The Cooperation Fund for Water and Sanitation (FCAS) is no longer simply a legal instrument, as it was originally created in 2008. Partnerships with other stakeholders in the sector have been fostered, leading to complementary actions.
The Great Fund is the name given to the sum of all water and sanitation initiatives in which the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) participates, multiplying the impact of the original FCAS through instruments such as technical cooperation, the delegation of EU funds, or the coordination of other AECID instruments such as triangular cooperation, bilateral grants, and reimbursable cooperation.
This represents an evolution and expansion of the portfolio based on larger support operations, focused on the transition from individual actions to the creation of major operations involving various national and international actors, including contributions from local, regional, and national governments, financial bodies, and cooperation agencies. Thus, all of them are able to maximise their impact, while simplifying management for the partner countries.
The new methods comprised by the Plus Fund [A1] include the following:
1. Delegated Cooperation: This is a cooperation method in which one or more donors entrust another donor to act on their behalf. The Fund currently manages EU Delegated Co-operation programmes worth more than EUR 80 million:
- Three programmes through the EU's Latin America Investment Facility; two in Nicaragua and Bolivia (links to websites in Spanish) and one regional programme;
- Programme on Knowledge Networks in the Environment, Water and Sanitation (CIMAS) together with the European Union;
- Delegated Cooperation with Haiti. The formalisation of an agreement with the European Union is currently under negotiation.
2. Technical Cooperation: A mechanism that promotes the exchange of technical and managerial expertise, with the aim of institutional and individual capacity-building. Most of the Fund's programmes mobilise experts from the Spanish administration and institutions to conduct studies, field visits, technical reports, and training in the Americas. Recent years have seen greater involvement on the part of such organisations as Tragsatec, the Centre for Hydrological Studies (CEDEX), the CENTA Foundation, the Spanish Association of Water Supply and Sanitation (AEAS), the State Meteorological Agency (AEMET), and various Spanish universities and enterprises. In addition, FCAS participates in the Aquafund multi-donor fund to support the generation and dissemination of knowledge and the implementation of pilot projects and innovative technologies.
3. Reimbursable Cooperation: This cooperation method finances development interventions through long-term, low-interest loans. It is currently channelled through the Fund for Development Promotion (FONPRODE), managed by AECID. To date, two reimbursable cooperation programmes have been approved in the water and sanitation sector in Paraguay (up to USD 60 million) and Panama (up to USD 50 million).
4. Knowledge management: Capacity-building and exchange of experiences are pillars of the Fund's work, and FCAS promotes knowledge management in its programmes through thematic communities and networks of experts.
AECID has a Knowledge Transfer, Exchange and Management Plan (Inter-Coonect@) which promotes a Water and Sanitation Thematic Knowledge Community, with free courses available for the public sector in Latin America.
Within this framework, CEDEX is conducting the Latin American Course on Wastewater Treatment and Operation of Wastewater Treatment Plants.
The Fund has produced a number of publications to systematise the lessons learned and good practices generated within the framework of its action programmes.