Regional Assembly having a session. Photo credits: Internacional IDEA Bolivia.
The governor of the autonomous region of Santa Cruz, Rubén Costas, presented on Monday, 9 March 2020, the law No. 187, which he himself had earlier enacted after its unanimous approval in the region’s legislative assembly.
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The enactment and subsequent presentation of this law highlights the importance of metropolitan processes in Santa Cruz, as the norm lays out the need to create a council made up of the city of Santa Cruz’s municipality and the nearby municipalities of Porongo, Cotoca, La Guardia, El Torno and Warnes in order to deal with strategic problems, that for the most part, transcend the capability of local government.
The metropolitan area of Santa Cruz has evolved in a spontaneous manner through the combined natural growth of both its own municipality and that of neighboring municipalities. However, this metropolitan conurbation, which exists in practice, lacks its very own institutional foundation. Even if municipal governments have jurisdiction, both in terms of geography as well as limited authority, the problems of the people in this urban sprawl transcend such limits. This situation has brought about the need to address governance comprehensively and in a holistic manner, and deal with issues such as solid residue, citizens’ security, urban mobility, among others, which require specific institutional and governance tools to facilitate an effective administration.
Upon presentation of the norm, its participative character was brought to light and the value of contributions made by other metropolitan areas, both nationally and internationally, was acknowledged. Both the legislative assembly’s deputy chairperson, Mariela Paniagua, as well as Governor Costas, made use of their speeches to express their gratitude to institutions, such as International IDEA, which helped throughout the deliberation process and facilitated the exchange of expertise.
Within the framework of the Gender and Youth Democracy Project, International IDEA has been providing technical assistance to the regional autonomous government of Santa Cruz towards the consolidation of its metropolitan area. Having enacted the aforementioned norm, the formation of a metropolitan council is now envisaged, followed by a strategic plan for the metropolitan area.