The fifth meeting of the international cooperation Water Group was held on 15 October. It was attended by the Deputy-Minister of Construction and Sanitation, Julio Kosaka and the Director of the Sanitation Department, Max Carbajal, who presented the group members with the progress the sector has been making and the issues where it needs support.
The Deputy- Minister of Construction and Sanitation, Julio Kosaka, started the meeting, with an overview of government action in the housing and sanitation sector, new government initiatives in response to COVID-19 and Reactiva Peru’s investment strategy.
The Director of the MVCS Sanitation Department, Max Carbajal, presented the strategies, actions and planning for the National Sanitation Plan (NSP) 2021-2025, and the progress made on the indicator matrix for the new plan – a study supported by Swiss Cooperation SDC and SECO.
Carbajal began his presentation by emphasizing that all the ministry’s actions are part of the National Sanitation Policy (PNS), whose objective and commitment to 2030 is to achieve universal access to sanitation services, in line with the United Nations’ SDGs.
He explained that the PNS 21-25 has six areas in which all of its activities, actions and initiatives are part: i) access to sanitation services, ii) financial sustainability, iii) strengthening providers, iv) optimizing technical solutions, v) sector interaction, and vi) appraisal of sanitation services.
He also presented the MVCS strategies for closing gaps in sanitation services, which are: i) government construction works, ii) public-private partnerships (with an interesting list of projects for the coming months), iii) “work for tax”, iv) special water supply and wastewater treatment system, and v) government-to-government agreement (G2G). He highlighted that wastewater treatment is a recent government strategy which has led to structural reform of market design. It enabled the service providers (EPS) and other providers to obtain their water supply through suppliers or for the latter to provide them with the wastewater service, basically by introducing new players both in production and in wastewater treatment, so that the EPS and other providers could concentrate on distribution and sewerage activities.
He also stressed that strengthening providers’ capacities is a critical factor in achieving universal access, as is guaranteeing efficient investments, and said that this area had received support from German cooperation (PROAGUA II) and Swiss cooperation SECO (SECOSAN). He indicated that the rural sector is still pending, and that the sector is open to support from cooperation in order to achieve the goals in this area.
He pointed out that various diploma courses, virtual courses specialising in the design and management of projects in the sanitation sector, disaster risk management and consultancies on the creation and operation of municipal technical areas (ATMs) have been implemented with the support of GIZ, AFD, UNICEF and SDC, in a virtual course for ATMs.
Moving on to the optimisation of technical solutions, he mentioned that he has been working with GIZ to draft four guides for optimising investments in the waste water treatment, with UNICEF on a consultancy on dry ecological toilet technology to be included in regulations, and with SDC on using lactose protein and activated carbon technology which can remove heavy metals from water.
He said that the MVCS is working with SECOSAN to strengthen the water and sanitation sector information system, so that it contains all relevant sector information and is useful for all actors involved in sanitation services (users, investors, MVCS officials, international cooperation etc.), and GIZ is supporting this initiative with a server that will store the information at the national level.
He described an initiative to complement those the government is using in its response to COVID-19. This is a COVID-19 early warning tool, based on wastewater monitoring, to identify the genetic material of the virus in wastewater up to two weeks before a patient shows symptoms. This will make it possible for information to be collected from asymptomatic patients, symptomatic patients and those in the early phase. This will all be in the context of epidemiological monitoring, which will not only be useful for COVID, but will also serve as an experiment for other diseases such as dengue or cholera. The MVCS will begin with a pilot project in Lima and Arequipa, with the support of SECOSAN.
Regarding the strategy for improving the appraisal of sanitation services, he said that the perception of the service is poor and work is underway to develop a sector strategy to improve the appraisal of sanitation services, with SECOSAN in urban areas and with SDC in rural areas. This work is two-pronged, addressing: i) the willingness to pay for improvements in sanitation service provision, and ii) factors that shape perceptions of the value of sanitation services.
The MVCS is working with SECOSAN on behavioural economics applied to sanitation services, to address the scarcity of natural, economic and technical resources. The first pilot will be implemented in SEDAPAL, by sending messages to users via SMS, email, calls, WhatsApp, etc., and will be aligned with the study on public appraisal of sanitation services. It will cover water consumption and arrears.
He mentioned that the sector has identified some important issues, and he requested the support of the cooperation to implement them: i) a study of micro and macro measurement of water consumption; prepaid sanitation services; and an important aspect, which is the social return of investment in water, sanitation, and sewerage. It is very important to know the return of each Sol invested in water, because only then will the MVCS be able to leverage much more and improve citizens’ lives.
He mentioned six important aspects of the National Sanitation Plan: i) the period will be mobile, as it will be adjusted according to what happens each year, and some flexibility is needed to achieve the goals that have been set. ii) It will be developed through regional sanitation plans, which will be ready in December of this year. iii) The goals and indicators will be redefined to 2030, the SDGs and the NDCs; iv) The plan will identify existing gaps in a broader sense of infrastructure, quality, sustainability, risk management, climate change and capacity, in other words, a broad view of the gaps in the sector, in order to highlight them and be able to close them; v) The plan will schedule funding commitments, which projects will be carried out, when, by whom and how they are funded, which will allow better follow-up and monitoring.
He said that with the support of GIZ and PAHO, the MVCS is creating a standing Multi-sector Committee, to maintain coordination with the various stakeholders in the sectors involved. This will facilitate project implementation monitoring and control.
He noted that the IDB’s mid-term evaluation of the PNS has revealed certain shortcomings, such as limitations in the definition of indicators, inconsistent definition of objectives, limited scope with respect to the SDGs, and indicators focused on the EPS, for some of which there is no information, which limits monitoring.
To overcome these deficiencies, the Water Group is supporting a study to redefine the National Sanitation Plan indicators. The study will redefine them by taking the results of the mid-term evaluation, and defining leading and disaggregated indicators, all of which fall within the six areas of the NSP, with a clear focus on the SDGs and NDC. It will ensure that they comply with important properties, including relevance, availability, reliability, objective, and comparability. “The first deliverables from both consultancies (urban and rural) are now available, and it is hoped that the first final results will be available by the end of the year, for discussion and to hear stakeholders’ comments and contributions,” he concluded.
Finally, he thanked the Water Group for the support it has been giving the sector, and said he hoped that they would continue to work together to achieve the goals set out in the framework of Agenda 2030.
Martin Jaggi, SDC’s Director of Cooperation, closed the meeting by thanking all the representatives of the cooperation agencies for their participation. He said that in the next meeting, scheduled for December, the findings of the Indicator Matrix study and the Appraisal of Sanitation Services study will be presented and publicized in order to receive contributions, as a complement to these studies and to provide input for the National Sanitation Plan 2021-2025. H concluding by saying that the transfer of the Water Group’s Technical Secretariat will be the second item on the agenda.
Download here the presentation of the National Sanitation Plan 2021-2025