Model Law for Eco-Municipalities

In February, 1999, Peter Berg, Director of Planet Drum Foundation, traveled to Bahía de Caráquez in Ecuador, on an invitation to collaborate in discussions about the future of the human and natural environment of the area, which has been ravished by natural calamities over the past several years. Out of these meetings (which Peter has documented in his Ecuador Dispatches) came the following By-Law declaring an Eco-City. We offer it here as a model that other municipalities may use in developing language appropriate to their specific bioregions.

Declaration of

The Very Illustrious Municipal Council of Sucre County

In exercise of the faculty given by the Law of  Municipalities on title II: by the Municipal  Government Chapter VII: Of the Deciding Acts of the Council, Articles 126,127, 128 and 129:

Considering That

There have been enacted several National Laws, Institutional Norms and Municipal By-Laws geared to the protection and management of natural resources of the area, that is:

  • Beaches as National Reserves Area, Tourism Master Plan, CETUR, 1989
  • Tourist Interest Zone, DITURIS 1984
  • Frigate Bird Islands Mangrove Bird Sanctuary, Sucre Municipality, 1990
  • Operating Plan ZEM Bahia, San Vicente and Canoa, P.M.R.C.

THAT Government and Non-Government agencies in addition to several companies are developing  several projects which are strictly ecological, some of which are already working and are pioneers in their field, regionally and  nationally, that is:

  • Organic and Inorganic Matter Recycling at the Bahia de Caraquez Market Center.
  • Eco-paper workshop, handmade recycling of paper.
  • Organic Farm and Environmentalist School in Rio Muchacho.
  • Agro-ecological Project at Encarnacion.
  • Ecological Tourist Circuits: Dry Tropical Forest, Caves, Archaeology, Mangroves and Wetlands.
  • Homeless Ecological Subdivision.
  • Environmental Interpretation Center of the Estuary.
  • Mangrove ecopaths on Heart Island.

THAT Bahia urban area has been gravely altered in its soil structure by the “El Nino” phenomenon, increasing the weakening of vegetal layers already affected by the existence of agricultural and urban borders.

THAT there is a study and diagnosis of the watershed and hydrographic contributions to the Chone River estuary and the hillsides of the Bahia urban area, which recommends a special treatment including the surrounding forest zone, that concludes in the formation of a protecting forest corridor.

THAT the Sucre County Municipality has begun an urban reforestation plan which includes a high vegetation level for parks, sidewalks and parterres.

THAT there exists an evolving process of environmental awareness of the city’s inhabitants and an increasing level of participation and community self-planning for sustainable management, all of which leads to proposing this long term development for the benefit of the resident population.


To issue the following Declaration of Bahia de Caraquez “Ciudad Ecologica” (Ecological City) By-Law:

Art. 1 To declare Bahia de Caraquez an Ecological City so that its evolution is within a new order of shared responsibility for development towards the third millennium.

Art. 2 To create an Environmental Affairs Municipal Department to coordinate all management, including continuous environmental learning for all personnel and allocate budget allowances to sustain this work in the long term.

Art. 3 To strengthen the citizens awareness campaign with public and private participation, in order to create an environmental culture to be in accordance with the Sucre County general development and sustainability plans.

Art. 4 To declare as a reserve zone the ecological formation of the dry tropical forest, within the Bahia urban area in order to regulate its use and thus preserve its already existing biodiversity.

Art. 5 To promote the integral development of Bahia de Caraquez and its zone of influence relating to the economic and industrial areas by creating an Industrial Park in the Las Coronas area, between Kilometro 8 of the Bahia Chone Highway and San Clemente in an area of influence to Punta Bellaca Port, with characteristics of a breakwater pier; Bahia San Vicente bridge, amongst other projects.

Art. 6 To elaborate one or more sets of ordinances to implement a new social process, assigning technical people and budget allowances to maintain efficient operation for the management systems of urban settlements such as land zoning, sewage waters, solid refuse and construction projects to develop Sucre County.

Given and signed in the Council Chamber of the Illustrious County of Sucre Council, this twenty third day of February of nineteen hundred ninety-nine.

Signed by

Dr Luis Mendoza Rodriguez
Vice-Mayor (Vice-Presidente) of Sucre Council

I certify that this By Law declaring Bahia de Caraquez as an Ecological City, was discussed and approved in ordinary and extraordinary sessions of the very Illustrious County Council on the 22nd and 23rd of February, 1999 in a first and second debate, respectively.

Signed by

Patricio Pablo Paez
Secretary of the very I. Sucre Municipality

Send three copies of this present By-Law to his Lordship the Mayor of the Sucre County to be signed and enacted.

Bahia de Caraquez, February 26, 1999

Signed by

Dr. Luis Mendoza Rodriguez
Vice-Mayor of the County

According to the current articles 72, numbers 31, 127, 128 and 129 and 133 of the Municipal Law of Municipalities, I approve and enact by the publication through the local radio stations, the By-Law declaring Bahia de Caraquez as Eco City.

Bahia de Caraquez, March 1, 1999

Signed by

Abg. Fernando Cassis Martinez
Mayor of Sucre County

He signed and ordered its promulgation (enactment) through a publication of the county radio stations, of this By-Law declaring Bahia de Caraquez, Ecological City, His Lordship Fernando Cassis Martinez, lawyer, Mayor of Sucre County, the first of March of nineteen hundred and ninety nine. I certify it.

Signed by

Patricio Pablo Paez
Secretary of the very I. Municipality of Sucre

Each page is signed and contains the seal indicating this to be a true copy of the original.

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