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IDB: Latin America only invests 1.8% of GDP in water infrastructure |  EFE Communicates

Although Latin America is a region where millions of people lack access to sustainable and inclusive water services, the region only invests 1.8% of its GDP in infrastructure for the liquid, Mauricio Claver-Carone, president of the Inter-American Bank, lamented this Friday. of Development (IDB).

“Between 2008 and 2019, the region invested, on annual average, 1.8% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in infrastructure for water, sanitation, electricity, transportation and telecommunications services. However, according to our calculations, the region must allocate an annual 3.12% of its GDP to close the infrastructure gap in 2030”, the manager specified in a letter.

Claver-Carone pointed out that this means that investment needs to be increased by 70%, in addition to finding innovative financing mechanisms to reach those amounts.

He also said that it is important to strengthen the institutions of the sector, including the operating companies, which must be supported to increase technological innovation, the digitalization of services and reform governance.

“This is critical to implement resilient solutions to climate change, such as watershed conservation; or introduce unconventional sources, such as desalination or reuse,” she pointed out.

He stated that the private sector could “and should” play a more active role, including small and medium-sized companies, which could offer more sophisticated services such as the management of fecal sludge in urban areas.

The director stressed that “more and better” should be invested considering the water cycle.

“For this, we need to change the perspective of a linear economic model towards a circular economy model”, he requested.

He indicated that wastewater treatment is a good starting point.

“But we must act quickly: Latin American and Caribbean cities currently treat only 20% of wastewater, on average, compared to more than 60% in high-income countries,” he said.

Similarly, he said that within the circular vision, natural capital is an essential component of water infrastructure.

In addition, he argued that the water project does not consist only of infrastructure, but also of the human component.

“Working closely with the communities is essential to promote the adoption of positive behaviors for conservation and efficient use, which in turn enables the move towards a culture of responsible use and consumption,” he stated.

He stressed that these issues are addressed in the Focus on the Americas, within the World Water Week of the Stockholm International Water Institute, which this year focuses on the value of water.

“In the regional program we are addressing issues such as maximizing the value of water for development, investment in the future of water, water security, and the appreciation of nature,” he specified.

All this, he said, with a view to contributing to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, “and going further, promoting a culture of social and technological innovation in water and sanitation that allows the provision of sustainable and inclusive universal services” , he concluded.