Drinking water and electricity are basic services that proved essential to counter the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, they represented an opportunity for investment to spur economic recovery in the countries of the region. Since the early months of 2022, they have been particularly threatened by the impact of the war in Ukraine on the world prices of fossil fuels, which are basic inputs for both sectors. Together with higher prices for edible oils, cereals and fertilizers, this has led to a rise in poverty and in energy, water and food insecurity in the region.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, large inequalities persist in access both to energy and to drinking water and sanitation, owing to a lack of high-quality supply infrastructure capable of providing water and energy security for all. Currently, in the region, 161 million people lack access to safely managed drinking water, 431 million to safely managed sanitation, 17 million to electricity and 75 million to clean cooking fuels and technologies. There is therefore both a need and an opportunity for investment to universalize coverage of these services to the entire population, which would also generate green jobs and new incomes, reduce environmental impacts and improve public health.