Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Bolivia Summit Follow-up

Report of the Meeting of July 28, 2000



Review and approval of minutes from IATF Meeting of April 4, 2000

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved.


The representative of the Division for Sustainable Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations (UNDESA), informed the group of the series of consultations and regional meetings taking place as part of the preparations for Rio+10. She stressed that early preparation is needed at the national, regional, and global levels, and added that both purely regional and coordinated approaches are encouraged. UNEP/ROLAC will be hosting a preparatory meeting (PREPCOM) in October or November of 2001. ECLAC will also participate in the meeting in order to contribute the important economic perspective. Information she distributed on the Rio+10 process appears in Annexes A, B, C, and D.

Working Group Reports

Drinking Water

The representative of PAHO presented on initiatives that are currently under way. The Virtual Library on Water Legislation has the objective of the dissemination of the complete text of legislation on vigilance and control of water quality of Latin American and the Caribbean countries and a selection of the legislation of developed countries and international organizations, using the methodology of the Virtual Library on Health. The library includes:

-. Water Quality Standards on Web Page for Region of the Americas.

-. Internet-based dissemination of the legislation of complete text on VCCA (Vigilance and Control of Water Quality) via the CEPIS web site.

-. A collaborative effort of 3 PAHO Centers (BIREME, INPAZ, and CEPIS) and 2 PAHO divisions (Health and Human Development Division and Health and Environment Division) to utilize the methodology of the Virtual Library in Health (BVS) Web site.

The First Subregional Seminar of the Southern Cone: Vigilance and Control of Water Quality will be held from September 4 to 6, 2000 in Buenos Aires. Its purpose is to contribute to improvements in the water quality of the region, by way of effective vigilance and control mechanisms and through institutional strengthening of the responsible national and local entities. Seminars in three other regions will take place in 2001.

A proposal for a marketing study on water advocacy is being developed. This will promote importance of water quality and raise awareness in the community about the benefits of disinfected and pure water. The proposal directly address initiative 47 of the Plan of Action of the Inter-Agency Working Group on Coordination of Technical Cooperation for Improving Access and Quality of Drinking Water). At the heart of the marketing/communications strategy is a pure and simple message that working group members agree upon: "Disinfected Water Can Save Your Life--Agua Pura Te Salva La Vida." The target audiences for this proposal are schools, decision-makers, local communities, and the media.

The Inter-American Water Day (IAWD) will be celebrated on October 7th, 2000 and this year's theme is "water, each drop counts: let's use it wisely." Next year the World Health Organization will be in charge of the World Water Day as the theme is "Water and Health" and it will be held March 22, 2001.

In November of this year the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and V Global Forum will be held in Iguaçú Brazil. Following consultations with PAHO and the Brazilian Association of Environmental Sanitation Engineering (ABES), the Steering Committee of the WSSCC proposed the venue of next Global Forum of the Council to be held in Rio de Janeiro from 25 to 29 November 2000. ABES identified a cross-section of Brazilian country agencies representing the sector. This is the first time that the V Global Forum will be held in Latin America. Five hundred people are expected to participate. Additional information is available at the WSSCC web page (

AIDIS will be holding its meeting from December 2-6, 2000 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The biennial AIDIS meeting is deemed to be the most important sanitary and environmental engineering event for the Region of the Americas. During the past 40 years, PAHO has been promoting and contributing to the development of this meeting. Approximately 3,000 professionals participate in the AIDIS Congress. PAHO's involvement in this event and in the technical discussions has been intense--mainly organizing a symposium just prior to the AIDIS Congress to review its regional evaluation. This is a forum of great importance for PAHO and the public health field in the Region. The theme of PAHO's Symposium for this XXVII Congress is "Water and Sanitation in the New Millennium: Past and Present Challenges and New Opportunities." The symposium concludes with Evaluation 2000 --developed by WHO and UNICEF-- and in which PAHO has played an active role for the Region of the Americas. During the Symposium, projections and challenges for the next decade, and PAHO's technical cooperation strategies with regard to drinking water and sanitation will be discussed and analyzed.

Clean Production

USAID is working on cleaner industrial production, primarily in the Andean countries and in the Caribbean (eco-hotels). It is beginning to work in Central America and would like to collaborate with other donors on what needs to be done in that region. USAID has produced a "Best Practices" CD-ROM, which it will distribute to the members of the IATF if requested. The USAID representative suggested that UNEP needed to be more active about leading this working group and suggested, in particular, that there should more meetings, e-mail list-servers, Web Pages and Internet discussions. The World Bank representative also requested more communication among group members, maybe through e-mail. In addition, he reported that the Bank is now financing two projects, one in Mexico and the other one in Chile, for cleaner production by small industries.

Disaster Reduction

A representative of the OAS/USDE presented information on activities related to the preparation of a document on policies and gaps. In relation to the first set of activities, he said that a workshop co-sponsored by the OAS and World Bank will take place on September 27, 2000 at the World Bank. Additionally, the OAS and US NOAA/Coastal Services Center held a workshop in South Carolina, in March 2000 on the second set of activities.

The World Bank representative announced that this institution is in the process of mainstreaming disaster preparedness within its regular lending program. The main mission of the World Bank is poverty reduction, and thus disaster reduction is well within this mission. In particular, the topic of natural disasters has been highlighted in the Latin American and Caribbean country strategies. The Bank has developed good collaboration with the OAS in Central America and in the Caribbean countries. The Disaster Management Facility was recently established at the Bank to coordinate activities in this area Bank-wide.

