed Water Board Act Legislation continues in the Belize District on Wednesday, September 7, 2011

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 a ‘MDG plus’ country.

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 has developed the draft of the proposed amendments to the Water Board Act which is now open for public comment, through national level consultations. These consultations will provide feedback before presentation of the proposed legislation to the Government of Belize for consideration.

The proposed legislation aims to produce a Water Board Act that can accommodate the needs of small rural and large urban 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.

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. The second of the sixth consultation was held on August 23, 2011 in the Cayo District at the Belmopan Convention Hotel. The third consultation will be held on Wednesday September 7, 2011 for the Belize District at the Ladyville Community Center commencing at 8:30 a.m. sharp.