Representatives from the public, private and civil sector, with the support of the Latin American Water Funds Partnership, represented at the event by The Nature Conservancy, committed to join efforts for the creation of the Santiago Water Fund.
Santiago, Chile – January 25. This morning representatives from 20 institutions representing the public, private and civil society sectors got together and publicly committed to work in the protection of the resources that supply water to the Metropolitan Region of Santiago which will result in the creation of a Water Fund for this specific region.
The Metropolitan Region of Santiago supplies water to a third of the Chilean population, also provides water for agricultural work, hydroelectric production, mining and the wine industry. However, there are several problems such as unsustainable livestock practices close to water sources, and the effects of climate change that significantly affect the region’s water security. Under this panorama, the creation of a Water Fund for the Metropolitan Region of Santiago becomes essential.
The Water Funds are an innovative and effective model already implemented in several cities in Latin America, which design and enhance financial and governance mechanisms that unite public, private and civil society stakeholders, around a common goal to contribute to water security through nature-based solutions. This includes the development of long-term conservation projects that contribute to sustainable watershed management and to strengthen water governance.
The Latin American Water Funds Partnership, created by the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), FEMSA Foundation, the Global Environment Facility and (GEF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), has promoted the creation and strengthening of several Water Funds in countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, among others. The efforts in Chile for the creation of a Water Fund in the Metropolitan Region are framed in the context of the implementation of the Santiago Resilience Strategy, giving it a fundamental impetus at this initial stage.
This process began in 2017 when the Mayor of the Metropolitan Region, Claudio Orrego decided to convene representatives from the public, private and civil society to participate in different roundtables to start creating a common view. This resulted in the creation of a pioneer group of institutions who joint efforts to develop a first proposal according to the characteristics of the region and the watersheds of the city of Santiago.
The pioneer group helped to define the objectives, attributes and the four key lines of action to contribute to Water Security: 1. Protection of water sources; 2. Efficiency and reduction of consumption; 3. Information management; and 4. Risk management. In addition, guidelines were created for the organizational structure, financing mechanisms and territorial scope with which the Water Fund must comply.
By signing this Agreement of Understanding, all the participants committed themselves to continue with the process of creation of the Water Fund for the Metropolitan Region. It is expected that by the second semester of 2018 there will be priorities, governance and funding sources defined to begin its legal constitution.
“This agreement symbolizes the first step in the process of creating the Water Fund, whose objective will be to carry out coordinated and science-based actions that contribute to ensuring the availability of water in quantity and quality for the population, businesses and nature in the long term. To achieve this, collaboration from the different sectors is required. For this reason, we invite other relevant stakeholders to join us, recognizing that water security is shared challenge that involves us all “commented Maryann Ramírez, Conservation Director of TNC in Chile.
The Mayor of the Metropolitan Region, Claudio Orrego, shared his satisfaction to see that this initiative that has drown the interest of so many stakeholders, from different sectors, and from a great diversity of industries. “Since we convened the first meeting in 2017, we emphasized the long-term perspective of this initiative, and the signing of today’s agreement will allow to continue these efforts to build a resilient Santiago” he added.
The signatories of this Memorandum of Understanding were Claudio Orrego Larraín, Metropolitan Intendant; Gabriela Elgueta, Regional Administrator and Director of Resilience of the Regional Government; Maryann Ramírez, Conservation Director from The Nature Conservancy and Representative from the Latin American Water Funds Partnership; José Miguel Arriaza, Metropolitan Seremi of the Environment; Aldo Ramaciotti, Metropolitan Seremi of Housing and Urbanism; Fernando Soto, Metropolitan Seremi of Public Works; Fabiola Freire, Seremi of Agriculture; José Soto, President of the Rural Commission of the Metropolitan Regional Council of Santiago, Ronaldo Bruna, Superintendent of Health Services; Carmen Herrera, Metropolitan Regional Director of the General Directorate of Water; Jaime Yáñez, Head of Studies, Development and Policy Division of the National Irrigation Commission; Narciso Berberana, General Manager of Aguas Andinas; Ronald Bown, President of the Association of Fruit Exporters of Chile AG; Álvaro García, Executive President Alianza Valor Minero; Felipe Purcell, Vice President of Corporate Affairs Anglo American; Marina Hermosilla, Executive Director Business Leaders against Climate Change Chile; Hernán Blanco, Executive Director of Avina Chile Foundation; Sara Larraín, Executive Director of Sustainable Chile; Fernanda Romero; Representative of the Network of Sanctuaries of the Metropolitan Region; Sebastián Vicuña, Director of the UC Global Change Center; Rafael León, Vice President Association Canales del Maipo; and Leah Mimbres, Manager of Development and Institutional Relations, and Andrés Pesce, Manager of Sustainability and Business, both from the Chile Foundation.