Residents of Guayaquil, Asociacion Movimiento Mi Cometa and the Observatorio Ciudadano de Servicios Publicos
International Water Services Project Guayaquil (“Interagua”) was supported by an $18 million MIGA guarantee in 2001. The company aims to improve services and operating performance of the existing water utility in Guayaquil, Ecuador, as a private sector operator. It is regulated by a government agency under the terms of a concession contract that sets out targets for quality of water provision, connections of potable water and sewage, and service coverage. A complaint was filed in January 2008 by residents of the city of Guayaquil, the Asociacion Movimiento Mi Cometa and the Observatorio Ciudadano de Servicios Publicos. The signatories raised concerns about cuts of residential water to the poor, lack of service hook-ups in poorer neighborhoods, lack of sewage or wastewater treatment, and compliance with the concession contract between the company and the Government of Ecuador.
Following a CAO Ombudsman assessment, the parties agreed to engage in a dialogue process to try and resolve the issues. In October 2008, a CAO team met with the parties in Guayaquil following passage of a Constitutional Referendum that prohibits water privatization in Ecuador. Although the referendum satisfied some of the complainants' concerns, they requested continued engagement with CAO to resolve 3,500 complaints that water users had submitted to the NGO, and other outstanding issues. Between November 2008 and July 2010, the parties were engaged in a CAO-facilitated dialogue process that resulted in nine signed agreements and an independent ‘Conflict Resolution Table’. The agreements and outcomes are summarized in the CAO's closure report, along with the full text of each of the agreements (View Documents below).
In July 2010, the CAO team facilitated a final stakeholder meeting to review lessons and outcomes of the Conflict Resolution Table, and to discuss outstanding issues raised in the complaint. At that meeting, the stakeholders signed a final agreement indicating steps that had been accomplished and issues that remained to be resolved. The CAO formally closed the complaint, but agreed to monitor the parties’ working agreements for a period of three months. In December 2010, the CAO facilitated a final meeting of the stakeholders, during which the parties discussed obstacles, lessons learned, and future opportunities.
The CAO concluded its involvement in January 2011 and has closed the case.