Network of Champions Arises in Transboundary Watersheds of Mesoamerica

18 June 2012 | News story

 The first meeting of transboundary champions, promoted by BRIDGE (Building River Dialogue and Governance), was held on May 29. 

San Jose, Costa Rica, June 6, 2012.  This initiative is aimed at mobilizing transboundary cooperation based on the search for solutions to common problems and promotion of comprehensive watershed management.

The event took place in San Jose, Costa Rica and brought together seven women and seven men committed to good water management and governance in four shared watersheds of Mesoamerica: Chiquibul-Mopán, between Belize and Guatemala; Coatán, between Guatemala and Mexico; Goascorán, between Honduras and El Salvador; and Sixaola, between Panama and Costa Rica.

Meeting participant Pablo Rayo, Panamanian representative of the Sixaola River basin, explained, “We are in the network of champions to become strengthened and follow up on the work being done by the Binational Committee. We’re helping each other in order to care for, watch over and maintain the watersheds. We have to get involved, become empowered, to demand the best treatment for watersheds and ourselves from governments.”

This event was the first step toward consolidating a network of champions of transboundary watershed cooperation. Those attending discussed the situation of water and associated resources and a vision of local watersheds toward 2020.

Said Leonidas Pérez, of the Binational Committee of the Goascorán River basin (Honduras-El Salvador) and network member, “The countries need to work around protection of the binational watersheds, placing the welfare of the watershed and its residents above any special interest.”
As objective, participants decided to concentrate efforts on local organization, educating the population, coordination of work, involvement of government institutions and financing.

The BRIDGE project is also implemented in South America (Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia) and Southeast Asia (lower part of the Mekong River basin), where similar networks are also being formed simultaneously. The project is executed by the IUCN through its global Water Programme, the Environmental Law Centre and the regional offices for Mesoamerica, South America and Southeast Asia, with the support of Swiss cooperation (COSUDE).

Contact Information
Nazareth Porras
IUCN Mesoamerica and Caribbean Initiative
Tel: (506) 2283-8449 ext. 224