El Agua Nos Une – Water Stewardship “United for Water
Based on Switzerland’s decade long experience on private sector engagement and empowerment of public institutions, “El Agua Nos Une” 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.
Water sector policy
Public sector policy
Water resources conservation
Water diplomacy and security
- Foreign private sector South/East
- Research Organisation of South East
Switzerland has been a pioneer in introducing the concept of Corporate Water Stewardship (CWS) in the past decade in Latin America. The region faces main challenges such as water stress, flooding, water demand growth, low-efficiency rates and deficient wastewater treatment (less than 50%). Thus, strengthened water governance is imperative to improve human and nature’s well-being and progress. Evidence-based decisions and cooperation among actors from the public and private sectors, as well as from civil society, are imperative to tackle the key challenges of water management. Moreover with the increasing environmental and social impacts, such as water consumption and pollution, result of the excessive production of goods and services, transported around the world. The private sector is becoming more aware of its water related risks and citizens are demanding information to engage and to reduce their impacts. Thus, Latin America is a propitious region to work on these issues, which are aggravated by the alarming murders of social and environmental leaders, particularly in Colombia, as well as in Brazil and Mexico.
 Global Witness, July 2020. Land and environmental defenders: annual report. https://www.globalwitness.org/en/campaigns/environmental-activists/land-and-environmental-defenders-annual-report-archive/
|Objectives||To strengthen water governance for a more equitable society, maximizing the relevant driving forces from the public and private sector, as well as the civil society that together will lead the process of systemic change towards more responsible production and consumption and an increased societal valuing of water.|
Direct: Ministries of environment and sub-national authorities, hydrology institutes. Small, large and medium-sized companies, vulnerable local communities living in high mountain ecosystems,
Indirect: International integration platforms and trade associations, science, technology and innovation institutions.
1. Public policy implementation is strengthened and evidence-based decision making is implemented.
2. Scaling up Corporate Water Stewardship (CWS) and participation of civil society.
3. Multi-actor alliances allow conserving natural infrastructure and improving livelihoods.
4. Knowledge is shared and applied by the Latin American Community of Practice and disclosed on international platforms.
· 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||
Foreign academic and research organisation
|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 242’740|