News Article- AMCHAM: AmCham boosts Panama’s competitiveness with the VI Sustainability Forum focused on water resources management

In this Forum, the logistics, energy, agribusiness and applied research sector, achieved a constructive dialogue that allowed identifying lines of action to boost the country’s sustainable development and competitiveness.

Public and private sectors agree that articulated work is required to have information, planning, investment and efficient water management

AmCham held its VI Sustainability Forum: “Water as a strategic resource for sustainable competitiveness in Panama”, in order to promote the analysis of the strategic issues that make Panama a vulnerable country in the face of the availability and management of water resources. water resources.

Carlos Garcimartín, Chief Economist of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) in Panama, opened the event with a keynote presentation that allowed participants to contextualize the levels of water supply and demand in the country, comparing it with other nations, and highlighting the issues that must be addressed in order to be competitive in the region and to guarantee the generation of income that will allow Panama a sustainable development, aiming to maintain the same growth rates of recent years.

For his part, Engineer Rafael Mezquita, Secretary of the National Water Council (CONAGUA) and member of the Water Cabinet, explained the priority given by the Government to the issue, by raising the institution of rank within its structure. The rapporteur highlighted the challenges that exist as a country to guarantee the population constant availability of drinking water, connection with sewage and wastewater disposal, prevention of risks in the distribution of water, maintenance of watersheds and the impact of water for sustainable socio-economic growth of the country.

The Forum had a panel composed by Silvia de Marucci, Manager of the Division of Marketing Analysis and Customer Relations of The Panama Canal Authority (ACP); Jorge Azcárraga, President of the Association of Large Energy Customers(Asociación de Grandes Clientes de Energía); Freddy Picado, Managing Director of the Wet Tropic Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean (CATHALAC) and Alan Winstead President of  Simply Natural and technology expert dedicated to the geospatial development of agribusiness; moderated by Antonio Gonçalves, IDB Chief of Operations.

The panel focused on the analysis of the relevant issues for each sector in relation to water availability, economic impact and the relationship with the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country. The need to begin to deepen the knowledge of the availability of water in the country in order to have a more efficient coordination of the resource was also stressed.

Additionally, there was a discussion about the need to have preventive plans to handle situations associated with the consequences of climate change that generate floods and droughts, which translate into a direct impact on access to water for human consumption, as well as in the productive sectors from the country.

Each panelist disaggregated the lines of action and resources needed in their sector to advance in the articulated management of the focus of the debate, as a condition of the economic and social development of the country. In addition, they reached consensus on the need to invest in infrastructure, technology and institutional strength for efficient water management.

Jeannette Díaz Granado, President of AmCham Panama, commented that “that “as a binational Chamber of Commerce we are willing to promote the action items related to efficient water management derived from this forum, because we are aware that it is a subject that underlies the sustained growth and competitiveness of Panama. Today a constructive dialogue was achieved that allowed raising the levels of consciousness and therefore the responsibility that we have both public and private sector in the subject ”.

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