With the goal of raising the profile of sanitation in poverty reduction, 22 Latin American countries convened in Cali, Colombia at the first Latin American Conference on Sanitation (LatinoSan) in November 2007.
The resulting Cali Declaration committed the countries to prioritize sanitation in their political agendas towards ending poverty in the region. Contributing to that poverty is the lack of access to improved sanitation, which negatively affected 20% of the population in 2008, over 100 million people.
Themed Universal and Sustainable Sanitation Services, the second Latin American Sanitation Conference (LatinoSan 2010) was held in Foz de Iguaçu, Brazil, in March. Participants exchanged their experiences, lessons learnt, and main challenges faced since 2007; specifically, delegates discussed finding funding sources to reach sustainable universal sanitation coverage.
The next regional conference, scheduled for 2013, will serve as a platform to review progress made since LatinoSan 2010, and will certainly highlight action taken, or the lack thereof, to provide improved sanitation to those in the region living without it.