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Albert Hirschman Centre on Democracy

Local environmental mobilization: formal and informal participatory mechanisms in public policies. The case of urban waste management in Buenos Aires Metropolitan Region, Argentina (2000-2020)

Timeline: 2023-24
Funding organization: Swiss Federal Commission for Scholarships for Foreign Students (FCS)
Keywords: Political participation; Grassroots organizations (GROs); Local government; Environmental policies; Urban waste management


Regarding the methodology, this is a case study focused on the comparison of the claims against four sanitary landfills in the Metropolitan Region of Buenos Aires, in Argentina. These landfills are part of a waste management policy designed in the 1970’s, during the last dictatorship. This top-down policy was contested by local organizations between the years 2000 and 2020 because of their negative environmental effects. During those years, GROs from the municipalities where the disposal sites were located-in started to conduct different claims asking for the sanitary landfills closure. In the four cases, the lack or weaknesses of institutionalized channels for public participation was underlined by the mobilized actors. Then, to obtain a response from the public officers, the GROs deployed a variety of multilevel strategies to enable channels of communication with the policy makers, including the protest, the brokering, and, in some cases, the judicialization. 

Dr Itatí Del Rosario Moreno