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Who are we?

The Water and Sanitation Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean (OLAS) is a digital platform that collects relevant information on the water and sanitation sector in the region and contributes to the monitoring of the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Our mission is to provide reliable, comparable, timely and consistent information in order to uncover the reality of the water and sanitation sector for Latin America and the Caribbean. The information on OLAS serves as a reference for policy-makers, researchers, and the public to promote the creation of effective public policies and the development of the sector. We seek to encourage collaboration between academia and political actors and to promote an information management model that can be standardized throughout the countries of the region.


Our vision for the next decade is to continue developing OLAS at the regional level as a reliable, comparable, timely and consistent information platform for the sector. This will be achieved through the inclusion of more data, the growth of strategic alliances and collaboration between platforms, which will allow the enrichment of the information held in the observatory.

History of OLAS

The challenge surrounding data availability and monitoring of water and sanitation progress in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) became a subject of serious discussion at the Latin American Sanitation Conference (Latinosan) in 2013. Latinosan, held every three years, is a political and technical meeting led by the governing entities of water and sanitation in LAC, allowing them to exchange, coordinate decision making and direct resources, as well as discuss at the highest level on the main advances and challenges in the different areas of sanitation in the region.

The discussion on the creation of a water and sanitation data Observatory began in 2013 was codified with the Declaration of San José at Latinosan 2019, which documented the region's commitment to create and implement the Water and Sanitation Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean (OLAS), a digital platform that has reliable, comparable, timely and consistent information for monitoring sectoral information within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to water for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Specific objectives of OLAS

  • Provide sufficient, consistent and updated data and information to contribute to the integration of the SDGs in the sector and to understand the real gaps in the water and sanitation sector at the national and regional levels.
  • Standardize the methodology implemented by each country when compiling information and calculating sector indicators.
  • Promote the articulation between statistical and information agencies, sectoral entities and national and local government actors, so that the information corresponds to the reality of the country.
  • Encourage research in the water and sanitation sector at both the national and regional levels through the creation of the OLAS Research and Development Network (RID), so that information is available to better guide public policy in the countries.


OLAS will be initially managed by the IDB, within the framework of a Non-Reimbursable Technical Cooperation (TC) financed with resources from the Regional Public Goods Initiative, with the IDB being the technical validating entity of the information to be included in the platform during the first phase. To this end, a team of specialists and consultants has been formed to support these tasks. Once the platform is consolidated, regional administration and validation may be transferred to a regional entity.

A technical committee will be created, comprised of other donors and country representatives, which will initially be the representatives of the Latinosan working group countries and TC beneficiaries (Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Peru), who will discuss and make the necessary decisions during the OLAS implementation phase.

To advance the OLAS design and implementation agenda, give it a political boost and align technical and financial efforts, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with: the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation ( COSUDE), the Regional Office of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and Sanitation and Water for All (SWA).

Actors currently involved

Board of Directors

Authorizes protocols, modifications to the platform, and determines the financing strategy.

Technical Committee

Accompanies the administrator on behalf of the Board of Directors.

Focal Point

Entity of the national government responsible for coordinating with the OLAS administration.

Other related platforms and initiatives

There are different platforms that manage water and sanitation sector information for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). Click on the button to learn more about them.