Basin Champions Share Knowledge and Solutions

14 February 2014 | News story


A tour by boat to watch flora and fauna alongside the Sixaola River kicked off the 4th Meeting of Basin Champions from January 27 to 30, 2014, held in this watershed shared by Costa Rica and Panama.

The champions are people in the Mesoamerican region aiming to apply their knowledge so that others will change their practices toward sustainable comprehensive water resource management, and to promote transboundary cooperation in shared watersheds.

During the meeting, participants received training in equitable benefit sharing from Dr. Alejandro Iza, Director of the IUCN Environmental Law Centre. Through a brief practical exercise, the champions realized how important it is that actors share the benefits of water in an equitable and reasonable way so that all stakeholders obtain more favorable conditions.

Learning one on one

The trip upriver took them to the community of Yorkín, located in Bribri indigenous territory. There they met with local leaders of Asociación STIBRAWPA (meaning “women artisans” in Bribri), who talked with them about the organization’s origin and shared a little of the Bribri world vision. Later the champions visited the Yorkín River Microwatershed Committee (Costa Rica) and the Quebrada Rosa Microwatershed Committee (Panama), to learn about their origins, way of working, project portfolios and conservation activities in the microwatershed.

Finally, champion Juanita Baltodano served as their guide during a visit to Asociación de Pequeños Productores de Talamanca (APPTA), where they learned about the varieties of cacao existing in the zone and the cloning gardens developed to improve productivity.

Achievements through cooperation

Particularly noteworthy in the presentations the champions made on their work during 2013, was political advocacy with local governments and binational structures to promote joint work and cooperation. In the frame of these activities, Uriel Isaí Perez, Municipal President of Cacahoatán (Mexico), delivered an acknowledgement to representatives of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in recognition of “its support to fieldwork and activities in watersheds associated with the Tacaná Volcano that combine best scientific knowledge with traditional knowledge”.

Three other meetings have been held in the past with representatives from the Coatán (Mexico-Guatemala), Chiquibul-Mopán (Guatemala–Belize), Goascorán (Honduras-El Salvador) and Sixaola (Costa Rica-Panama) basins.

IUCN supports this process thanks to project BRIDGE: Building River Dialogue and Governance (funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation- SDC).

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