Experts discuss new sanitation paradigm at Latinosan Conference

The Inter-American Development Bank is coordinating a series of discussions during the fifth latin american sanitation conference in costa rica, where representatives from various social sectors in latin america and the caribbean discuss the challenges of ensuring universal access to proper sanitation services for all.

Reaching the goal of providing safe and quality sanitation services for everyone in Latin America and the Caribbean requires a change of paradigm, focusing on service supply rather than on building infrastructure. This is the main theme that experts as well as civil society and public and private sector members will discuss at the Fifth Latin American Conference on Sanitation, Latinosan V , which opened this Monday in San Jose and was organized by the state-run Costa Rican Aqueducts and Sewers Institute (AyA).

During the discussions, which will focus on the importance of investing in adequate and sustainable sanitation infrastructure to prevent water source pollution caused by household and industrial activities, Latinosan participants will learn about best practices and lessons learned.

The IDB will present at the conference an optimal sanitation platform that seeks to promote a paradigm change in this sector in Latin America and the Caribbean. This platform calls on all actors involved in the sanitation sector for action on four main pillars:

  • People: Sanitation services with a social and inclusive focus;
  • Water security: This entails working under a healthier-basins focus to generate better health conditions and an improved social development environment;
  • Innovation and technology: This involves adopting flexible solutions, even if they are unconventional, that are scalable and adapted to each particular situation;
  • Institutions: Developing inclusive policies and efficient resource management, which in term means having governance mechanisms in place.

“If we continue investing the same amounts in the same fashion we won’t succeed to provide universal, quality sanitation services. In addition to the necessary infrastructure, such as sewerage systems and treatment plants, we need to work on technologies and ideas that can ensure that everyone in Latin America and the Caribbean will have access to safe sanitation facilities,” said IDB Infrastructure and Energy Sector Manager José Agustín Aguerre. “Investing in sanitation is not just about having a cleaner house or nicer beaches. It’s also about managing water resources in a responsible fashion to guarantee good health and wellbeing for generations to come and for our planet.”

In addition, in coordination with or with the participation of government authorities from Latin America and the Caribbean, the IDB will hold a series of conferences and discussions with public and private stakeholders and with representatives from civil society and international cooperation agencies to discuss issues such as: effective policies for sanitation in emerging cities, best sanitation practices in the rural sector, strategies to increase connectivity to the sanitation sewage network, and techniques to ensure an integral management of faecal sludge, among others.

The IDB will hold these sessions with support from multidonor Aquafund program partners, i.e., the Spanish Cooperation Agency (AECID); the Swiss government, through the Swiss Cooperation Agency for Development (COSUDE) and the Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (SECO); the government of Austria, and the PepsiCo Foundation, as well as from other partners such as the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), the International Resources Institute (IRC), One Drop, Water for the People, Water.org, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (PNUD), and the Latin American Development Bank (CAF).

At the end of Latinosan V, the 2019 Meeting of Sectoral Ministers will be held, organized by the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), convened by UNICEF and the Inter-American Development Bank, and sponsored by the government of Costa Rica.

Source: Inter-American Development Bank