The World Water Forum is being held March 18-23 in Brazil’s capital, bringing together the sector’s top specialists. The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) was in charge of coordinating the Regional Process of the Americas, focusing on the continent’s water resources situation.
The World Water Forum 2018 opened in Brasilia, Brazil, with a call to make quality water and sanitation access a focal point of the global development agenda. Every three years, the Forum brings together the main water and sanitation experts from the government, private sector, civil society and academia.
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) coordinated the Regional Process of the Americas, which laid out the continent’s situation at the Forum. As a result of this process, most of the water and sanitation key stakeholders had a voice and presence in the Forum. The IDB had the support of organizations such as the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Cooperation (IICA, after its Spanish initials), the UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme, Mexico’s National Association of Water and Sanitation Utilities A.C. (ANEAS), the Global Water Partnership, and he Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Andes University helped out with the preparation of regional studies.
A number of debates were being held within the Regional Process of the Americas on the following issues:
- Water as a welfare factor in the Americas: How to transform water and sanitation services into a sustainable economic development force.
- How to build resilience and risk reduction through green infrastructure in the Americas.
- Water for food safety and rural development in the Americas: current challenges and opportunities.
- Efficient water and sanitation services advances in the Americas.
- Water funds, financial mechanisms for watershed conservation through nature-based solutions.
- Financing for development: innovative financial mechanisms for the 2030 Agenda.
IDB Country Vice-President Alexandre Meira da Rosa, who headed an IDB delegation to the Forum, highlighted the importance of protecting water resources in the region, not just for the sake of the inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean, but also because of their economic significance. “About 70 percent of the electricity we consume comes from hydroelectric generation—more than anywhere else in the world,” he said. “Many of our main export products depend upon a steady and sufficient water flow.”
For his part, IDB Infrastructure and Energy Manager José Agustín Aguerre said that water resources protection should not be just the responsibility of governments. He stressed the key role played by the Latin American Water Funds Alliance, an initiative where the IDB joined forces with The Nature Conservancy, FEMSA Foundation and the World Environment Forum (WEF). “The funds are institutional and financial mechanisms that help public and private stakeholders coordinate their actions with a clear-cut goal: promoting a watershed’s sustainable management through green infrastructure projects.”
The World Water Forum is organized by the World Water Council (WWC), whose mission is “to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels in order to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management, and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life on earth.”
In addition, at the Forum recognitions were handed to five winning participants in the call for proposals on water and sanitation best practices and experiences 2018 of the Regional Process of the Americas.
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