Programme  Poster session 4  abstract 759

Improving the effectiveness of Water International Development Aid in Central America

Author(s): Rosa Castizo Robles
Degree in Political Sciences and Sociology; Master in Evaluation of Public Policies. Consultant for the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECI) and the Secretary of State for International Cooperation. Last year she has contributed to the laun

Keyword(s): Central America, Development Aid, Harmonising water policies, MDGs,

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Session: Poster session 4
AbstractAt the United

Nations Summit in September 2000, the international community agreed to a number of political commitments, the

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as targets for development in all over the world. The Target 10 of the

MDGs is “halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic


The World Health Organization considers that achieving the MDG target in water would bring a

general economic gain: “every $1 invested would yield an economic return of between $3 and $34, depending on the

region”. Moreover, greater investment in water sector would mean reduction in diseases (especially diarrhea), time

savings associated with having water and sanitation facilities located, higher productivity and school attendance.

In Central America, Panama and Costa Rica have reached this target. Nonetheless, their neighbors Honduras

and Nicaragua are still on track, having also the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) of the Latin American

Region, together with Guatemala and El Salvador.

Firstly, this study shows the several financial instruments

currently used by donors in water sector in Central America, like projects managed by NGOs, technical assistance

or Sector Wide Approaches (SWAPs). They are financed by bilateral donors, mostly European countries and

USAid, and multilateral institutions like the European Commission or the World Bank.

Secondly, this research

work has focused on the Central American institutions that have a key role for meeting the MDGs, Target 10. The

Central American Commission for Development and Environment (CCAD) and the Regional Commission for Water

Resources (CRRH) are part of the Central American Integration System (SICA), created in 1951 and composed by

eight Secretariats and thirteen specialized institutions. In Vienna, on the 10th of May 2006, the SICA members

agreed with donors (countries and multilateral stakeholders) to harmonize development policies and strengthen the

SICA governance. Nevertheless, this process has not yield these Vienna proposals, as the development policies in

water sector show.

This study starts showing the model that the Spanish Official Development Aid and the

SICA has begun to apply, in water sector. In the last year, two public-private partnerships have been created in

Spain, composed by Central American Institutions and all Spanish donors (General State Administration,

Autonomous Regions, Local Administrations and civil society cooperation). These two initiatives (Water Alliance

and Araucaria XXI) work as networks of knowledge and they align their projects with Central American demands.

Simultaneously, multilateral instruments, as the European Union Water Initiative for Latin America (EUWI-LA), have

been re-launched to reinforce the effectiveness of the aid. Moreover, the dialogue with international networks, as

Global Water Partnership or Fresh Water Action, has improved the general coordination.

Following Vienna

Meeting recommendations and based on the Central American water institutions, this study proposes a general

financial model for donors in these countries, using the new Spanish water initiatives as a reference. This framework

comprises one set of appraisal indicators, one process for assessment, and common conditionalities, increasing the

harmonization, effectiveness, alignment and accountability of the development aid in water sector for Central


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