Skip to main content

CEO's official visit to Peru and Colombia

Sanitation and Water for All Secretariat
16 Sep 2019

This week, the CEO of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), Catarina de Albuquerque, will be in Peru and Colombia to meet with the government and other partners. While Peru is already an SWA partner, SWA is hoping to persuade Colombia to join and follow the 8 Latin American and Caribbean countries that became partners in the last 3 years (our fastest-growing region).

The agenda will be inequalities in access to water and sanitation, use of data and evidence for decision-making, and accountability between governments and other actors. Our team will be updating this blog regularly with the latest news from the countries visits.

Wednesday 18, Thursday 19 and Friday 20 September: Visit to Colombia

Interview of Catarina de Albuquerque with Caracol Radio

Meeting with the private sector

A hot topic of discussion during the private sector meeting was the capacity (financial and technical) of SMEs and community providers to deliver sustainable services in challenging geographical, economic and political contexts. The group also started to brainstorm practical ways the private sector could support the two commitments of the Colombian government. Participants found it interesting that several companies are already working towards Objective 1. The SWA team invited them to publicly table commitments related to that work – maybe some other constituencies can also complement what is being done.


Meeting with CSOs in Colombia

CSOs gathered at the SWA meeting worked mostly on humanitarian topics, but were eager to enter into a broader dialogue, since they recognize the importance of institutional factors in peace-building activities. The group was very interested in the partnership and, through it, be able to strengthen linkages among CSOs between sub-national/national, and national/global levels. There is not a national network of WASH CEOs in Colombia, so participants expressed concern about the financial and human resources needed for one single organization to perform the role of SWA Focal Point and coordinate all others. The group will discuss what type of commitments they can table under SWA’s Mutual Accountability Mechanism.


Meeting with the Research and Learning constituency

Catarina de Albuquerque met with several representatives from Colombia Universities to encourage them to join SWA. The group agreed they need to do more to coordinate and ensure their work on WASH is more visible among other stakeholders. There was interest in the way SWA coordinates constituencies in other countries. Participants had very concrete request of the partnership:

  1. organize a virtual meeting with R&L partners to kick-off a conversation about mobilizing the constituency in Colombia, and
  2. help them create and promote a platform to communicate with other like-minded organizations.


One of the objectives of SWA CEO's, Catarina de Albuquerque, visit to Colombia is to understand the Research and Learning community in the country and how SWA can support a closer link between the work they are doing and the government’s SDGs plans. She met with two amazing and enthusiastic researchers in WASH, Andrea Bernal from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and Angelica Rangel from the Universidad Externado de Colombia to discuss further on that.


Inter-ministerial meeting

Inter-ministerial meeting with the presence of Agencia de Renovacion del Territorio, Superintendencia de Servicios Publicos, Departamento Nacional de Planeacion, Ministerio de Salud y Comision de Regulación de Agua Potable y Saneamiento Basico. Interesting conversation about rural development and the connection between water and Colombia’s peace-building process (WASH is part of the peace agreement with the FARC). The group identified several ways in which experience from other SWA partners could support them:

  1. technology to clean water polluted by illegal crops and the mining industry;
  2. how to deliver technical assistance for sustainability in rural areas,
  3. considering limited local capacity;
  4. disaggregation of data; and
  5. developing hygiene indicators.

A key part of the discussion was around the costs of producing the level of data demanded by the SDG (a problem also identified in Peru).


Meeting with the Vice Minister, Jose Luis Acero, Anamari Camacho, Director of Sectoral Development and team

After an interview with Radio RCN, the first meeting in Colombia was with Vice Minister Jose Luis Acero and his team, including Anamaria Camacho, Director of Sectoral Development. Catarina de Albuquerque formally invited Colombia to join SWA to continue the work started during the 2019 SMM, where the country tabled the 2 commitments below:

When discussing the upcoming Finance Ministers’ Meeting, the group identified Colombia’s 142 Law as an important case-study to share. This legislation, unique in Latin America, regulates and supervises water and sanitation services (public, private and mix) and ensures access independently of income levels. However, this tariff scheme is too complex for small service providers and the ministry is looking into way to simplify the process. Interesting discussions about supporting small communities to be have the financial and human capacity to manage services, the great challenge of wastewater treatment in urban and rural areas, and how different actors need to contribute to the current deficit (5.190.000 dollars) towards universal access.
A wealth of experience for other SWA partners.


