Graduate Students Research Presentation Series
"Governance and its Role in Community Adaptations to Environmental Stresses under Decentralization Programs in Southwestern Uruguay"
Since the turn of the 21st century, climate change and globalization have critically affected the southwestern region of Uruguay. Community responses to environmental stresses created by natural and anthropogenic phenomena have been addressed by recent political decentralization policies and programs. Based on semi-structured interviews with key informants from the market, state, and civil society, participant observation and reports from local public meetings and assemblies, this study explores how community governance processes under the decentralization programs promoted through Municipios and Mesas de Desarrollo Rural influenced adaptive actions to environmental stresses in four communities of southwestern Uruguay. The governance processes focused on consultancy, involvement, and collaboration, which mostly facilitated adaptive actions from the national government. Decentralized governance facilitated information exchange between the actors involved, but community empowerment represented a challenge for the development of adaptive actions at the local level due to the limited resources and dependency on outside state institutions.