[Swiss Cooperation transfers the Technical Secretariat of the Water Group to the World Bank and WRG 2030] The World Bank will assume the group leadership for the 2021-2022 period

Last Thursday, June 10, the Swiss Confederation agencies SECO and SDC chaired the last meeting of the Water Group as the technical secretariat, which it assumed in 2019 and which was extended until June 2021 due to the pandemic.  The secretariat will now be assumed by the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) and by WRG 2030 for the 2021-2022 period.

Representatives of the international cooperation agencies that are members of the Water Group and officials of the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation – Peru

Martin Jaggi, head of SDC cooperation in Peru and the Andean region, began the meeting by reaffirming Swiss Cooperation’s commitment to support the Peruvian government on climate change and water and sanitation management and on sustainable economic development, through SDC and SECO. He said that it would be important to learn about the progress of the National Sanitation Plan (PNS 21-25), which has been supported by the Water Group, and that he foresaw that the World Bank’s performance in addressing  the challenge of leading the Water Group technical secretariat would be excellent.

Martin Jaggi, head of SDC cooperation in Peru and the Andean region

Solángel Fernández, Minister of Housing, Construction and Sanitation, thanked the technical support provided by the International Cooperation Water Group, highlighting in particular its support to the development of the NSP [1] 21-25. “As always, I am grateful for the great work of our team for putting Peru’s sanitation supply on track. We are working in coordination with cooperation and the private sector, and also with innovative ways of speeding up water provision. It is so important to address the existing gaps,” she said.

Solángel Fernández, Minister of Housing, Construction and Sanitation

Fernández stressed that over 3 million people do not have water, more than 7 million do not have sewerage, and in the struggle against the pandemic it is urgent to be able to move fast in addressing the problem, because many households have been left in a highly vulnerable situation due to the difficulty of accessing clean water. “This is an enormous challenge and we are sure that the next government administration will continue to work actively hand in hand with international cooperation and the various agencies to continue advancing in closing the gaps,” he said.

She mentioned that the government is actively working with private investment to close the gaps through public-private partnerships and ‘construction works for taxes’. “Last year, the government began working with technical assistance to update regional sanitation plans, to implement and formulate the new PNS 21-25 that we are drafting. We continue to highlight the problems and challenges to be tackled, one of which is to work very closely with the EPS [2] so that they can improve the service to the public in the various regions of the country and also put in place procedures for greater transparency in regional-level contracting and water supply management”, she concluded.

She added that the ministry is working hand in hand with innovation and new technologies, especially in rural areas that are hard to access, where it has two pilot projects for helping capture water from natural sources and ensure it is clean by using very economical and simple procedures that the communities themselves can use, and have access to clean water. The ministry is also implementing dry toilets in rural areas so that families can have a better quality of service.

Finally, she thanked the Water Group again for its important work and support, and for Swiss Cooperation’ coordination with the Ministry of Housing, which is very important for the sector. She wished the World Bank the best of success in assuming the coordination.

Javier Hernández, Deputy-Minister of Construction and Sanitation

The Deputy-Minister of Construction and Sanitation, Javier Hernández and Max Carbajal, Director of Sanitation went on to present the progress in the National Sanitation Plan and the support received from the Water Group. The presentation had three parts: i) a general overview, ii) progress in the National Sanitation Plan, and iii) progress that has been made during the transition and emergency government, and the challenges posed for the next government to tackle in order to achieve the goal of sustainable services within the reach of the entire population.

Mr Hernández mentioned that, according to 2020 estimates, there is still a significant gap in water and sanitation coverage and wastewater treatment. Access to drinking water in urban and rural areas reaches 91 per cent, to sewerage and excreta disposal 77 per cent, and to wastewater treatment 77 per cent. However, there are great differences within the country: in rural areas drinking water coverage is reduced to 77 per cent and sanitation to 30 per cent. These are key elements for government initiatives.

Mr Hernández mentioned that the NSP separates i) metropolitan Lima and Callao, which is the responsibility of SEDAPAL, ii) other cities and iii) rural areas, referring to villages of less than 2,000 inhabitants. The first segment has the greatest water coverage, while the gap in drinking water services to be covered by 2020 is 2.8 million people and the gap in sanitation to be covered is 7.3 million. In rural areas, 1.4 million people have no drinking water and 4.4 million have no sanitation.

The ministry is updating the NSP (now in its final phase), and has found that the population in rural areas has fallen, while the population in urban areas (Lima and other cities) continues to rise, which leads to the need for a strategy to address this, he concluded.

Max Carbajal presented four scenarios projected by the sector for closing the gaps. In scenario 1, of the amount accrued (about 3.500 billion Sols) in the three levels of government, around 600 million Sols corresponds to SEDAPAL and the other EPSs is, and for APP [3], managed by the MVCS programmes and projects department, it would be around 700 million soles for the 2022 – 2031 period. The funds that are currently financing projects are distributed at almost 50/50 (50 for expansion and 50 for upgrading, repairs, etc.).   If the sector remains as it is now, by 2040 the gaps in water, sewerage and wastewater treatment will not have been closed, and in some cases they might have widened. In rural areas, where the population is falling, investment could close the gaps by 2030, but this will not be achieved nationwide.

