Switzerland facilitates the third sharing mission between Peru and Colombia in Water and Sanitation

The Delegation of the Ministry of Housing, City and Territory, the Department Governments of Cauca and the Cauca Valley, municipalities of Caloto, Buga, Santander de Quilichao, Trujillo and  the (SDC) Colombia team visit Puerto Maldonado to learn about the experience of the SABA+Project

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One of the key aspects of the second phase of the SABA+ Project is the sharing of information with other countries in the Latin American region with regard to their strategies, policies, and aspects linked to the cycle of the project and of the sustainable management of water systems and rural sanitation. In the particular case of Colombia, through the ASIR SABA Project, it has been possible to share the lessons learned from the SABA+ Project in order to contribute to the reality of water and rural sanitation in the areas of post-conflict Colombia.

On 22 – 25 May, a delegation of the Colombia ASIR SABA Project, accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Housing, City and Territory of Colombia (MVCT) and department government authorities of the neighbouring country, Peru, came to Peru on a sharing mission with their peers at the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation of Peru (MVCS), specialists in the  SABA+ Project and Swiss Cooperation ((SDC)), to exchange the dynamic of those involved in the projects and the Colombia ASIR-SABA team and SABA+, emphasising the issues linked to the project management, capacity-building, institution-building and capitalizing on the experience in the national scope.

Following the programme, on Monday 22 in the morning, a meeting was held in the premises of the MVCS. The delegation was received by Gustavo Oliva, Vice Minister of Construction and Sanitation; José Miguel Kobashikawa, Director of the National Programme of Rural Sanitation. and officials from that organisation.

The meeting was favourable for a discussion with the Colombian peers, the major challenges facing Peru in the field of sanitation, where the gap in water quality is extensive, despite the fact that water coverage is 71 per cent in rural areas, a challenge that it is expected to be faced through inter-sector work, involving the health, housing, development and social inclusion sectors, to procure better service quality.

Similarly emphasis was put on the Peruvian government’s efforts to optimize the processes and strategies to narrow the gaps that exist in investment, capacity- and management-building; but above all, to review the processes for avoiding bureaucracy and adapting these processes to the rural reality. Here, great interest arose in the forms of implementation bearing in mind that both countries consider cross-culturality, ethnicity and idiosyncrasy, elements that are important for the sustainability of the project and its investment.

The following were some of the themes given priority in this exchange mission: i) the added value of technical assistance and sustainability, ii) the importance of the participation of the rural community in the design and implementation of the water and sanitation projects, in order to achieve their ownership and empowerment; iii) the finance strategies of the Municipal Technical Areas in the municipalities; iv) the key role of the technical team accompanying the phase of the project invest phase; v) the  incorporation of the project’s risk and disaster management, vi) the systematisation of the participatory designs which the experts of the Colombia ASIR SABA team will share; vii) the property management and legalization, viii) the transfer of the SABA experts to the public institutions for them to contribute their specialist information; ix) the implementation of the CONPES Strategy; and x) finally the next steps  and challenges ASIR SABA and SABA+, in Colombia and Peru, respectively.

Via Skype we managed to get Andrea Bernal to take part. He is an official of the Colombian MVCT and he offered a reflection on the discussion in the meeting and highlighted the following: “The Colombia ASIR SABA Project has been understood as a pilot project by the Colombia MVCT, especially to determine the challenge for technical assistance and accompaniment, to the extent that the SABA model in Peru brought us a great many lessons learned  and the development of a model of accompaniment, led in fact by the territorial entity, which for Colombia are the municipalities and the department. Over these nearly two years of accompaniment and of the agreement that we signed with the Swiss Embassy, we have been developing the instrument and nourishing our public policy and the developing laws with the results obtained through this initiative”.

In the afternoon, with the aim of strengthening the links of cooperation for a next phase of the project at a regional level, meetings were scheduled with Edgar Orellana, Regional Coordinator of Water and Sanitation at the Inter-American Development Bank; and Gustavo Saltiel, Regional Director of the Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank; in which the experts and officials of the Colombian delegation were able to discuss how they have been working in their sectors and the challenges they face in the future.

On 24 May, the delegation travelled to Puerto Maldonado, to learn more about how those concerned have been implementing and working with the stakeholders in sanitation in the region. The visit facilitated a discussion about the experiences in the management of rural sanitation and water services in Peru and Colombia on the basis of the experience in the Madre de Dios region. Similarly, the visit also served to learn more about the connecting mechanisms for joining up regional and local stakeholders in rural water and sanitation management and the monitoring of water quality for human consumption; and finally, to see successful experiences of water and sanitation services in rural areas in the Madre de Dios area.

On Wednesday 25, an internal meeting was held in the premises of the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, with the ASIR SABA Colombia and SABA+ teams, geared to identify actions to be undertaken in the future, in the themes of water and sanitation, at regional level from 2018 onwards, with a view to incorporate Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia in this new project.

These missions for sharing experiences between both projects of Swiss Cooperation (SDC) in Peru and Swiss Cooperation (SDC) in Colombia have helped enable their sector counterparts, the Peruvian Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation and the Colombian Ministry of Housing, Construction and Territory to discuss the agenda issues of water and sanitation in rural areas, in the framework of the Bila
teral Peru – Colombia Agenda. We should also mention that in the various missions for discussions, officials from ministries from both countries took part, plus members of SDC and the teams of both projects, on three occasions: Mayo, 2015, September, 2015 and February, 2016.

Here we share the mission in photos:

Discussion between MVCS (Peru) and MVCT (Colombia)

Meeting with the Inter-American Development Bank

Meeting with the World Bank
Meeting DRCVS and GORE / Visit to Las Piedras District Municipality


Related links:
SABA+Project, fact sheet, Swiss Embassy, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation – ((SDC))
Reportaje in Stakeholders: SABA Project. Water that closes gaps



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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.