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The Network and Observatory for Water Sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean (ROSA) held its First Online Seminar titled: Sectoral Policy and Planning for Sanitation and Wastewater Treatment in LAC

29 September 2023|Briefing note

With excellent attendance, on Friday, September 29th, the first virtual seminar of the ROSA network was held, composed of founding countries: Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Panama, and the Dominican Republic. The seminar took place in synergy with the Conference of Ibero-American Water Directors (CODIA), the Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation (FCAS), and the Center for the Study and Experimentation of Public Works in Spain (CEDEX). The seminar was part of the Third Session of the Virtual Course "Sectoral Policy and Planning for Sanitation and Wastewater Treatment," specifically in the second module focusing on "Development of the Regulatory, Institutional, and Financial Framework of the Sanitation Sector in LAC." The event had the participation of more than 114 connected people, including all the focal points of the countries in the ROSA project network.

The event began with a welcome from Dr. Mar Gracia Plana, Permanent Technical Secretary of CODIA, and Dr. Silvia Saravia Matus, Officer in charge of water issues at CEPAL. Dr. Saravia Matus presented the main objectives of the ROSA project, the dynamics of the Online Seminars, provided a diagnosis of the progress of goals 6.1 and 6.2 in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries and subregions, as well as voluntary commitments in the Regional Agenda for Action on Water. Next, Engineer Diego Fernández, an expert from CEPAL, presented the institutional framework for sanitation in the Latin American and Caribbean context and also discussed typical models of sanitation service delivery and the most widespread regulations in the region. Aspects related to service charges, including fees and subsidies, were also covered. Finally, Engineer Alfredo Montañez, a CEPAL expert, presented typical models of sanitation service delivery in Latin America and the Caribbean, which were discussed in detail.

During the seminar, each of the representatives from the founding countries of ROSA, namely: Engineer Oscar Alejo Chino (Bolivia - Ministry of Environment); Engineer Guillermo Ibarra Prado (Colombia - CRA); Engineer Jorge Castaneda (El Salvador - ASA); Engineer Guillermo Torres (Panama - CONAGUA); and Engineer Gilberto Reynoso (Dominican Republic - Water Cabinet), shared their national experiences in sanitation, highlighting opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned, as well as the progress each country has made in terms of access to safely managed sanitation. A common point of agreement was that the 2030 sanitation sector goals are at risk if significant changes are not made in investment and infrastructure in the sector.

The seminar concluded with the main messages presented by the representatives of each country, and there was also an opportunity to address all the participants' questions during the session. The exchange of experiences within the network is and will be essential for comprehensive collaboration in the sector at the regional level.