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ECLAC Participates in the First Working Session for Water Valuation in Latin America and the Caribbean

25 September 2023|Briefing note

The event, held in Bogotá, was organized by the Kingdom of the Netherlands through its Water Valuation Initiative and was attended by delegations from Chile, Colombia, and Peru.

The Valuing Water Initiative (VWI) of the Government of the Netherlands aims to practically apply the Principles for Valuing Water (PVW) established by the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank through the High-Level Panel on Water.

As a result of recent multilateral agreements on water, primarily in the UN 2023 Water Conference and its preparatory meetings, which include the ECLAC 2023 Regional Water Dialogues, the Government of the Netherlands prioritized, in its international agenda, the implementation of a water valuation process at the local level. It was initially developed as support for the governments of Colombia, Chile, and Peru.

In this context, and with the goal of creating a space for dialogue and exchange that enriches and clarifies the scope of ongoing national VWI processes in the mentioned countries and the implementation of the ECLAC Regional Water Action Agenda, the First Working Session for Valuing Water in Latin America and the Caribbean was held in Bogotá from September 25 to 27, 2023.

On the first day of the workshop, a visit to Guatavita Lagoon took place. This lagoon is located in the ancient Chibcha Cacique, considered sacred in pre-Columbian culture. Participants were accompanied by descendants of the indigenous Muisca people of the territory and co-managers of the protected area, providing insight into the spiritual and ancestral value of water.

On the second day, delegations from Chile, led by representatives from the Ministry of Public Works, the General Water Directorate, and the Ministry of Environment; from Peru, with participants from the National Water Authority and Deltares; and from Colombia, with the presence of the Vice-Minister of Environment, Mr. Francisco Canal, were able to present their progress in implementing the PVW, exchange experiences, and share best practices. During this session, ECLAC contributed with the presentation of the Regional Water Action Agenda, highlighting its interrelation with the PVW, as well as the ROSA project of the Water Sustainability Network and Observatory.

On the third day, routes for each country and institution were identified, including key challenges, expected outcomes, and the support required from the Netherlands as a VWI facilitating country and ECLAC. The workshop concluded officially with interventions from Ms. Meike van Ginneken, Ambassador for Water of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Mr. Francisco Canal, Vice-Minister of Environment of Colombia, from the Vice-Ministry of Territorial Environmental Planning.

Throughout all the sessions, a coach introduced tools for systemic thinking and deep listening, essential for understanding processes where multiple actors are involved.