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Six Latin American and African countries become drinking water observatories

  • CATIE will lead a project involving researchers from prestigious academic and research institutions worldwide.

January 13, 2022. Access to drinking water and sanitation services continues to be a challenge in many parts of the world, directly affecting people who do not have sufficient resources, and to contribute to the solution of this challenge, the Environment for Development Unit (EfD-CA) of CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) will lead a Global Water Observatory from January 2022.

This project will emphasize the problems of water scarcity for human consumption and the affordability of this resource in urban sites in countries of the Global South.

In its first phase, the project will develop scientific research and contribute to the design of public policies on this issue in Costa Rica, Chile, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Ghana. 

Róger Madrigal, EfD-CA coordinator at CATIE and leader of the Global Water Observatory project, comments that the project is of great importance because "it addresses a central issue to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and guarantee the Human Right to Water". 

The researcher adds that today's growing population and climate change are putting pressure on water and sanitation services in the cities that will be part of the study, as well as the world in general.


International collaboration

"The project is a great opportunity to bring together researchers specializing in water issues to work collaboratively and influence proposals that guarantee access to water for the most vulnerable groups in urban areas," said Madrigal, who emphasized that as researchers they recognize the role that women play in water management, especially in places where the water supply infrastructure is very deficient. For this reason, this will be one of the main focuses of the project.

The research team will be composed of professionals linked to the Environment for Development (EfD) and belonging to the economics and business schools of universities such as the University of Nairobi, Kenya; Makerere University, Uganda; Washington State University and the University of South Carolina in the United States; Universidad del Desarrollo (The Development University), Chile; and the University of Cape Town, South Africa; and finally, the Environment for Development Unit of CATIE will be responsible for coordination.

The first phase of the water observatories project will last until 2024.


What is EfD?

EfD is a global network of environmental economics research centers created in 2007, which seeks to address the world's most pressing environmental and development challenges. It contributes to effective environmental management in the Global South through policy-relevant research, capacity building and policy engagement.

EfD's global headquarters is located at the School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, while the 13 existing centers are hosted by academic and research institutions such as CATIE for the Central American region. Chile, China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Vietnam are the countries hosting the remaining EfD centers.


More information:

Róger Madrigal B.
Environment for Development Unit
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Written by:

Marianela Argüello L.
Communication and Knowledge Management Officer
Environment for Development Unit
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