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Water supply and sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean: goals and sustainable solutions: proposals for the 6th World Water Forum

The regional context presents an unprecedented opportunity for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to close the infrastructure gap in water supply and sanitation services over the next 20 years. However, an important part of LAC urban population is still without service or with substandard services, where most cities have significant deficiencies in terms of infrastructure for rainwater drainage, and protection of water sources.

The document shows that LAC needs to make a commitment to a strategy for the integrated development of water to deal with large imbalances between demand and availability of water and reverse environmental degradation. In addition, the region must deal decisively with the multifaceted challenges of high vulnerability to natural disasters and long term impacts of climate variability and change.

Conclusions are as follows:

  • to achieve the development goals of the water sector in the LAC region, governments must take decisions on policies, institutions and investments at various levels which generally go beyond the mandate of water management
  • commitments are particularly needed from planning and finance ministries, legislative bodies, and local governments, with the effective participation of civil society
  • the region should reverse the low rates of investment in social infrastructure as a means of delivering quality services for all, while properly maintaining the water assets developed in recent decades through sustained efforts of rehabilitation

The author argues that a sectoral governance framework that guarantees efficient service provision is required, and meeting the demand for services of the most disadvantaged segments of the population should be the target for LAC governments.