Building dialogue for good water management

“I International Symposium on Transboundary Waters for Latin America”

This first meeting sought to enhance the discussion on the importance of transboundary watersheds in the region and explore new opportunities for cooperation and exchange of experiences among countries in the management of transboundary waters as an essential element of international security and regional stability

Transboundary water resources pass through national, political and administrative borders across the globe, supporting the majority of the world’s populations and ecosystems in a myriad of ways. Surface water and groundwater do not respect the borders mentioned. This means that States must cooperate to manage these resources.

In this scenario, the First Symposium on Transboundary Waters for Latin America was held on November 8 and 9 in the city of Lima, an initiative promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation through the National Water Authority, with the support of international organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Natural Resources Conservation Unit (UICN) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) through its Global Water Initiatives Program.

The event brought together more than 50 specialists and technicians, government officials from Latin American countries and authorities of various international organizations related to the subject; it addressed the need to promote dialogues to generate unity regarding Water Governance in Latin America in a cross-border context, favoring the strengthening of the institutional framework around the management of these natural resources. Hence the need to generate regional spaces that contribute to the strengthening of the institutions in the management of transboundary waters, in accordance with International Water Law.

The event was inaugurated by Manuel Talavera Espinar, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; who in his speech, thanked the support received for the realization of the event and stressed that: “today we are summoned by the need to expand opportunities for development and cooperation. We are convinced that this symposium will provide new and more effective tools to improve the management of our water resources, especially those of a transboundary nature”.

Martin Jaggi, Director of Global Cooperation of the COSUDE said “our contributions from the projects and programs of the Swiss Cooperation are oriented to the pursuit of good management of this resource, having as its basis the principles of equity, sustainability, inclusion and participation, fundamental principles for good governance of transboundary waters. That is why Switzerland promotes globally the movement “BLUE PLEACE” that seeks to strengthen international cooperation for the sustainable management of trans-sectorial and cross-border waters “.

In turn, Maximiliano Campos, Head of the Integrated Management of Water Resources of the Organization of American States, said: “We have to remember that in America we have half the water in the world, and that implies a great responsibility when doing things. (…) and when we understand that this water is unevenly distributed by conditions that are often natural, our task becomes more complicated. As OAS, we have a mandate to support the Member States in their efforts to improve the management, conservation and sustainable use of surface and underground water resources, promoting social and economic growth in these regions.”

Manuel Talavera Espinar,
Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Martin Jaggi,
Director of Global Cooperation of the SDC
Maximiliano Campos,
Integrated Water Resources Management -OEA

Thus, the Symposium was an appropriate space to systematize existing knowledge on the subject, promoting the exchange of experiences among officials who addressed the issues of transboundary basins. In the same way, the assistants could strengthen and expand their knowledge, in order to support the planning of actions and policies, which are expected to be shared with the decision makers of their countries, and to recognize the importance of integrated water management as a strategic axis for the improvement of its governance, in order to guarantee the region’s water security.

The topics discussed were: transboundary waters in Latin America and their importance for regional development, the current state of cooperation on transboundary waters in Latin America, regional cooperation agreements on transboundary waters, experiences of institutional development in the management of transboundary water resources and aquifers, and the financing and implementation of projects in transboundary basins.

The two-day program considered the realization of five thematic sessions, four lectures and two round tables. In this regard, Kenneth Peralta, National Program Official of the Swiss Cooperation, participated in the Roundtable on Financing and execution of projects in transboundary basins, and shared with the participants the lines of work of COSUDE in the area of ​​transboundary basins and how it has been working based on cooperation with its partners and counterparts, in the implementation of different projects at a regional level. See the panel in th
e following video.

At the close of the event, the High Level Roundtable on Challenges and Confidence Building for Cooperation in Transboundary Waters in Latin America was held, with the participation of the ANA of Brazil, the General Directorate of Borders of International Waters of Bolivia, SENAGUA of Ecuador, the National Directorate of Borders and Boundaries of Chile, the GWP South America; and moderated by Walter Obando, head of the National Water Authority. See the presentations in the following video.

 

Presentations, documents of the thematic sessions.
Click on the following link for access to all documents and presentations shown in the work sessions, conferences and round tables that took place at the symposium.

You can see the images of the workshop in our Flickr gallery.

Image gallery
Useful links:
Global Programs COSUDE Water Initiatives

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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.