NASSAU, The Bahamas – Over 200 delegates from 20-plus countries from the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe are participating in the 31st Caribbean Water and Wastewater Regional Conference (CWWA) and Exhibition being held at Atlantis, Paradise Island Resort.
Taking place after three years’ absence, the conference brings together water and wastewater professionals, including water ministers, and 40-plus industry partners and exhibitors.
The event is from October 17-21 to the theme “Recovery and Evolution – Regional Actions for Global Sustainability in the Water and Waste Sectors” and is being hosted by the Bahamas Water and Sewerage Corporation, the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association and other stakeholders.
The conference features workshops and seminars, utility, engineering and student focus sessions, regional leadership conclaves, ministerial meetings and high level sessions, field trips, technical tours, including a Regional Water (rum and pepper sauce) Tasting Competition. Bahamian culture will also be showcased during the conference.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Hon. Philip Davis welcomed delegates Monday evening during the official opening ceremony and exhibition ribbon cutting.
Prime Minister Davis expressed thanks to strategic partners, in particular, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Caribbean Water Utilities Insurance Company (CWUIC).
“These organizations play vital roles in providing the financing, credit facilities, and insurance coverage [that] allow governments such as ours to provide potable water and safe and sanitary waste disposal and management,” he said.
He commended the CWWA and IDB for their comprehensive work on The Regional Strategic Action Plan for the Water Sector in the Caribbean (RSAP) to develop resilience to the impact of climate change. [The RSAP is a response to the myriad of common challenges facing the Caribbean Water Sector, identifying the major challenges facing the sector. It sets out a framework of action at the national and regional levels.]
“As our environment is dynamic and sometimes volatile which gives rise to uncertainty, it is important that our regional strategic action plan is regularly reviewed and amended based on the currency of the circumstances.”
He said a review of the action plan at the CWWA conference is important as the region prepares for the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) which is taking place in Egypt in a few weeks.
Prime Minister Davis outlined challenges that the region faces as it recovers, evolves and builds global sustainability in the sector. They include: supply chain challenges, non-revenue water, disaster risk and wastewater financing and the impact of wastewater on climate change.
Notwithstanding these, he assured that regional strategies encompassing disaster planning, emergency response, digital transformation of water and wastewater and financing mechanisms for non-revenue water, wastewater and disaster risk will place the region ahead of the curve and in a position of strength to overcome these challenges.
“I am confident that the skill sets and professional competencies represented at this conference are up to the challenge of delivering sustainable solutions to combat these existential threats. Further, our forward-thinking industry experts have placed those critical issues on the conference’s agenda during the plenary sessions.
“I also wish to point out that as policymakers, there is the political will to take the appropriate policy actions necessary to protect our region in the short term and to implement long term strategies that will positively impact the lives of future generations,” he said. (BIS Photos/Ulric Woodside)