Optimal sanitation: Focus on the Americas at World Water Week 2019

The Inter-American Development Bank is coordinating the Focus on the Americas sessions during World Water Week in Sweden’s capital, with a focus on adopting a new paradigm to close the gap in secure sanitation services in the region.

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% to the population of Latin America and the Caribbean have access to those services.

That is the main message of the Focus on the Americas at the World Water Week to be held in Stockholm on August 25th to 30th. The meeting, to be attended by government and civil society representatives as well as academics from around the world under the motto “Water for society: Including all” will focus 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 will 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, that will be 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 will hold 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 will host 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.

The IDB and its partners have coordinated the Focus on the Americas since 2015. This year, the IDB is also SIWI’s Key Collaborating Partner. You can access the full agenda here.

About the Latin America and the Caribbean Focus at the World Water Week

The program of the Latin America and Caribbean Focus will be carried out from August 25 to 29, and is coordinated in collaboration with 21 organizations, such as: Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos S.A (AySA), Bremen Overseas Research and Development Association (BORDA), Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), Banco de Desarrollo de América Latina (CAF), FEMSA Foundation, International Water Association (IWA), Comisión Nacional del Agua (CONAGUA), One Drop, PepsiCo Foundation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (COSUDE), State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), World Bank Group, UN University (UNU-FLORES), Water For People,, World Resources Institute (WRI), Lazos de Agua, Superintendencia Nacional de Servicios y Saneamiento (SUNASS), Spanish International Cooperation Agency for Development (AECID) and Austria’s Federal Finance Ministry.

About the Inter-American Development Bank

The Inter-American Development Bank is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. Besides loans, grants and guarantees, the IDB conducts cutting-edge research to offer innovative and sustainable solutions to our region’s most pressing challenges. Founded in 1959 to help accelerate progress in its developing member countries, the IDB continues to work every day to improve lives.

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María Julia Bocco
IDB Team Leader