Transboundary Watershed Champions Say “Vamos para Adelante!”
Empowered champions rally under the slogan “vamos pa´lante” (“we’re on our way”) and start to establish actions in their shared watersheds
Costa Rica (2012). The champions network of project BRIDGE (Building River Dialogue and Governance) consists of fifteen people committed to good water management and governance of four shared watersheds in Mesoamerica: Chiquibul-Mopán, in Belize and Guatemala; Coatán, Guatemala and Mexico; Goascorán, Honduras and El Salvador; Sixaola, Panama and Costa Rica; and Río Coco, in Nicaragua and Honduras.
The two meetings held to date, virtual exchanges between the participants, but most of all, their commitment and willingness have been the ingredients enabling these individuals to become empowered and propose specific actions for good governance of their shared watersheds.
Champions of the Sixaola River Basin met in November to analyze the results of the last meeting and plan next steps in their watershed. They assessed the real situation of the basin and defined strategies for positioning the theme of work in shared watersheds with local authorities and institutions in both countries. Key points for their work as champions:
- Be trained as champions in the theme of watersheds and find out what is most relevant to the Sixaola river basin
- Carry out environmental work in schools within the basin area
- Draft a proposal on reducing use of plastic bags in plantations and improving their final disposal in both countries
- Form and support environmental youth groups
- Request participation in sessions of the Binational Commission of the Sixaola River Basin
- Aim for the presence of the Changuinola (Panama) and Talamanca (Costa Rica) mayors in upcoming meetings
Champions of the Coatán River Basin want to take advantage of the platforms of microwatershed committees in both Guatemala and Mexico to initiate formation of a binational watershed committee, while champions in El Salvador and Honduras continue strengthening the Binational Manager Group of the Goascorán River Basin.
In Belize and Guatemala, champions of Chiquibul and Mopan shared experiences in binational meetings between community leaders to discuss and plan joint actions for the watershed’s protection, and the new champion of Río Coco, between Nicaragua and Honduras, shared associated municipality experiences.
Project BRIDGE is executed by the IUCN through its Global Water Programme, Environmental Law Centre and the Regional Offices for Mesoamerica, South America, and Southeast Asia, with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
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