Watershed conservation beyond boundaries

30 August 2010 | News story

IUCN accompanies and drives integration processes in Mexico-Guatemala transboundary watersheds.

Organizations from Guatemala and Mexico met to share experiences in watersheds associated with the Tacaná Volcano. With IUCN’s support as articulating entity and organizer in both Mexico and Guatemala, the work of local integration carried out by Red Ambiental Cahoacán, in Mexico, and Coordinadora de Recursos Naturales y Ambiente de San Marcos (CORNASAM), in Guatemala, was joined with the efforts of the watershed committees of the Cahoacán and Coatán rivers.

Activities during the three days included talks, lectures, tours, discussions and visits to projects located in watersheds associated with the Tacaná Volcano on both the Mexican and Guatemalan side, with an eye toward genuinely integrated management of water resources and the promotion of a transborder approach from the local level.

Common problems, such as contamination, disaster, solid waste and other socio-environmental problems were discussed at a forum with representatives of the communities, government institutions, NGOs and the environmental networks and committees. The concept of the watershed and the natural, close relation among these hydrological units- irrespective of political and administrative limits- was strengthened during the course of the event. This is a concept that must be recognized and incorporated in the approach to natural resource management and administration.

At the initiative of the IUCN and with its preparation, supported by students from the Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas, information was collected throughout the event using surveys and semi-structured interviews to obtain inputs enriching discussion. The preliminary results of these surveys were presented at the event itself and then developed with actors present at the closing session.

Finally, agreements were reached on follow-up for the integration process, as well as the formation of a technical committee and interest in identifying a transboundary microwatershed that can serve as pilot experience and site for joint work in the future.
 

For further information:

M.Sc. Cristina Yépez

Project coordinator Cahoacán
Chiapas, México
 

Ing. Ottoniel Rivera

Project Coordinator Tacaná II
San Marcos, Guatemala