El Agua Nos Une - Water stewardship: evidence-based decisions


Based on Switzerland’s decade long experience on private sector engagement and empowerment of public institutions, El Agua Nos Une programme focuses on strengthening evidence-based decisions for better water governance, in 4 Latin American countries. It envisions systemic change towards corporate water use efficiency and pollution mitigation, mobilizing stakeholders and investments in ecosystem preservation; contributing to a more equitable society and responsible water use.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Andean Region
Colombia
Latin America
Mexiko
Water
Governance
Water sector policy
Public sector policy
Water resources conservation
Water diplomacy and security
01.01.2021 - 31.03.2026
CHF  4’050’000
Background

Water use has increased six fold over the past century and is rising by about 1% per year. Besides, worldwide between 80% and 90% of wastewater is discharged to the environment without any form of treatment. The Disclosure Insight Action (CDP) Global Water Report 2019 showed that less than 50% of the companies surveyed, measure and monitor discharges from their production process and only 12% of them have set goals related to pollution reduction. In a globalized economy, water management challenges are increasingly associated with the accelerated production and consumption of goods and services. Thus, SDC has identified a niche of work to facilitate knowledge on water footprint evaluation and reduction, focusing on practical results. This initiative fosters partnerships with public and private sector partners to improve decision-making, based on technical information and systemic monitoring. 

 

Background information. Latin America faces concerns regarding water stress, flooding, water demand growth, low-efficiency and wastewater treatment rates (less than 50%). Evidence-based decisions and cooperation among public, private and civil society sectors are imperative to tackle these challenges. Thus, the private sector is becoming more aware of their water risks and citizens are engaging in lowering their environmental impacts.

Objectives Strengthening evidence-based decisions for better water governance, in 4 Latin American countries.
Target groups

-Direct: Ministries of environment and sub-national authorities, hydrology institutes. Small, large and medium-sized companies, vulnerable local communities living in high mountain ecosystems,

Colombia: National Institute of Environmental Studies, Ministry of Environment, National Business Association, Centre of Science Technology; Water fund BioCuenca.

Peru: National Water Authority, CARE - SABA VIDA, National Association of Industries, Foreign Trade  Corporation of Peru, Drinking Water and Sewer Service of Lima.

Mexico: National Water Commission, Life Cycle Analysis Center, Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade.

Brazil: National Water Agency, Getulio Vargas Foundation, National Industry Confederation.

International: UN Global Compact, GIZ, Pacific Alliance: Business Council and Green Growth Technical Group.

-Indirect: International integration platforms and trade associations, science, technology and innovation institutions.

Medium-term outcomes

1. Strengthen public policy implementation.

- Contribution to the institutional water monitoring systems in Colombia (National Water Study) and Peru.

- Public policy instruments encourage Corporate Water Stewardship.

 

2. Scaling up Corporate Water Stewardship (CWS) and participation of civil society. 

- CWS is recognized and applied by the private sector with a value-chain and circular economy approach.

- Civil society leads reflections and actions on sustainable lifestyles and responsible consumption.

 

3. Multi-actors alliances allow conserving natural infrastructure and improving livelihoods.

- Investment models in natural infrastructure are consolidated and expand their territorial coverage.

- Livelihoods of the local population are improved and diversified.

 

4. Knowledge is shared and applied by the Latin American Community of Practice.

- Community of Practice on water management is expanded and strengthened.

- Contribution to decision-making by different actors in Latin America and further international reach.

Results

Expected results:  

·       Institutional water quantity and quality monitoring systems are strengthened.

·       CWS is recognized and applied by the business sector.

·       Civil society leads reflections and actions on sustainable lifestyles and responsible consumption.

·       Investment models in natural infrastructure in strategic basins are consolidated and livelihoods of the population improved and diversified.

·       Community of Practice is a reference in water management and advises professionals in the region

-    Impact in decision-making by different stakeholders in Latin America and global coordination.


Results from previous phases:  

This is the first phase of “El Agua Nos Une”. Although, it is underpinned by the “SuizAgua” project, with which SDC has played, since 2010, a catalytic role for the promotion of CWS in Latin America.

“El Agua Nos Une” builds up on the External Evaluation of “SuizAgua”, which highly scored the pertinence, efficiency and impact of the project. Thus, it endorsed the lines of action and recommended the following:

- To work with medium-size companies and business associations.

- To seek for further engagement of the value chain when working with big companies.

- To profit and to enlarge the Community of Practice for water stewardship in Latin America, linking experiences for further outreach.

-To support the standardization of water monitoring systems by competent public institutions to base decisions on validated information.

- To enhance, in water users, the recognition of the value of the ecosystem services, in particular water provision.

- To increase the global influence of the programme, based on the regional experiences and south-south cooperation


Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign academic and research organisation
International or foreign NGO
Private sector
  • Foreign private sector South/East
  • Research Organisation of South East

Implementing partner
Colombia: National Institute of Environmental Studies, Ministry of Environment, National Business Association, Centre of Science Technology; Water fund BioCuenca.
Peru: National Water Authority, CARE - SABA VIDA, National Association of Industries, Foreign Trade  Corporation of Peru, Drinking Water and Sewer Service of Lima.
Mexico: National Water Commission, Life Cycle Analysis Center, Mexican Business Council for Foreign Trade.
Brazil: National Water Agency, Getulio Vargas Foundation, National Industry Confederation.
International:UN Global Compact, GIZ, Pacific Alliance: Business Council and Green Growth Technical Group.

Coordination with other projects and actors Platforms: Pacific Alliance, UN Global Compact, UNEP - World Water Quality Alliance (WWQA), UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Hydrological Program (PHI UNESCO), Latin American Alliance of Water Funds. Coordination with SDC’s initiatives: RésEAU, Promoting Water Stewardship 2030, ASIR-SABA, SIRWASH. At country level, potential actions with: Sistema B, WBCSD, AWS and WRG2030.
Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    4’050’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    2’220’481
Project phases Phase 1 01.01.2021 - 31.03.2026   (Current phase)