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Presented by Olga LUCIANO LÓPEZ

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1 Presented by Olga LUCIANO LÓPEZ
Dominican Republic Challenges and Opportunities for the Development of an Integrated System of Environmental and Economic Accounts, Starting with Water Accounts Presented by Olga LUCIANO LÓPEZ

2 Background The mandate in the environment legislation (Law 64 of year 2000) to develop a national information system on the environment and natural resources, and to mainstream environment in the national accounting system motivated an application of technical assistance to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean –ECLAC from the Ministry of the Environment.

3 Background ECLAC suggested to start with sustainable development indicators in a parallel effort with Puerto Rico, whose environment authority had also applied for assistance. In December 2002 a binational seminar was organized in Puerto Rico with a broad participation of technicians from both countries. The Dominican delegation was integrated by the Ministry of the Environment, the National Planning Office, and the National Statistics Office. This participation was possible thanks to the aid of UNDP and the German cooperation agency GTZ.

4 Background The Binational Seminar was a milestone event in many respects: Raised consciousness on the theoretical basis of environment indicators and specialized environment statistics; Showed the methodological advances attained under ECLAC’s ESALC project aimed at assessing environmental sustainability in LAC; Familiarized us with the experiences of Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Chile. Represented a joint effort between the environmental authorities of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, as well as ECLAC, UNDP, and GTZ. Facilitated the strengthening of institutional links between the Dominican Ministry of the Environment and the National Planning and Statistica Offices; Motivated the Ministry of the Environment to make an initial diagnosis to assess the state of relevant information on Sustainable Development Indicators, using as a guide the indicators list proposed by UN Commission on Sustainable Development; It gave birth to an interinstitutional national commitment and a work plan to develop Sustainable Development Indicators

5 Background After the binational seminar:
A national steering committee was established to lead the process; Technical meetings were held regularly with the support of UNDP, and particularly GTZ; Criteria were unified, thematic areas were selected, and priorities were set. A decission was made to link this process to the compliance with Millenium Development Goals.

6 Weaknesses and opportunities
Technical meetings served to expose our capacity weaknesses and this served to develop an aggressive plan of taking advantage of all training and cooperation opportunities in the country and abroad. As a result, a fair group of technicians has been trained in environment statistics, indicators, and GIS; The diagnosis on the status of environment information was completed; The inventory of available technological resources was completed and a proposal was developed to launch an interconected environment information system, using existing capabilities; In this process we joined the REDESA project, a network of social and environment statistics experts and institutions headed by ECLAC.

7 Opportunities In June 2003 the advances in the indicators process were presented to an existing donnors table (on environment and natural resources) coordinated by GTZ. This served to broaden the perspective and to reach some important decissions: To connect indicators with public policies so that they become support tools for decission-making; To use the process to encourage interinstitutional coordination; To prioritize indicators by benefit/cost analysis and in this respect to start with the development of water resources indicators in the framework of the methodological approach proposed by ECLAC’s ESALC project; The selection of water indicators as the starting point considered that water is a cross-cutting issue for environment and natural resources management and as such it could involve a wide range of stakeholders; this has proven right in light of recent advancements.

8 Progress made In parallel and in support of the indicators process we started to organize environment statistics. The result is that Guided by a common list of 108 environment statistics suggested by REDESA, we have completed the first stage of the development of an environment statistics system. A publication of June 2004 presents a compilation of some 82 environment statistics, with their methodological sheets, and existing databases. This effort involved 15 national institutions. In the next months we expect to issue a second publication in which the initial compilation is enriched.

9 Progress made Starting in December 2004
Three task forces have been established for the development of water indicators One on water availability (quantity) One on water quality One on watersheds Each group has deliverd results in April 2005: methodological sheets are completed, databases and information voids have been identified, several indicators are already developed. In the next few months, before publication, a quality assessment will be made by an expert.

10 Progress made We benefited from the indicators effort headed in the region by UNEP and Costa Rica MOE in the framework of ILAC, the initiative for sustainable development launched in 2002 by the Forum of Environment Ministers in LAC. This facilitated the assistance given to the MDG7 task force created in January 2005 by the Dominican Government, under the leadership of the Ministry of the Environment, to identify base lines, trends, and interventions/actions necessary for the Dominican Republic compliance with MDG’s.

11 New developments Since December 2004 a new and important stakeholder has joined our efforts: the DR Central Bank. This gave birth to the idea of moving beyond statistics and indicators and seek technical assistance for the development of a water accounting system. In March 2005 a major step was taken: a workshop facilitated by UNSD expert Alessandra Alfieri and two experts from ECLAC accelerated our process. This workshop enlightened us on the complexity of the task, but at the same time strengthened our commitment to move forward. Formal contacts have been established with UNSD since then and a technical assistance petition has been formalized. In June 7, just a few days ago, a technical cooperation agreement was signed by the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Central Bank, the National Statistics and Meteorological Offices, the National Institute for Hydraulic Resources, National Institute for Drinking Water and Sanitation, The Dominican Corporation of State Electric Enterprises, and five Drinking Water and Sanitation Corporations, to develop an integrated System of National Environmental and Economic Accounts, with emphasis on Water Accounts. (These 12 institutions have agreed to share the institutional information available on water management and use, and to provide technical support to the process).

12 Lessons learned so far Success factors:
Political support at the highest level. This has permitted the process to survive a change in government administration (Aug. 2004) Technical leadership in the Ministry of the Environment, recognized by other stakeholders Identification of a critical issue as water, which brings together multiple stakeholders at national and international level Open and participatory nature of the process Ownership of the process by the Dominican technicians from different institutions Intelligent use of all cooperation and training opportunities, which has brought new momentum to the process.

13 Challenges To brake a culture of lack of coodination and information sharing among public institutions To involve private stakeholders from the business sector, civil society and academia, in order to strengthen the public partnership that was sealed with the agreement signed in June 2005 To overcome the major technical challenges that lie ahead To be able to utilize the integrated environment and economic accounts system for policy decission-making, and as a tool for integrated water resources management.


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