Thursday 19 September: Catarina de Albuquerque's interview with Radio RCN

Catarina de Albuquerque is now live on Radio RCN. Listen to what she has to say.



Wednesday 18 September: CEO's, Catarina de Albuquerque, first interview in Colombia

Catarina de Albuquerque met with journalist from Colprensa in Bogota, Colombia to speak on her official visit and why prioritizing WASH is key for the country.


Related articles in Spanish


Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 September: Visit to Peru

End of official visit in Peru

It’s a wrap for Peru! Two intense days that hopefully will result in an acceleration of progress through bigger cooperation and engagement of SWA partners.


Meeting with the World Bank's Water Resources Group

The Water Resources Group is a public, private, civil society partnership hosted by the World Bank Group focusing on the sustainable management of water resources. They are represented in different countries, including in Peru.

It was a very multi-stakeholder crowd that came to know more about SWA, including partners and non-partners such as SDC, Coca-Cola, Suez (representing Aquafed), OMAS (representing the Rede de Agua Segura), and Foundation Aviva. The debates were intense, focusing on topics that have been recurrent throughout SWA’s visit: coordination of the sector, strengthening institutional capacity to ensure continuity after changes in political leadership, and the improvement of financial mechanisms (for example, public work’s tax deduction). Participants recognized that the Water Resources Group could be adapted to become the regular, inclusive multi-stakeholder platform that so many actors are calling for.


Interviews with journalists

Following the meetings, Catarina de Albuquerque met with journalists from La Republica, El Comercio and LaMula blog to speak on her official visit in Peru.


Meeting with Civil Society Organization Constituency

The challenges around coordination in WASH in Peru was a major topic for the discussions with national CSOs. They feel strongly about their role and the benefits of their input and underlined throughout the meeting their willingness to participate in multi-stakeholder dialogues with the government and other partners. The sector’s institution memory and continuity should be a priority for all actors, especially in topics like these that require long-term solution and commitments. The group identified very practical ways to bring civil society’s voice to the table, for instance through the IADB’s Water Resources Group


Meeting with the Research and Learning (R&L) Constituency

Meeting today included some of the key universities and research centres in the country. Main points of conversation were the lack of exchange and coordination not so much between R&L and other actors, but within the constituency itself. The group also agreed that there is valuable research on WASH that is currently not disseminated or under-used by decision-makers. Several participants showed interest in joining SWA and we will be sure to follow-up.

Catarina de Albuquerque with representatives from the Universidad de Lima, Universidad del Pacífico, Universidad Católica, Universidad La Molina andApoyo Comunicaciones


Tuesday 17 September: Radio Interview

Catarina de Albuquerque is now live on Radio RPP to speak on her visit in Peru - how increasing political prioritization of WASH and ensuring all actors are part of the decision-making conversation are key to achieve SDG 6.


Interview with Revista Stakeholders and Caretas

The meeting was then followed with the interview of Catarina de Albuquerque by journalists from Revista Stakeholders Magazine and Caretas


3 pm: Meeting with the donors in Peru

Peru has a long-running table of regional and international donors and banks that work in water and sanitation. Many of the organizations in the room are already partners of SWA, such as IADB, GIZ, SDC, JICA and WHO. The topic of the day was coordination and inter-stakeholder dialogue in Peru – how can it be strengthened? How can SWA contribute? One of the biggest challenges identified by the group is maintaining “institutional memory” and the continuity of conversations and joint action when there is a high turn-over at the government’s leadership level. Testimonials from the room supported the idea that ongoing multi-stakeholder dialogue can offer that continuation by creating a wider network of shared “memory” preventing regular start-overs.


