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Investigaciones geográficas

versão On-line ISSN 2448-7279versão impressa ISSN 0188-4611


QUINTERO G., Olga Patricia  e  THOMAS B., Javier Enrique. Public Policy Networks: Analysis Of Flood-Risk Management In The High Valley Of Cauca River, Colombia. Invest. Geog [online]. 2018, n.97, 00010. ISSN 2448-7279.

In Colombia, the winter season 2010-2011 was characterized by heavy rains that led to widespread flooding in various areas of Colombia. In the Department of Valle del Cauca, significant losses were reported both in villages and in rural areas. To cope with this situation, the Colombian government issued around forty one (41) decrees from different ministerial portfolios, in order to produce economic resources and create new ministries that could respond effectively and in a timely manner to the population at risk, and provide adequate attention in case of potential similar events.

Given the complexity of the actors converging within the same territory, the productive sector represented by sugarcane farmers, the municipal administrations of three departments, the local communities, the Autonomous Regional Corporations (CARs), and the academic sector, an an analysis with a theoretical support from the Public Policy Network approach is required; from it, the true capability to establish articulated and coherent interventions involving the social, public and private actors involved in risk management is reviewed. This is the core objective of the present investigation; this analyzes the relationships between public and private actors located in the corridor of the Cauca river, and the tensions and alliances between them resulting from the collision or convergence of interests, as the case may be.

Interactive techniques were used, such as workshops, meetings, semi-structured interviews, and field visits/trips were carried out in the context of the project “Conservation Corridor and Sustainable Use of the Cauca River System”, as part of the agreement between Corporación Autónoma del VAlle (CVC) and the Dutch Government. The source information of the analysis of the relationships between the social actors identified (either subjects or organizations) in flood-risk management allowed establishing interaction patterns through the use of matrices and graphs that contribute to the systemic and concise representation of the information, describing the actors according to the relationships with others rather than based on their individual attributes (Williner, 2012). This analysis was performed through an “Experts Workshop” involving professionals of the project’s interdisciplinary team from Agricultural Engineering, Water Resources, Environmental Law, Geographic Information Systems, Civil Engineering, Integrated Management of Hydric Resources, and Social Work. In these workshops, experts scored in double-entry matrices, the interaction, influence, and trust among the actors identified; these were processed through the platform UCINET 6, which produced the network structure, density, centrality (actor power), intermediation, interrelations and trust map, and influence among the different actors. (Williner, 2015).

The results show that, based on relationships across the social actors identified in the network and their impact on decision-making, there are important advances in the formation of a network. However, there are difficulties in the relationships among the social actors analyzed, given the existing interests that currently define more tensions and conflicts than alliances and coordination. That is, there is a flood-risk management network in place in the High Valley of the Cauca River, since the designed and implemented policy involves the various actors, the interdependence between them and their resources, and a condition and duration beyond flooding events. However, this is still an incipient non-institutionalized network that lacks internal processes to regulate actions with and across all stakeholders, in terms of their formal participation within the network, frequency of meetings, coordination of tasks, and mechanisms for decision-making control and monitoring. Also, this study revealed that the local environmental authorities currently face issues regarding institutional governance, weak administrative management in their areas of responsibility, and unresolved issues related to the inconsistency in the application of standards. Finally, the incorporation of new actors to these decision-making processes are key to transform existing power relations in the public-private relationship. Thus, local communities, water user associations, Risk Management Municipal Councils (CMGR) are encouraged to participate more directly in these processes, which does not imply the weakening of public participation, but instead, the strengthening of the governance and democratization processes of decision-making by the State.

Palavras-chave : Public policy networks; isk Management; floods; Valle del Cauca; Colombia.

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