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Gii Tackles Water Issues In Colombia

by Linda Wang
June 24, 2013 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 91, ISSUE 25

The Global Innovation Imperatives (Gii) program, administered by the American Chemical Society Office of International Activities, has released a white paper outlining possible ways to increase access to safe drinking water in the rural community of Chocontá, Colombia.

The recommendations in this report “should solve local problems but could be easily replicated elsewhere” around the world, says Francisco Gomez, assistant director of the ACS Office of International Activities. “If somebody says, ‘I have this same problem,’ they can take this report and they can apply it to their local needs.”

Gii’s mission is to bring together experts within ACS, as well as other scientific societies and nongovernmental organizations, to share knowledge and expertise and propose innovative solutions to global challenges, such as increasing access to safe drinking water and ensuring food security. “It’s building a community around a problem,” Gomez says.

The recommendations in the white paper came out of discussions at the International Forum on Sustainable Conservation of Water Sources & Basins & Operation of Sidewalk Aqueducts of Chocontá, which was held in Bogotá, Colombia, in October 2012. During the conference, ACS convened experts from the U.S., Colombia, and Brazil in Chocontá to examine its water issues and identify possible solutions. The Colombian Society of Chemical Sciences, the Brazilian Chemical Society, and the Latin American Federation of Chemical Associations also contributed to the effort.

This is the second report issued by Gii. Its first white paper outlined recommendations for sustainable and cost-effective solutions to water quality challenges in India. Gii’s next forum, scheduled to take place later this year, will address water scarcity in a community in the south of Brazil. A white paper with recommendations will follow. For more information on Gii and its reports, visit



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