A helping hand in Central America

Life is not easy for people living in the Sixaola River watershed on the Caribbean side of the Costa Rica—Panama border. But help is at hand from IUCN and partners.

Sixoala watershed workshop

Communities are poor, isolated and have limited job opportunities. They are faced with a daily threat of extreme weather—heavy rain and strong winds that bring landslides, floods, soil erosion and widespread damage to houses and crops. And climate change is only making matters worse.

IUCN and partners are talking to people, identifying specific threats and working out ways of dealing with them. The focus is on boosting the resilience of these communities by restoring natural ecosystems such as forests which supply many goods and services, not least food and protection. IUCN is also working with local authorities to introduce sustainable ways of managing the area’s water supplies.

“As part of the project, community members plant tree saplings to reforest the watershed, as well as diversify their crop plantations in order to increase resilience to the impacts of climate change,” explains Ariel Amoroso, IUCN Project Coordinator.

The project, supported by IUCN Member 'Corredor Biológico Talamanca Caribe', has been underway for a year and is already starting to show success on the ground, particularly in raising awareness of the impacts of climate change and improving cooperation between different water users in the two countries. People are starting to realise that cooperation and finding common ground among many different interest groups is critical to a more secure future for all.

Last year the project was featured on CNN which has been a great help in communicating the work, at both the local and global level.

The project is funded by ICI-BMU and implemented by IUCN’s Regional Office for Meso America and the Environmental Law Commission.

For more information, please contact Pedro Cordero: pedro.cordero@iucn.org

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