Switzerland at the V LATINOSAN Conference

Commitment and rural development:  SABA+ Basic Sanitation, a contribution of the Global Water Programme of Swiss Cooperation in Latin America

From 1 to 3 April, government representatives and renowned experts at the V Latinosan Conference discussed new proposals to make universal access to sanitation a reality in the region. The event, whose slogan was “Sanitation for All: Bridging the Gaps”, took place in Costa Rica, and had as its framework the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be reached by the year 2030. The SDG 6 is: “To guarantee the availability of water and sustainable management and sanitation for all”.

Swiss Cooperation (SDC) played an active part in the 2019 Latin American Sanitation Conference (LATINOSAN), reaffirming its commitment to Agenda 2030 for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It looks ahead to scaling up its cooperation globally, promoting specific activities in innovation, south-south cooperation and policy dialogue, and strengthening the institutions and monitoring capacity of its partner countries.

The cooperation was three-fold. First, with the theme of “strategic vision”, Switzerland helped define the themes of LATINOSAN 2019 and drafted the Regional Report which was presented at the beginning of the day by the consultant Fernando Romero, specialist in water and sanitation. It reviewed the progress of SDG6, and highlighted progress in access to water, but large gaps still in terms of access to sanitation. Switzerland participated actively throughout the preparations for the main event.

One of the highlights in this area was the presentation of the SDC’s experience with the SABA+ Project. This is one of Swiss Cooperation flagship initiatives, which over 20 years ago decided to support the efforts of a group of Peruvian partners to tackle the challenge of increasing water quality coverage and basic sanitation services for Peru’s underprivileged rural population and to enrich the global debate with consolidated experience. The result was the joint formulation of the Comprehensive Model of Basic Rural Sanitation Projects (SABA).

The conference was an opportunity to share the recent publication: ?What makes a successful intervention model? Ten lessons learned from the Rural Water and Sanitation Model (SABA) ¿Qué compone un modelo de intervención exitoso? 10 aprendizajes del Modelo de Agua y Saneamiento Rural SABA, as a contribution of Swiss Cooperation’s Global Water Programme in Latin America. The publication presents the history of the model, its operation, the outcomes, its coverage in Peru and its initial expansion to other countries inside and outside Latin America.

For the second theme, on “operational experience“, Switzerland contributed its technical experts in the field of water and sanitation, who enriched the discussion. One key aspect was the SDC’s unconditional and uninterrupted support to the current Technical Secretariat for all that was involved in the preparation of the LATINOSAN schedule, and additionally the contents of the conferences which SDC also supported. Finally, in the third theme, “financial support“, Switzerland contributed by sending international experts and technical delegations from Peru and Colombia.

SDC’s strategic and active role was evident from the sessions and workshops in preparation for LATINOSAN 2019. It also provided moderators and speakers at conferences and thematic sessions: i) Policies and Programmes for gradually moving towards sustainable and universal access to safe and affordable sanitation; ii) Sustainability in drinking water and sanitation companies; iii) Young sanitation professionals; iv) Understanding the dimension of community water management, its potential, its needs and the role it can play in sanitation; v) The keynote conference “Challenges of sustainable sanitation in the perspective of a culture of information and transparency”; and vi) Information and communication technology, a driving force for transparency and inclusion.

Regional Report.
The Regional Report prepared for this Fifth LATINOSAN Conference is an important stocktaking instrument that provides inputs for a discussion about the context, progress, challenges and opportunities that the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have within an adequate framework of accountability, transparency and mutual learning.


Given the importance of information for making appropriate policy decisions in general and on water and sanitation in particular, Switzerland is very committed to and supports global, regional and national platforms to facilitate the generation and analysis of information, to guide public water and sanitation strategies and policies, and encourage discussion among countries and knowledge management.

Martin Jaggi

For Switzerland, water is a public good and access to it is a human right,” said Martin Jaggi in his speech. “As a cooperation agency, we want LATINOSAN’s regional reports to be public policy instruments that reflect linkage between national and sub-national governments and civil society as part of good governance in the region,” he said.

He went on to say that Switzerland, in the framework of the United Nations Agenda 2030 for sustainable development, focuses its actions on SDG 6, a comprehensive approach that includes the entire water cycle, i.e. systemic water resources management; and the commitment of all signatories to Agenda 2030, which must be implemented including government, civil society, science and the private sector.

Latin American and Caribbean Observatory – Water and Sanitation (OLAS)
OLAS was launched during the V LATINOSAN Conference. It should provide the region with accurate data on the subject and monitor the countries’ progress. Yamilteh Astorga, president of the state-run Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers, reported that OLAS will be “an arm of LATINOSAN,” and that it will have financial support from countries and agencies such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). “OLAS is going to keep pace and permanently monitor the plans and the adaptation of the institutions towards compliance with SDG 6 (UN Sustainable Development Goal),”Astorga said.

The OLAS aims to generate reliable data from all countries in the region, as there are currently serious difficulties in doing so, and from then on to develop tools to improve safe drinking water and sanitation management.

The goals of the OLAS include monitoring and evaluating the implementation and impact of public policies, promoting coordinated public and private efforts, promoting the exchange of experiences and lessons learned, and analysing priority issues for safe liquid management.

Declaration of San José
The ministers, deputy ministers and executive presidents of drinking water and sanitation of nineteen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean signed the San José Declaration at the close of the event. The document establishes the countries’ willingness to increase the budget for this sector, with a view to meeting Sustainable Development Goal (STG) 6, and adjusting national policies and regulatory frameworks for this purpose.

The document also highlights the commitment to implement programs for the recovery of water bodies (rivers, lakes and wetlands) contaminated by untreated wastewater, with a comprehensive water resources management approach. It should be noted that the themes of youth and disasters in the document were proposed by the SDC. (PDF) Executive Summary)

It should be noted that the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has been supporting Latin American governments since the first version of LATINOSAN in Colombia in 2007, and two positive trends stand out along the way. First, fundamental principles such as the Human Right to Water and Sanitation have been integrated over the years. Second, sanitation now has a more comprehensive approach, linking issues such as climate change and synergies with other sectors including disaster risk management, health and education.


Download presentations: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3
See conference videos

For further information:
Web Latin American Sanitation Conference 2019 ( LATINOSAN)


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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.