Latin America must innovate to tap fresh water potential

United Nations, Mar 24 (EFE) – Latin America still grapples with challenges in providing quality water and sanitation services to its citizens, even though it boasts the highest per capita of fresh water availability in the world.

The solution, according to the experts meeting Friday at the UN in the framework of the 2023 Water Conference, lies in innovation.

“We should be proud of the progress we have made in recent decades in the coverage and quality of water, sanitation, and solid waste services. However, we must examine our current reality to understand where we stand,” said Lorena Guillé-Laris, executive director of the FEMSA Foundation.

Guillé-Laris noted that while water covers 75% of the region’s territory, 160 million people still lack access. In terms of sanitation, 430 million people do not have these services.

“We need to do things differently, faster, cheaper, and more efficiently. Thus, we must innovate,” she emphasized.

To encourage innovation, Guillé-Laris announced the 2023 BID-FEMSA Awards, which have recognized projects related to drinking water, sanitation, and solid waste since 2009.

“This 2023 edition will aim to acknowledge the most innovative sanitation solutions in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Guillé-Laris said, adding that two cash prizes, one of $10,000 and another of $15,000, will be awarded.

Friday’s meeting focused on discussing how cross-sectoral water associations can drive innovation to ensure water accessibility, quality, quantity, and affordability.

Attendees included representatives from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Center for Water Management Services (cewas), and the Governor of Nuevo León (northeast Mexico), Samuel Garcia, among others.

Additionally, three young women entrepreneurs, recipients of various innovation awards already making positive impacts in Latin America’s water and sanitation sector, shared their experiences. EFE


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