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Great interest in the Water, Financing and Health panel at the Regional Water Dialogues 2023

2 February 2023|Briefing note

On February the 2nd of 2023, the panel "Water, Financing and Health" was organized during the Regional Water Dialogues for Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place between February 1 and 3 at the headquarters of ECLAC in Santiago de Chile.

The Natural Resources Division, together with the support of the United Nations Peace and Development Fund (UNPDF), the German Cooperation (GIZ) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), organized the Panel "Water, Financing and Health” during the Regional Water Dialogues for Latin America and the Caribbean 2023, held between February 1 and 3.

The panel sought to explore investment mechanisms that allow the drinking water and sanitation sector to access new sources of financing, as well as showcase examples of the benefits of investing in the circular economy for the sector.

The panel, moderated by Mr Francisco Canal, Vice Minister of Environmental Planning of the Territory of Colombia, began with technical presentations on the circular economy and investment needs by Ms Marina Gil, from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and Ms Sunny Guidotti, from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Then, interventions of the authorities of the countries that form part of the projects "Potable Water, Sanitation and Renewable Energies to improve the health conditions of the population and promote productive uses in municipalities/territories of El Salvador, Mexico and Panama” (UNPDF) and “Post-Covid Transformative Reactivation Project (Panama, Mexico and El Salvador)” (GIZ), took place where they presented the plans and investment efforts in water and sanitation that they are carrying out. First, Ms Mariana Navarro from the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) of Mexico, highlighted the different types of federal financing that they are carrying out, Mr Rafael Reyes from the Institute of National Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN) of Panama, presented a system that has been promoted in the country to stimulate investments through private participation, and Mr José Carlos Revelo of the National Administration of Aqueducts and Sewers (ANDA) of El Salvador, expressed the different initiatives that are being carried out to locate possible improvements of the wastewater treatment system, with a vision of circular economy. Then, to close the block, Mr Didac Borrás from Aguas Andinas of Chile, indicated that to face the challenges of climate change and to be resilient, investments are required, not only from the private sector, but also formulated collaboratively with the public sector and international organizations.

Next, three development banks, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Development Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean (CAF) and the World Bank, presented the challenges and examples of innovative financing of water in Latin America and the Caribbean. First, Mr Henry Moreno from the IDB, underlined the importance of green bonds, social bonds, and sustainable bonds but also emphasized results-based financing. This is an element that Mr Franz Rojas from CAF also mentioned. In addition to this, Mr Rojas mentioned nature-based instruments, such as water funds. Lastly, Mr Héctor Serrano, from the World Bank, emphasized the efficient use of public funds necessary to achieve the financing level and its benefits, with a change in incentives. To close the session, Mr Diego Fernández, from ECLAC, opened a space for questions and dialogue.

You can access the presentations of the panel at the following link. 

Additionally, you can access the recording of the panel on ECLAC's YouTube channel.

Finally, prior to the realization of the Regional Water Dialogues 2023, potable water and sanitation companies from El Salvador, Mexico and Panama were invited to a workshop to promote investment in the sector, with a circular economy approach, which is detailed in the following link.