Encouraging cooperation on water across borders

As part of IUCN’s BRIDGE project, or Building River Dialogue and Governance, a recent exchange workshop took place between Coatan River communities from Mexico and Guatemala, to promote community capacity in local water governance across borders.


Workshop meeting between Coatan river communities from Mexico and Guatemala

Community members from the Buena Vista micro-watershed committee in Chiapas, Mexico were able to learn about the processes of community management from the Esquiche micro-watershed council in Guatemala.

The Buena Vista committee (Coatán upper basin, Mexico) was formed in July 2011, after different communities saw the need to have a local governance structure to promote the conservation of natural resources with a micro-watershed approach.

Among the first actions of the Buena Vista committee, priority was given to an exchange of community experiences with the Esquiche micro-watershed council from San Marcos, Guatemala. They learned about the successful model of community planning and resource management that the IUCN project Tacaná had developed. This model also includes the management of water resources based on the ecosystem approach.

The exchange included various visits to project sites, such as sheep housing, composting and tree nursery projects, as well as soil conservation work. The Buena Vista committee delegation learned about the experiences of the Natural Resources and Environment Coordinating Body of San Marcos (CORNASAM), on its organizing process and main achievements. CORNASAM is a technical body comprised of organizations and institutions working on environmental issues in San Marcos, Guatemala.

A workshop on developing micro-watersheds models was held which allowed members of the committee to learn about community processes of watershed management, challenges they have faced and projects that have been developed.

This first Guatemala-Mexico exchange was made possible thanks to the groundwork laid by the experience IUCN accumulated from over 10 years working in micro-watershed management through the Tacaná project. It was also part of the activities of the "Good Water Governance for adaptation to climate change" project, supported by the German Ministry of Environment (BMU), and the "Building River's Dialogues and Governance" (BRIDGE) project, sponsored by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

Both projects are implemented jointly by members and partners of IUCN, the Global Water Programme, the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) and the Regional Office for Central America and Caribbean Initiative IUCN.

For more information, please contact:

Mónica Bustamante M.Sc.

Carlos Rosal M.Sc.

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