5th Latin American Conference on Sanitation: High-impact dialogues for access to safe water

The Head of Humanitarian Aid and Development (SDC) Fabrizio Poretti invited the new authorities at local and departmental level to continue efforts to ensure better water and sanitation services for their communities.

At the Latin American Sanitation Conference -LATINOSAN-, Costa Rica opened its doors to receive more than 1300 people from 30 Latin American countries. The conference was a space for dialogue on behalf of rural and urban inhabitants living in precarious situations given the limited access to drinking water in several peripheral territories of Latin American countries.

It was in this space that the Swiss Embassy - Humanitarian Aid and Development - SDC presented the ASIR-SABA project, which is a project that seeks to contribute to preserving water in rural communities in Colombia. In addition, lessons learned from the SABA+ model in Peru were shared.

On the first day of his participation, he addressed the measurement of progress in compliance with the ODS6 of Agenda 2030, in which Latin American countries have joined forces to help communities to have clean water and sanitation, given the contexts of scarcity of this essential resource for life.

In addition, SDC, together with other organizations, made known the lessons learned and the hopes of projects that work towards a model that is sustainable over time and can be developed to have a positive impact on the lives of communities, as well as strategies for continuing with this idea of helping to close the water access gap in Latin America.

The lack of access to water in figures

During the conference, the Regional Report (IR) was also presented, in which the governments gave an account of their progress and challenges in the water and basic sanitation sector. In addition, the Latin American and Caribbean Water and Sanitation Observatory (OLAS) was launched, a platform that will serve as a tool to coordinate and optimize the efforts made by the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean in the field of water and sanitation.

This report, which was supported by SDC, revealed that the water and sanitation sector is "forgotten", as many countries have inadequate water treatment and at least 6% (37.5 million) of rural communities in Latin America do not even have such treatment, due to the wide inequality gap in rural areas.

Similarly, many Latin American countries have less than 20 per cent of inadequate water treatment and sanitation, 14.3 million (2.2 per cent) people defecate in the open, 17.5 million (2.7 per cent) use simple latrines and at least 70 per cent of wastewater is not treated to make rivers clean.

From this Regional Report (IR) it was concluded that the main challenges faced by the countries in the water and sanitation sector are: financing, human development, transparency and accountability, governance, information diagnosis and investment plans. Therefore, there are many challenges to continue working for countries and a fairer Colombia in the access to water suitable for human consumption.