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ecuador-political-mapPopulation: 15,492,264

HDI ranking: 89/187

HDI score: 0.724

Ecuador enacted several reforms in the 1990s that set up a framework for decentralization; however, the government did not follow through with establishing laws or policies until the 2000s. Today, progress is being made to implement these laws and promote decentralized local governments.

Local governance at a glance

  • The country is divided into:
    • 21 provinces, each with an autonomous council;
    • 221 municipalities, or cantons; and
    • 1,500 Parishes.
  • Provincial and municipal authorities are directly elected by a secret popular vote (UN, 2007).

Civil society actors include

  • Grupo FARO monitors and evaluates the transparency within the oil industry in Ecuador (IDB, 2012).
  • Fundamedios emphasizes the importance of democratic media organizations and transparent journalism.

Capacity building institutions

Fiscal control

  • Local government expenditures are reportedly around 23.4 percent of total government expenditure, or roughly 4.5 percent of GDP (UCLG, 2010).

Key initiatives for participatory local governance

  • in 2008, Ecuador approved a new Constitution aiming to promote human rights, democracy and  transparency. In addition, the country has adopted a policy that all public budgets must explain how they promote gender equality (GIZ, n.d.).
  • The Ministry of Nonrenewable Natural Resources committed to improve access to information regarding the oil sector. In recent years, transparency has been improved, but more efforts are needed to continue improvements (IDB, 2012).

Challenges for participatory local governance

  • The Inter-American Development Bank 2012 report acknowledges three particular challenges concerning transparency within the government and the oil sector (IDB, 2012):
    • The standards set for participants in the oil industry are not equal, and the government discriminates against particular groups, making some working conditions more favorable than others.
    • Citizens are meant to own, and have an equal stake in, the oil industry; however, oil revenues are not equally distributed. Interest groups with more political influence benefit from a higher percentage of oil revenues, negatively impacting the welfare of the general citizens.
    • Access to information is limited regarding the level of oil exploitation and how the general society would be best served.

Recent posts on this website about this country:


List of sources (in order of citation):

United Nations, 2007: “Republic of Ecuador”

USAID, 2006: “Decentralization and Democratic Local Governance Program”

Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), 2012: “Open Government and Targeted Transparency: Trends and Challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean”

GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit): “Modernisation and decentralisation”

United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), 2010: “Gold II Report”