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Water and cooperation: the Basque water operators commit to help development in water and sanitation

Last 16th December UNESCO Etxea participated in a conference on Water and Cooperation organised by Euskal Fondoa in the Palacio Miramar de Donostia-San Sebastin which was attended by almost 40 people.

Euskal Fondoa is the Basque local entities' Cooperation Fund developing cooperation projects in countries like Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba and the Saharan territories. Almost 42% of the projects relate to water and sanitation and are performed with funds from the Basque Government and the cooperation funds from almost 90 town councils.

The conference was opened by Ainhoa Belola, Donostia-San Sebastian City Council Councillor for Cooperation and treasurer of Euskal Fondoa, and Alberto Ruiz de Azua, Mayor of Arrigorriga, Chairperson of Euskal Fondoa and also Vice-Chairperson of the Consocio de Agua Bilbao Bizkaia (Bilbao Bizkaia Water Consortium).

The conference started with a presentation on the world water crisis by Josu Sanz, Head of UNESCO Etxea's Environment Department, which set out the most recent data from the United Nations reports on the access to water and sanitation, as well as the development cooperation initiatives and innovative issues like the human right to water.

They were then informed about two of the projects being carried out by Euskal Fondoa in Central America to improve access to water and sanitation, one of them in the most rural areas of El Salvador and the other in the city of San Carlos in Nicaragua. This information was given together with Euskal Fondoas counterparts in each of the projects.

But the principle objective of the meeting was also to align the Basque water operators with the field of cooperation. Some consortiums and associations of municipalities have performed punctual or permanent cooperation experiences in most cases together with NGDOs.

Hence some of the experiences were presented. It was started by ngel Llamazares, manager of Aguas de AMVISA Vitoria waters who presented its long experience in cooperation and its relationship with Vitoria City Council. On the other hand, the manager of the Bilbao Bizkaia consortium, Pedro Barreiro, explained that the Consortium is assessing the possibility of starting some type of collaboration together with some of its workers who collaborate with an NGDO.

Afterwards, Miguel Angel Muagorri, manager of Txingudiko Zerbitzuak, explained that they had a bad experience in Angola, as they had problems with the authorities of that country to develop the treatment and supply system in a hospital together with the NGDO Behar Bidasoa.

In any event these three operators and Agua del Aarbe, the operator who supplies San Sebastian and surrounding towns, have signed an agreement to start working on cooperation issues. Hence, in a coordinated manner and supported by the experiences of the NGDOs, the aim is for the Basque operators to support worldwide access to water and sanitation.

More information:

Programme

Euskal fondoa - Conference

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With the support of
Bizkaiko Foru Aldundia / Diputación Foral de Bizkaia

Eusko Jaurlaritza / Gobierno Vasco