Guatemala is taking big steps to upgrade its National Water and Sanitation Policy
Integration of risk analysis
Guatemala, due to its geographical location, is particularly vulnerable to climatic, environmental, and social risks. The magnitude of risks and vulnerability faced by Guatemala has been recognised and measured by different indices. In this context, Guatemala is making progress in defining policies and initiatives to address environmental, climate and other risks, and to reduce its vulnerability and exposure to them. This effort has been reflected, for example, in the international commitments made in the updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which include commitments to “strengthen resilience, enhance adaptive capacity and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change”.
In the construction of the upgraded National Water and Sanitation Policy, climate and environmental risk analysis was incorporated for the first time in the water and sanitation policy analysis. This exercise was based on a pre-analysis of prioritisation of hazards and vulnerabilities with a core group of experts. Participants had the opportunity to analyse the WASH sector from the perspective of climate vulnerability and to propose possible solutions linked to specific hazards. The results of this analysis were able to support the formulation of specific activities which were considered in the formulation of the structure of the new Policy.
After three days of intense work, a consensus was reached on the analysis of roles and responsibilities for eight sub-sectors. The new policy structure outlines specific objectives, results, and guidelines.
Eight teams set goals for 2027 and 2032 with specific objectives grouped into four approaches: governance, environmental risks, information systems, and social management.
This methodology is a first in Guatemala. The overall analysis was enriched by incorporating the conclusions of the core group result of the first diagnostic workshop. In addition, prior research and analysis of climate and environmental risks was carried out, which was a fundamental input for the different exercises.
These important inputs will form the basis of the National Water and Sanitation Policy in Guatemala. SIWI and UNICEF will continue supporting policy formulation with the government through their cooperation agreement.