Annual Conference on “Enterprise, Government and Fight Against Poverty” in LAC

The approaches in development cooperation have relied traditionally on public funding from governments and donors and often have fallen short of economic recourse and effective results. Currently, the need for cooperation between private and public players in poverty reduction and resource mobilization to achieve Millennium Development Goals is increasingly recognized among the development actors.

The University of Applied Sciences (UPC) in Peru held its annual Economic Annual Convention focusing this year on theme “Enterprise, Government and Fight against Poverty” on October 2-3. The aim of the conference was to motivate actors to embrace a new paradigm that advocates potential of the private sector to provide sustainable and demand-driven solutions to development needs. Approximately 200 participants and lecturers from different countries, representing private sector managerial level, academics and international organizations, attended this two- day seminar in Lima. Francois Brikke, Regional Team Leader made a presentation on harnessing markets for development through private-public-social-partnerships and sanitation marketing approaches to achieve basic sanitation in Peru. WSP-LAC is implementing a Small Towns Pilot Project focusing on changing management models in small towns using public-private partnerships including civil society participation into the project. A Public-Private Partnership is a contractual agreement between a public agency (federal, state or local) and a private sector entity. Through this agreement, the skills and assets of each sector are shared in delivering a service or facility for the use of the general public. In addition, recently WSP-LAC office launched a project called Sanitation is a Business which aims to create an enabling environment for small entrepreneurs by harnessing the market.

According to the evaluation that took place in 2000, less than 5% of the 2.4 billion people worldwide who lack access to sanitation are in Latin America, but that small percentage still amounts to 114 million people. In the 40 years leading up to the year 2000, the population of LAC grew from 209 million in 1960 to 497 million. Water supply and sanitation had improved, but not for everyone and not fast enough. Sanitation coverage is significantly higher in towns and cities than in rural areas. While urban water coverage reaches 86%, the rural coverage is only 53%. To halve the population lacking improved sanitation by 2015 requires an increase in average coverage from 72% in 1990 to 86% in 2015, which means that 138 million people must have access to sanitation. This requires new sanitation being provided to 9.2 million people a year from now to 2015, higher than the 8.8 million people a year who gained access during the 1990s. This is estimated to cost US$ 22 billion by 2015 – 50% more than the cost of meeting the drinking water target. At present only 14 % of volume of sewage is treated. In Central America only 4% is treated.

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