The CAF representative expressed that this institution has an internal working group on the mitigation of natural disasters and that will soon make available a report on impacts of El Niño and a CD-ROM on disaster reduction.

USAID stressed the importance of institutional stability to disaster funding. It is seeking information on the real impacts of natural disaster on ecosystems and socio-economic impacts on watersheds.

IICA requested information on what had happened to the special report on natural disasters presented to the OAS General Assembly, last June 2000 in Canada. The representation of the US Mission to the OAS informed him that due to the events surrounding the Peruvian election, this was not focussed on at the General Assembly. In addition, the IICA representative inquired about when the next meeting of the working group on this topic would take place. In fact, the IICA representative wanted to know if the working groups had terms of reference.



Environmental Law

USAID is currently providing a small grant to the North-South Center and the OAS to sponsor several roundtables on a trade and environment initiative (probably in Mercosur), public participation (OAS/ISP), and water resources management policy (monthly roundtables). Regarding trade and environment, it is highlighting the benefits of trade on the environment.

The experience gained by CEC/NAFTA regarding trade and environment should be looked at when trying to replicate something similar in the rest of the hemisphere. CEC will be having a symposium on Trade and Environment at the World Bank (October 11 and 12, 2000) on sectoral impacts of free trade.

Renewable Energy

The OAS, through the Renewable Energy in the Americas Initiative (REIA) is developing several activities in this field. In December 2000, in conjunction with Village Power (a renewables-based rural electrification conference sponsored by the World Bank, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Winrock International), the OAS will be hosting REIA2000, a regional conference on renewable energy. The OAS will soon be signing a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Guatemala to work together on policy analysis and development. The OAS is also working with Guayana and Suriname to develop rural electrification proposals. The OAS is working with the Young Americas Business Trust and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to implement the Youth and Energy in the Americas: Renewable Energy Training Program. This program gives young people (21-35 years old) the opportunity to attend an intensive orientation seminar on renewable energy and then serve a 3-11 month internship at a renewable-energy company.

USAID has been concentrating much of its activities in Mexico, Brazil, Dominican Republic, and Central America. The Central American activities are coordinated through the regional office in Guatemala.

Santa Cruz +5 Meeting

It was reported that the Government of Bolivia has offered to serve as host of the Santa Cruz +5 meeting, a follow-up to the 1996 Bolivia Summit, and negotiations are currently underway to set a date. It is planned for the last quarter of 2001. It is imperative that the date of Santa Cruz +5 be coordinated with activities in preparation for Rio +10. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the contacts for Rio +10 are Alicia Barcena (ECLAC) and Ricardo Sánchez (ROLAC).

USAID brought up question of the issue of how the Agencies were expected to report in a consistent manner on 65 initiatives. In the past, 12 topic areas were determined as well as some crosscutting initiatives. Each agency was then given with the opportunity to decide how to present its activities and accomplishments.

CEC said that this sort of reporting is very difficult. There are no clear indicators to measure progress in a consistent and harmonized manner. The previous report is fragmented and not entirely systematic. Perhaps the agencies should look at the GEO process (UNEP) to see another approach to reporting. UNDESA noted that ECLAC and ROLAC are carrying out regional assessments as part of the Rio +10 preparations. Collaboration with this process is necessary in order to avoid duplication.

There was some discussion about whether trends should be included in the report or whether it should only be a presentation of past accomplishments. If the focus is on trends, measurement with indicators is not possible.

IICA suggested a working group to draft an outline and analyze the contents and conclusions of the report. IICA already has a technical focal point responsible for this type of work.

The OAS stressed that sustainable development should also be considered as a topic in the coming presidential summit in Canada. The U.S. Mission indicated that a number of initiatives that emerged from Santa Cruz could be highlighted in Canada (e.g., IABIN, ISP) and also be used as inputs to the Latin American and Caribbean Rio + 10 process.

IV Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management

The Government of Brazil will be hosting this event in April of 2001, in a continuation of an ongoing process of dialogue throughout the hemisphere. The International Organizing Group will be meeting in Washington, D.C., on August 31 and September 1. Brazil has presented a project to the OAS internal funding (FEMCIDI) to provide funding for travel for IWRN Focal Points to Dialogue IV, to organize regional meetings prior to Dialogue IV, and to carry out regional studies.


USAID stressed that it felt it was not getting as much benefit as possible out of the working groups and suggested that the solution may be logistical. The World Bank representative concurred, stating that it would be useful to receive information from the various working groups more regularly and frequently and suggested using e-mail or Internet. CEC suggested the use of a list-serve and homepage for various initiatives.

A Global Environment Facility meeting on International Waters, organized by UNEP and UNDP, will be held in October in Budapest. The OAS will participate as an implementing agency of several international waters projects in Latin America.

The World Water Council will be meeting in Marseilles, France, in October.

IICA is hosting a meeting in Mexico (September 6-8) on Agricultural Research and Extension.

Next Meeting

The next IATF meeting will take place November 16, 2000 at 2:30 p.m. in the Columbus Conference Room of the OAS Main Building, 17th Street & Constitution Avenue, N.W.

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