6th Steering Committee meeting “El Agua nos une” (SuizAgua II)

The meeting was held on 30 September and was attended by representatives of 10 companies participating in the Blue Certificate, COMEX, the National Society of Industries, the National Water Authority, Agualimpia, WRG 2030 and SDC. The Universidad del Pacífico presented the study on voluntary mechanisms for promoting corporate water management in Peru and Chile, at the meeting.

Martin Jaggi opened the event with his words of welcome. He announced that it was a special occasion because the committee’s agenda included the presentation of the Universidad del Pacifico’s study of corporate water management in Peru and Chile, conducted by Elsa Galarza and José Luis Ruiz. Similar studies will be conducted in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico and once they have all been completed, they will be shared through the Pacific Alliance in a special session in November of this year.

This was a good opportunity to look back and recall that SDC has been supporting the National Water Authority in the area of water footprints since 2015. Its support was a milestone for the first water footprint study in the agricultural sector and the promotion of the Blue Certificate, which to date has involved around 30 companies from different sectors. “We are very proud to have supported Peru in this process,” he emphasized.

Chile now has an initiative inspired by the Blue Certificate, promoted by SDC’s partner Fundación Chile. The Blue Certificate is expected to scale up to regional level in the near future, a blue seal approved by the Pacific Alliance as a block, adapted to the circumstances of each country.

He also mentioned that SDC is developing a new, more ambitious initiative, which will continue to work on corporate water management with the same countries it has supported so far, and perhaps extend activities to other countries in the region.

Emiliano Sifuentes, director of the National Water Authority’s water resources administration department, said that they are highly motivated to continue “working on sustainable water management, promoting the participation of diverse stakeholders, like the companies here today, developing mechanisms to create greater interest and action, creating awareness that our participation helps towards the sustainable use of water resources,” he said.

Alejandro Conza, the Agua Nos Une coordinator, presented the timeline of the project’s actions and the results achieved since 2013 when the SuizAgua cooperation project began. The Blue Certificate was born in 2015 when the National Water Authority adopted the project’s philosophy and the first companies began to register. A great deal has been achieved since then, with 29 companies committed, 32 units operational and stronger working ties and alliances.

Presentation
Video

He pointed out that we have been working with the Ministry of the Environment so that both government instruments – the carbon footprint and the water footprint – which promote the concept of footprints, work together and pool their efforts. This has been a focus of the project.

He also highlighted SDC’s activities with the Pacific Alliance and the business associations, while working to scale up the Blue Certificate. Five meetings have been held so far and COMEX, a key ally, is leading this process with the Alliance. He also indicated that SDC is supporting national initiatives in Chile, Brazil and Mexico for developing and implementing the Blue Certificate. Chile is already quite advanced, and SDC continues to provide technical support. Each initiative adapts to local regulations, but the essence of each is the same.

Next on the agenda was the preliminary progress of the study of voluntary mechanisms for promoting corporate water management in Peru and Chile. This research is one of the activities for scaling up the Blue Certificate to the Pacific Alliance. It is expected to provide a conceptual framework and analysis of the alternatives available to companies for corporate water management.

SDC commissioned the Universidad del Pacífico to carry out the study, and the presentation was made by Elsa Galarza and José Luis Ruiz, specialists who are conducting the research. They explained that the aim of making a preliminary presentation was to gather contributions and comments that will enrich the analysis. Elsa Galarza reported that the study was coordinating with Chile, despite their different realities, and they expected to have a clearer view of the work in both countries. She also mentioned that she hoped to present a broad panorama of the subject matter and the activities held.

She said that many activities held in Peru, particularly those concerning water, have always been transparent. Companies have a very clear interest in working on corporate water management issues, and the study aims to produce more standardized data and above all, show what the future holds, basically about how successful experiences can be scaled up. (Download presentation here).

On closing the meeting, Mercedes Castro, CEO NGO Agualimpia & Chairman of Peru 2030 WRG, underlined the fundamental contribution of academia in conducting the study that will undoubtedly help scale up the water footprint initiative and concept to the region. She also highlighted the support of the Swiss government through its development cooperation, and the government’s role through the National Water Authority in promoting the Blue Certificate. She referred especially to the companies that have to date committed to adopting the water footprint philosophy and to working on corporate water management.

El Agua nos Une – SuizAgua

The “Agua nos Une” project seeks to improve knowledge of the impact of goods and services production on water. It promotes public-private partnerships for comprehensive water resource management, through the Blue Certificate and the water footprint.

Led by the Swiss government cooperation’s Global Water Initiatives Programme, the project has been working since 2010 with the private sector, government agencies and think tanks to promote responsible and committed water management in Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico and Brazil.

Links of interest:
SuizAgua project fact sheet, Embassy of Switzerland, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC
Web El Agua Nos Une

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La Agencia Suiza para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación (COSUDE) es la entidad encargada de la cooperación internacional dentro del Departamento Federal de Asuntos Exteriores (DFAE). Con otras oficinas de la Confederación, la COSUDE es responsable de la coordinación general de la cooperación para el desarrollo y de la cooperación con los Países del Este, así como de los programas de ayuda humanitaria suizos.