2:30pm : Meeting with Technical experts

Following the meeting with the different government authorities responsible for water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque met several technical experts from the Vice Ministers' Julio Harima team.

The group in the room identified 3 areas where Peru would welcome experience from other SWA countries:

1) legal and normative frameworks for negotiation land identified as ideal for waste management plants (often privately owned)

2) normative frameworks for waste management (faecal and salinization in particular) and

3) transport, usage and financing of chlorine in rural areas of difficult access where the transport of the material makes it much more expensive.

Expanding the source to funding in the WASH sector and how to rely less on taxes were discussed. According to the GLAAS report Peru is one of the countries in that world in which government funding is the biggest source of investment in the sector.


11 am: Intersectoral meeting

Intersectoral meeting with the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation, National Rural Sanitation Program (PNSR) Presidency of the Council of Ministers (PCM), Ministry of Environment (MINAM), Ministry of Health (MINSA), National Water Authority (ANA), National Superintendence of Services and Sanitation (SUNASS)



8:30 am - Meeting with the group coordinating government action in the water and sanitation sector

Second meeting of the day, this time with the government group that coordinates action in the water and sanitation sector. After a presentation of SWA on the Framework and Mutual Accountability Mechanism, there was an intense discussion on issues that ranged from integrating small towns into large-scale water providers, to how to extend this group’s coordination to regional and local governments; from the benefits of having waste management treatment discriminated in water bills, to the role of the Regulator in supporting regional service provides; from the political sensibilities of allocating scarce water among different sectors, to the price of chlorine and arsenic contamination.

A key question: How to ensure the resilience of multi-stakeholder groups during changes of government? We welcome experiences and views from around the world!

Discussions like this really bring home how each country is such a rich source of knowledge. Also, how water, sanitation and hygiene touches so many parts of our lives.

"We will continue to work together with other actors to address the major challenges of the sector. We're very interested in sharing our experiences with other countries." stated the Minister of Housing, Construction and Sanitation, Miguel Estrada


8:00 am - Meeting with Minister of Housing, Construction and Sanitation, Miguel Estrada and the Vice Minister for Sanitation, Julio Harima

Peru has been a member of SWA since 2017 and the CEO has addressed her appreciation regarding Peru's participation in SWA sessions in 2017 and 2018 and in all SWA webinars. She also discussed on the progress Peru is doing in terms of data gathering where the central government is unifying data in WASH and further aligning them to SDGs.

"Water quality is a key topic for Peru and other experiences from around the world in improving drinking water quality would be key for the country's progress towards SDG 6." said Hon. Miguel Luis Estrada Mendoza.

Catarina de Albuquerque stated that "SWA is committed to strengthening a framework of action supported by multiple stakeholders at the country level; for the establishment of commitments, dialogue, monitoring for transparency and accountability." She also added that SWA has been implementing the Mutual Accountability Mechanism (MAM), developed by SWA Partners and as part of the preparations for the 2020 Finance Ministers' Meeting, SWA would welcome commitment(s) tabled under the MAM from Peru regarding the financing sector.



7:00: CEO, Catarina de Albuquerque preparing her visits with partners

Early start in Lima for SWA’s CEO official country visit. On the agenda today is the meeting with the Minister and Vice Minister of Housing, Construction and Sanitation and their team, with the IADB Peru staff working on WASH, with the country’s WASH donors (Grupo Agua) and representatives from the government authorities that have a mandate over WASH topics: Ministry of Health, Ministry of the Economy and Finances, the Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion, the National Water Authority and the National Superintendence of Sanitation Services.

Catarina de Albuquerque will address universal access to water and sanitation, inequalities, national coordination, accountability, data gathering and how a partnership like SWA can trigger change in the country.

Related articles in Spanish