Key challenges for promoting the inclusion of precarious settlements in the SDG 6 Agenda of the Brazilian Urban Amazon

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Civil Engineering


- What is the research challenge?
The state capital cities of the North region of Brazil, comprised by what is called the 'Brazilian Urban Amazon', have the country's lowest indices of access to Water and Sanitation Services (WSS) and the highest proportion of people living in precarious settlements. The research challenge is to study and map the informational, legal, regulatory, financial and related barriers for the inclusion of precarious settlements in the actions to meet SDG 6 in the Brazilian Urban Amazon.

- Why is it important?
In Brazil, addressing the access gap in the North region focusing on precarious settlements will be the only way to achieve the SDG 6 targets of universal coverage and to comply with the human rights to water and sanitation (HRtWS), whose principles are set to reduce inequalities within the country and between the rich and the poor, by promoting more equitable progress in the expansion of water and sanitation services (UNICEF/WHO, 2021).

- What don't we know?
In Brazil, the figures for access to WSS services are calculated considering the mandatory areas that the utilities have to serve, which generally excludes neighbourhoods with land tenure issues. Thus, precarious settlements are commonly not accounted for in the official indicators and plans of the country, of municipalities and of utilities. Although there are experiences of successful projects of WSS provision to precarious settlements in Brazil in the Northeast and Southeast regions, there is no institutionalised framework established to capture the reality of WSS access in illegal areas (Guimaraes, 2016). Thus, there is no study of the current status of the inequalities in WSS provision to the rich and to the poor, nor into whether the access gap is concentrated in precarious settlements. Also, it is unclear how local authorities and service providers are tackling the issue of WSS provision in urban precarious settlements, especially in the state capital cities of the North of Brazil, where the highest WSS access gap is found.

- How will the project be carried out?
The project will be divided into three phases:
i) To produce disaggregated data for WSS in urban precarious settlements of the North of Brazil;
ii) To investigate the inclusiveness of precarious settlements in the legal, regulatory, policy and related instruments and identify lessons from other Brazilian experiences;
iii) To assess the financial mechanisms in use in the state capital cities of the North region of Brazil, in terms of whether WSS are reaching precarious settlements and how effectively they are doing so.

- What will be the impact?
The intended impact is to shed light on the human rights to water and sanitation and the need for inclusion of precarious settlements in WSS provision in the Brazilian Amazon, incentivising further monitoring, and informing local governments and service providers to put in place inclusive public policies and planning instruments with more efficient allocation of resources to this end.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/S022066/1 31/05/2019 30/11/2027
2596642 Studentship EP/S022066/1 30/09/2021 29/09/2025 Lais Freitas Dos Santos