SDC works through the Switzerland/Water Unites Us framework to encourage the Pacific Alliance to scale up the Blue
On 10 February, the Swiss Embassy hosted the Coordination Meeting for Scaling-Up the Blue Certificate in the Pacific Alliance. The meeting was attended by representatives of the National Confederation of Private Businesses (CONFIEP), the National Society of Industries (SIN), the Peruvian Foreign Trade Society (COMEX), the National Water Authority (ANA), the Commission for the Promotion of Peru for Export and Tourism (PROMPERU), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE), the Ministry of Environment (MINAM), the Cerro Prieto Irrigation company, the NGO “Agualimpia”, which is in charge of implementing the SuizAgua/El Agua nos Une project, and Swiss Cooperation (SDC).
The meeting began with a brief address by Martin Jaggi, SDC’s Director of Cooperation. “As a Pacific Alliance observer state, we are interested in scaling up the Blue Certificate initiative, as part of corporate water management, out into the region … Peru has something very special which other countries lack. It is the only country that has developed a Blue Certificate. The aim of this meeting is to see how we can pool our efforts and scale up this initiative to the region, within the framework of the Pacific Alliance“, he concluded.
The next speech was by Tania Laguna, a specialist in Water Resources of the National Water Authority’s Water Resources Administration Department, who reported on the status of talks for scaling up the Blue Certificate within the Pacific Alliance (PA). She highlighted the fact that talks had begun in January 2019 and that shortly afterwards the Blue Certificate initiative was included in the declaration of the last Presidential Summit in Lima (July 2019) and that the “Corporate Water Management – Water Footprint” working party was created, composed of representatives of the CEAP associations of the four countries of the Alliance.
This was followed by some words from Luis Marino, director of Economics and Environmental Finance, who affirmed that MINAM agrees with promoting the Blue Certificate as an instrument for corporate water management. He pointed out potential synergies with the central government processes of i) the National Competitiveness Plan and ii) Water Governance Policies, as both (directly or indirectly) encourage the private sector to use water sustainably, aiming for integrated water resource management and water security, and help the business sector be more efficient in its use of natural resources. He added that CEAP is expected to lead the scaling up, through government promotion of corporate water management.
Jessica Soto, CONFIEP’s Economic and International Affairs manager, who represented CEAP-Peru, pledged her support for the initiative, recognising that Peru is leading it because of its experience in the field. She will provide support to CEAP’s Corporate Water Management – Water Footprint Working Party (coordinated by COMEX) and to its agenda. She emphasized that government needs to promote corporate water management with a broader range of benefits for companies. Finally, she highlighted the importance of scaling this initiative up to the level of a public policy, entailing real and representative change, not only for large companies, but also medium and small ones.
Claudia Velásquez, the representative of Promperú, which is a focal point for the dialogue between CEAP and the government, said that Promperu would support initiatives to promote corporate water management. In addition, she reported that a meeting was scheduled between Promperu and CEAP for next March, which could be an opportunity to propose scaling up the Blue Certificate in the Pacific Alliance as a voluntary scheme that contributes to corporate water management and the sustainability of economic activities in the region. CEAP Peru would be able to share the progress made by ANA by presenting its impact indicators.
The representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasized the alignment of the Pacific Alliance activities, its agenda for Peru. He suggested emphasizing the importance and added value of scaling up the Blue Certificate to the region, and especially having solid arguments when incorporating the agreements into the official documents of the Pacific Alliance. On this point, he highlighted the impact that public policies and government guidelines could have on private sector decisions and the widespread application of the Blue Certificate.
At the close of the meeting, it was agreed that:
- It was necessary to draw up a road map to July 2020, in order to report on progress and incorporate new agreements ahead of the Presidential Summit in Santiago de Chile;
- A first report must be drafted on the progress achieved by Peru in corporate water management, including indicators achieved by the Blue Certificate;
- CEAP Peru, supported by Promperu, will suggest that the CEAP meeting agenda include the proposal that Alliance countries draft reports similar to that of Peru, based on the experience that each country has with SDC. They will also propose that new recommendations for adopting “Schemes for Government Promotion of Corporate Water Management” should be included in the CEAP Presidential Declaration of July 2020.”
- CEAP Peru, with the support of Promperu, will propose that the CEAP meeting recommend sending an official communiqué to the Environment Working Party, composed of the Ministries of Environment of each country, urging them to assess the adoption of “Schemes for Government Promotion of Corporate Water Management”.
- CEAP Peru (“Corporate Water Management – Water Footprint” working party), Promperu, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and SDC will work on a preliminary draft for the next milestone in the Minutes of the AP Presidential Summit of July 2020.