STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Providing safe sanitation for all in Latin America requires not only significant investments, but a change of paradigm to be able to do more with less resources. Right now, only 22 percent to the population of Latin America and the Caribbean have access to those services.
That was the main message of the focus on the Americas at the World Water week held in Stockholm on August 25 to 30. The meeting, was attended by government and civil society representatives as well as academics from around the world under the motto “Water for society: Including all” focused on the need to change the business as usual approach to close the gaps in access to clean water and secure sanitation services. The discussions highlight the need for new approaches to development and planning in a global scenario of less financial resources for water and sanitation.
That change of paradigm is the center of the optimal sanitation platform, launched by the IDB during World Water week.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) coordinates the focus on the Americas, which highlights the region’s challenges and opportunities to satisfy the need for water and sanitation, with a strong emphasis on innovation to bridge the gaps in basic services in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The center of this new paradigm is shifting the focus from building infrastructure to provide secure sanitation services to those who need them. The optimal sanitation approach has four main pillars: working with the beneficiaries; the people who need the services the most; protecting the watershed and urban basins; promoting innovation and use of technology; and strengthening the governance of the sector.
The focus on the Americas held four theme sessions on the following topics:
- Tapping into the future: Universal access to sanitation
- Remote WASH: Quality and lasting services for rural communities
- Unlocking finance for “leaving no one behind” in the Americas
- Water Security and Climate Change: Resiliency for the most vulnerable
In addition, the IDB held several side events and showcases on topics ranging from innovation for development, the use of social arts for behavioral change in the water and sanitation sector, and best practices in specific countries from the region.