Water and Sustainability, Indivisible Relationship

10 July 2014 | Article

From June 23th to 27th, Mexico City hosted the Latin American Water Week (https://www.imta.gob.mx/index.php/water-week-latinoamerica) organized by the Mexican government, through Conagua (National Water Commission), IMTA (Mexican Institute of Water Technology), SEMARNAT (Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources) and MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs ). The event focused on discussing Latin American studies and experiences, taking into consideration the differences and similarities between the various regions of the continent, stages of development, political systems and existing weather conditions.  

As part of that forum IUCN and the Organization of American States (OAS) were invited to organize a panel discussion on Thursday, June 26, 2014 entitled "Water for Sustainability: Harmonization of human beings with nature".

"Integrated water resources management presents significant challenges for the immediate future and long-term such as increasing demand of water for agriculture and energy production, management of groundwater; adaptation to climate change and variability and environmental degradation ", explained Rocío Córdoba, Coordinator of the Livelihoods and Climate Change Unit, from IUCN Regional Office for Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (ORMACC), as an  introduction to the objectives and scope of the panel. Subsequently, Altinbilek Dogan, President of the International Water Resources Association (IWRA) presented how technology can help to generate alternative strategies to reduce water consumption and achieve green economies.

Sharing Successful Experiences

 Two cases of sustainable water resources management were presented. First, Laura Marcelino Dos Santos from OAS, spoke about the sustainable management of water resources in the River Plate Basin, where they are conducting bilateral projects between Uruguay and Brazil, where it is clear that the participation and ownership of civil society are essential to the process of good water governance. For the second case, Hernan Romero from the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry, spoke about the processes that take place in El Salvador under the framework of the National Strategy on Water Resources and the Ecosystem and Landscapes Restoration Program, emphasizing the need to maintain the ecosystems goods and services for good water management and collaborative management of transboundary basins.

Furthermore, there were two interventions about experiences in Mexico: the first by Eugenio Ramos, Director of the Water World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the second by Maidali Ramirez Cruz, Coordinator of IUCN Project Cahoacán. Eugenio Ramos focused on highlighting the joint efforts to create the Water Reserves Program, through which nearly 190 potential water reserves have been identified, totaling more than 700 basins in the country. It is estimated that the reserve system would be of great importance to ensure the functionality of the hydrologic cycle as water source and sustenance of ecological processes.

Maidali Ramirez spoke about the actions that IUCN is implementing in Cahoacán basin, Chiapas, Mexico; with the support of the Gonzalo Rio Arronte I.A.P. Foundation. Through the Cahoacán Project, conservation and restore actions are being executed in microwatershed to prevent damages caused by excess of water; implementation of Payment for Environmental Services (PES) schemes; and capacity building for good governance and climate change adaptation.

The event also featured a roundtable chaired by Alejandro Iza, Director of IUCN Environmental Law Center in Bonn, Germany. And a short closing session summarizing the most important elements of the discussions; conducted by Ramon Pérez-Gil director of the Water Program from the Gonzalo Rio Arronte I.A.P. Foundation.
Further information about Latin American Water Week 2014: http://www.worldwatercouncil.org/events/all-events/event/latin-american-water-week/

Further information about the panel, please contact Rocío Córdoba: rocio.cordoba@iucn.org