Municipal Environmental Management Indicators: A Bottom-Up Approach Applied to the Colombian Context
The participation of local governments is one of the determining factors for achieving the objectives of sustainable development, whereby municipalities must have planning, assessment, control instruments, and indicators which will lead to proper environmental management and sustainable development. In this respect the existing models of sustainability indicators reflect, mainly, the state of the environment. However, these indicators do not allow the identification of the state of the environment’s direct responsible actors and do not contribute towards the formulation of specific objectives and goals for each of the responsible actors. Furthermore, the sustainable development indicators are elaborated and measured by higher level entities, and are aimed towards a regional and national level, using a top-down approach. In this context, this paper proposes a model of environmental management indicators that lets us observe the state of the environment and identifies those responsible for that state. The set of indicators was developed in the municipalities of the department of Nariño, Colombia, through a participatory bottom-up approach which includes: the vision and needs of the stakeholders, who are responsible for the information, and the vision of the regional control organisms. Thus, a set of 40 environmental management indicators was formulated, and a framework to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the local environmental management was proposed. Their application indicates that a majority of the municipalities are in a weak environmental management situation and it lets the stakeholders critically analyze their performance through the set of indicators and also identify areas for improvement.