Under the title “Water and Climate Change Resilience,” the 5th Water Dialogues, organized by CAF—development bank of Latin America—and the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition, took place in Madrid, focusing on experiences on the effects of climate change on water management, and tools to ensure water security and minimize these effects based on innovation, use of new technologies and social awareness.
Teresa Ribera, (acting) Minister for the Ecological Transition, opened the fifth edition of the Water Dialogues highlighting the importance of “exchange of experiences in the framework of a cooperation-based dialogue,” where “water becomes a driver of noticeable change” and where governments “need to be prepared for extreme conditions.”
During his opening remarks, she praised CAF’s efforts to focus its agenda on “water issues” and to encourage governments to “guide international cooperation efforts towards promoting effective management models.”
In his speech, Julián Suárez Migliozzi, Vice President of Sustainable Development at CAF, highlighted the importance of the strategic partnership with Spain as a key partner in CAF’s water agenda. He noted that at CAF “we are managing these water resources and advancing a water security agenda, because the two most visible sides of climate change are water-related: droughts and floods.”
Suarez stressed that “our relationship with water is changing and therefore this paradigm of sustainability must be changed,” and concluded that “at CAF, our water strategy is aimed at supporting Latin America and the Caribbean in construction of resilient infrastructure to withstand droughts and floods,” and mentioned the example of the infrastructure over the Luján River in Argentina.
In addition, the director of the Spanish Agency for Development Cooperation (AECID), Aina Calvo Sastre, shared her perspective, emphasizing “the importance of the 2030 Agenda, which raises the important question of how countries are facing the reality of climate change.”
After the opening ceremony, the 5th Water Dialogues were structured in two main sessions in the morning. The first on Drought management. Compared experiences in Ibero-America, featuring presentations by Victor Arqued (MITECO), on the “Integration of extreme hydrometeorological phenomena in planning and management of the basin” and a subsequent discussion panel. The panel featured also Yamileth Astorga, president of Aqueducts and Sewers of Costa Rica; Paulo Salles, president of ADASA (Brasilia, Brazil); Mario Andrés Urrea, President of the Segura Hydrographic Confederation (Spain) and Walter Obando, Head of the National Water Authority (Peru) moderated by Concepción Marcuello, from the Permanent Technical Secretariat of the Conference of Ibero-American Water Directors (CODIA).
In the second session, Raúl Salazar, head of the United Nations Regional Office for the Americas for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN.DRR), delivered a presentation entitled “Towards a new approach on the flood risk prevention.” The second morning panel was moderated by Franz Rojas-Ortuste, coordinator of the CAF Water Agenda and featured Paulo Serra, mayor of Santo André (Sao Paulo, Brazil); María Dolores Pascual, president of the Ebro Hydrographic Confederation (Spain); Francisco Dumler, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SEDAPAL, (Lima, Peru) and Raúl Salazar, head of the Regional Office in the Americas of UN-DRR.
The Water Dialogues are discussion forums organized annually for the purpose of promoting the exchange of knowledge and experiences between Latin America and Spain on water issues. In the previous edition, the event brought together experts from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss the challenges currently faced by governments to achieve a high-level political pact that contributes to ensure water security. In this fifth edition, the objective is to analyze existing mechanisms to meet the challenges posed by more frequent droughts and floods that occur as a result of the effects of climate change.
This event is part of a strategic platform for long-term collaboration developed by CAF and the Kingdom of Spain, through the ministries for the Ecological Transition (MITECO), Economy and Enterprise (MINECO) and Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation (MAEUEC).