The complexities in sustainable development configure a paradigm that makes effective environmental management necessary. Such goal depends mainly on the creation and deployment of public policies. To make an effective environmental management occur, it is utterly necessary that society takes part on the administration processes. In this sense, the Municipal Environmental Councils are key parts of a local environmental management aiming to increase quality of life. Literature emphasizes that the efficiency of these institutions is related above all with its structure and functioning. Based on this, the main objective of research is to identify opportunities for improving these same features on the particular activities of Municipal Council Management and Environmental Sanitation of Santo André (COMUGESAN). The method consisted on bibliographical, documental and qualitative research during the year of 2008. The research is based on an exploratory case in the city of Santo André, SP. It was observed that the role of Municipal Environment Councils in environmental management transcends the actions limited to a process of decision making, formulation and deployment of local policies. On the contrary, it extends above all to an enduring effort to maintain the COMUGESAN as an area of citizenship construction and education. Six aspects of improvement were identified: Structural; Composition and representativeness; Skill improvement; Environmental education; Information; Continuous evaluation. As a result, we suggest COMUGESAN should formulate activities in order to improve common people's skills on environmental matters, for instance, by funding advisers forming school, and other several activities involving continuous education and periodic internal diagnosis.
Local Environmental Management; Environmental Public Policies; Environment Council; Sustainable Development; Public Health