Authorities and representatives of LATAM institutions discuss the future of water

Authorities and representatives of Latin America participated today in the first day of a virtual seminar on the future of water, in which the current situation and the future of infrastructures related to the water sector are analyzed. A forum organized by RDN global, which will last three days and which includes networking activities for companies in the Region.

In his speech, preceded by that of the Minister of Public Works of Chile, Alfredo Moreno, the permanent secretary of the Council of Ibero-American Entrepreneurs, CEIB, Narciso Casado, underscored the important role that water and sanitation projects play in the region, since they represent an important social vector; and they constitute an element of territorial cohesion and dynamizer of economic growth, through the improvement of productivity and as a consolidation of social development.

This set of factors, Casado indicated, pose an added problem to deal with diseases such as Covid, since water and hygiene are needed to prevent the spread of the virus. The lack of adequate infrastructure, he added, has led to a scarcity and unequal distribution of water resources, which make access to clean water difficult, so we must bet on an adequate management of these resources, as it is a fundamental tool for ensure the supply of drinking water, and its sustainable use, as well as the treatment of wastewater. In fact, it reported, according to the United Nations, water scarcity affects more than 40% of the world's population. A figure, he explained, that presents a growing trend, as well as alarming, due to the increase in temperatures and climate change.

The permanent secretary of CEIB, Narciso Casado, reported that, within the framework of UN-Water, a United Nations mechanism of which 31 UN entities and 39 external partner organizations are part, a round of high-level meetings was recently organized with Ministers of Economy and Finance from around the world to advance the acceleration of SDG 6 (Clean water and sanitation).

According to Casado, the meetings were held for the first time at the regional level to promote a dialogue more focused on the deficiencies of each area, and promote a better exchange of information between countries that face similar problems and challenges. And to alleviate this problem, he said, efforts are being focused on developing and strengthening alliances with the governments of the Region to make "smart investments in water, sanitation and hygiene." He also stressed that actions should be implemented to finance the sector and to prioritize investments in water in the countries' economic recovery strategies. In this sense, he referred to what has come to be called '4RI', a series of new emerging and disruptive technologies corresponding to the '4th industrial revolution', which include highly advanced methods of organization, production and distribution, based on transformation digital and innovation.

In fact, institutions like the IDB recall that the current water and sanitation problems in the Region cannot be solved using conventional methods. Therefore, said Casado, water resources will continue to be reduced as the population grows and climate change continues to explode, to which are added problems and obstacles that affect water governance and political barriers to transboundary management. of this precious asset.

CEIB's permanent secretary recalled a phrase from Luis Carranza, CAF's executive president, in a conference that was recently organized and that said: “Valuing water is calling for action, recognizing its importance for life, health, the growth and well-being of all people, and therefore it is also to make a call for the efficient use and conservation of this resource ”.

At the last Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in La Antigua, Guatemala, in 2018, the need for a developed infrastructure in the Region was recognized. And under this purpose, Ibero-American leaders, informed Casado, will participate and highlight the main recommendations of the private sector in this area during the XXVII Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government: "Innovation for Sustainable Development – 2030 Goal", which It will be held in April 2021 in Andorra.

In the same way, the permanent secretary of CEIB recently recalled the commitment of the United Nations to raise awareness about people who lack safe sanitation services, through the campaign: "Sustainable sanitation and climate change", which advocates for sustainable sanitation for all, clean water and adequate facilities.

Collaboration and digitization

Faced with this panorama, collaboration is the only way out, assured Casado. It is time to join forces, to invest, to bet on sectors with high added value, to make everything add up, always united the public sector and companies. This has been demonstrated in recent months by authorities and business leaders, according to the CEIB representative, providing solutions, launching solidarity initiatives and collaborating with society, corroborating, once again, that public-private collaboration must be at the center of all policies, and it must serve to rebuild our economies and our countries.

For this reason, he claimed, we need to establish public and private strategies, assume the sustainability of projects and companies, ensure their competitiveness, encourage foreign investment and innovation, and guarantee the survival of all companies, small and big.

The permanent secretary of CEIB considered it essential to advance in the adoption of technologies that facilitate the processes of water treatment, sanitation and distribution. New technologies are key for the integration of water systems and their users, through digital platforms, data analysis, and analysis hydrological, climate and use. A complete revolution for the water and infrastructure sector.

Casado highlighted that “everything mentioned above constitutes an intense work of Pedagogy based on concepts such as collaboration and determination to create smart and resilient businesses, communities, cities and nations through sustainable, affordable and scalable projects. Only with this, we will be able to make More Iberoamerica ”.

An intense program

Also on the first day, today, the Minister of Public Works of Chile, Alfredo Moreno and the Director of Drinking Water and Sanitation of the Ministry of Public Works and Communications of Paraguay, Hugo Ruiz; as well as other representatives of both ministries and senior officials of Ibero-American institutions and companies. The economic reactivation plan and the new opportunities in Chile were analyzed during the event; and the investment possibilities and needs in Paraguay in the water sector; among other issues.

The general director of Waters of the Ministry of Public Works of Chile, Óscar Cristi Marfil; the executive president of the National Association of Sanitary Services Companies, Jessica López; the Director of Strategic Projects of said Ministry, Jorge Vergara; the Director of Water Operations at Veolia, Manuel Barrera; the general manager of the Santiago Maipo Water Fund, Claudia Papić; the Program Director of the Secretariat for the Promotion and Support of Alliances of Federative Entities of Brazil, Manoel Renato Machado; and the Water Coordinator of the Development Bank of Latin America-CAF, Franz Rojas.

On the second day of the forum, it will be the turn of the Minister of Housing, City and Territory of Colombia, Jonathan Malagón; the Vice Minister of Construction and Sanitation of Peru, Julio César Kosaka; as well as other government authorities of these and other countries of the Region; and representatives of leading institutions, such as the European Investment Bank.

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