Max Carbajal, Director of Sanitation

Scenario 2 proposes closing gaps by 2030 in water and sewerage, and uses the budget of the three levels of government as a control variable. In this scenario, it is clear that investment at the three levels of government would need to triple to over 10 billion Sols. In addition, if the budget for improvements and distributing the increases towards closing the gaps were maintained, the gaps in water, sewerage and excreta disposal would be closed throughout the country in urban and rural areas by 2030, and the gaps in wastewater treatment would be closed by 2040.

Scenario 3 is an optimistic but more realistic scenario. If the ministry’s entire budget is invested, rather than the current 60 per cent, and efficiency improved at all levels of government, (maintaining the budgets allocated so far, but managing to invest everything), the infrastructure gap would not be closed by 2030. By 2030, the urban sector gap would be closed, the rural sector gap would be closed by 2033; sewerage and excreta disposal gaps in urban areas would be closed by 2040, and in rural areas by 80 per cent; and the wastewater treatment gap would not be closed by 2030.

The fourth scenario is the same as scenario 3, except for an additional point for sparse communities, where the aim is to differentiate between universal service (having the service at home and being able to afford it) and universal access (accessing the service within a reasonable distance). As a result, by 2040, coverage in sanitary excreta disposal in rural areas would be complete, wastewater treatment would improve, and water coverage would be improved. However, by 2030, not everyone would have access, which means that several additional alternatives are needed.

Carbajal mentioned that the studies in the NSP are supported by German, Swiss and French cooperation. The results of the study “Covid-19 early warning tool based on wastewater monitoring”, supported by Swiss Cooperation (SECO), will be presented on 21 June, with historical data on how the concentration of the virus has been behaving in all the points where it has been measured in Lima (14) and the four points identified in Arequipa.

The study on the value attached to sanitation services was conducted to help formulate a sector strategy to improve this, and is currently in course in urban areas (supported by Swiss Cooperation, SECO and implemented by HELVETAS), and in rural areas with the support of the Swiss Cooperation (SDC).

The study, which will be completed by October this year, is collecting information about people’s willingness to pay for service improvements, and also to find out what decides people’s perceptions about the value of sanitation services. It aims to find out why there is a gap between what the service is worth and the consumer’s perception of its value.

The indicator matrix (supported by the Water Group) is now being socialised with programmes and other stakeholders in and beyond the MVCS. It will be completed and presented in the NSP and will be shared shortly.

Technical Secretariat Transfer

Rosa María Alcayhuamán and Bárbara González-Otoya are in charge of the Water Group technical secretariat, and they presented the final report on the work done during the term of Swiss Cooperation. They identified four strategic lines of action, implemented in coordination with the MVCS, which addressed the five areas of the NSP and the themes the various cooperation agencies have been working on as part of the Group, in order to support the housing sector’s requirements. They highlighted the main milestones and results in the 2021-2022 period, including the presentation of the indicator matrix, and the results of the TrackFin by PAHO.

Iris Marmanillo, representative of the World Bank, said that she was taking on this challenge with great enthusiasm and commitment, emphasising: “The challenge is to follow up on the excellent work done by Swiss cooperation, especially during the pandemic, and to support the Ministry of Housing, Construction and Sanitation. We are taking over the Group after 17 years and four national governments, and the support to the sector remains strong and committed. We will continue to work within the framework of the Paris Declaration, the Accra Agenda for Action and the Sustainable Development Goals”. Marmanillo said that this time the World Bank would assume the management of the technical secretariat together with the 2030 WRG. César Fonseca, Peru representative of the 2030 Water Resources Group, highlighted the need to promote private sector participation and involvement in order to close the gaps.

César Fonseca, WRG 2030 and Iris Marmanillo, The World Bank
Alain Bühlmann, Director of the Swiss Cooperation-SECO

At the end of the meeting, Alain Bühlmann, Director of the Swiss Cooperation (SECO), reaffirmed the need for the Water Group to continue supporting the sector to close gaps in access, achieve quality of service and sustainability, address the value attached to services, and evaluate and update policy measures. Finally, he thanked everyone for their permanent and active participation and their support and valuable contributions while Swiss Cooperation was in charge of the technical secretariat.

Documents of interest:
Presentación Ministerio de Vivienda, Construcción y Saneamiento (spanish)
Presentación Traspaso de la Secretaría Técnica grupo Agua (spanish)
FS Grupo Agua (spanish)

[1] PNS 21 -25: Plan Nacional de Saneamiento 2021 – 2025
[2] EPS: Empresas Prestadoras de Servicios
[3] APP: Asociaciones Público-Privadas



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