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
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
-. Water Quality Standards on Web Page for Region of the
-. 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 (www.wsscc.org).
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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 +
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
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
IICA is hosting a meeting in Mexico (September 6-8) on
Agricultural Research and Extension.
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.