By Antonio Levy. The “On Course Towards 2025 Nexus Forum” took place on October 1st 2019, in La Paz, Bolivia, bringing together valuable lessons and experiences following three years of program implementation. The event was organized by the GIZ Nexus Bolivia team with two objectives: i) present the results of the Nexus Bolivia program in its implementation; and ii) promote the continuation of the intersectoral work among various organizations in the framework of Bolivia’s “2025 Patriotic Bicentennial Agenda”.
The event was sponsored by the ministries of Energies, Development Planning, Environment and Water, Rural and Land Development, the Catholic University of Bolivia, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations (CEPAL), the European Union and the German Cooperation Program (implemented by GIZ and partially sponsored by the GADER-ALC network). Topics covered included public sector planning, public policy, multipurpose projects (such as multipurpose dams), extreme poverty, and intersectoral coordination, bringing together over twenty expert speakers in a densely-packaged program.
As was shown during the presentation, the Nexus Bolivia program has played a central role in helping align the objectives and strategies of the Social and Economic Development Plan of Bolivia (PDES) with those of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of the country, resulting in the creation of an integrated planning system for public policies.
Nexus Bolivia also contributed to identifying and generating 16 coordination mechanisms among WEF nexus stakeholders, including a joint platform among the Ministry of Environment and Water and the Ministry for Rural Development to address irrigation and water use, an interinstitutional committee working towards the SDGs, and a joint working group to address issues regarding the Misicuni multipurpose dam. According to the panelists, further work is still needed to foster collaboration and coordination among the three WEF Nexus sectors in the country.
Overall, there were more than 120 participants in the event and over 450 livestreaming views via YouTube, which joined together in this unique opportunity to learn and share some of the challenges, lessons learned, and best practices surrounding the Nexus in Bolivia, lessons that can surely be applied to many other countries worldwide through the Nexus Regional Platform.
Full video recording of the event is available here.
Looking at the physical context, Bolivia is among the twenty countries with the most water in the planet, yet it is also one with the lowest water collection capacity in dams in the continent (both figures on a per capita basis). To cope with increasing population growth, industrialization and climate change, the country has set its sights on multiplying its water collection capacity six times by 2030, an immensely ambitious goal that will need to balance the needs between human consumption, irrigation for agriculture, energy generation, flood control, tourism, fisheries, and others. Considerable efforts are hence focused on the implementation of multipurpose dams, a subject that was discussed at length.
Effective public policies are needed to guide the growth in water infrastructure and the interaction between the three WEF sectors, yet many of the laws in the country are outdated, including the general water law that dates to 1906. Updated laws and regulations are needed to reflect increased regional independence as well as the nation’s overall strategy, as expressed in Bolivia’s 2025 Agenda and in the Objectives of the UN’s 2030 Agenda. While there has been much valued progress, current legislation does not yet provide sufficient multisectoral considerations.
Following on the success of this and prior Nexus forums in the Latin America region, future virtual forums are planned to discuss Solar Powered Irrigation Systems and Integrated Water Resource Management in the region.
For more information please contact Ignacio Benavides at firstname.lastname@example.org or Antonio Levy at email@example.com.