As part of IUCN's partnership with the Star Alliance Biosphere Connections, each year a select number of project and field work partners are sponsored to travel to international meetings and events that will benefit their work.
Mitzela Davila, active in the IUCN BRIDGE project in Panama-Costa Rica, was one of them. Mrs Davila was endorsed to attend the 2013 Stockholm World Water Week. Here follows a short interview before and after the event:
What is the message that you will take to the people you meet at the water conference? What is your goal?
The message I will share with people is that a strategic partnership on water is possible. The basin [Sixaola Basin, Costa Rica-Panama] where I live is extremely diverse, both in its nature and its people. That wealth is a great opportunity to cooperate, and IUCN through the BRIDGE Project is contributing on training leaders through the champions´ network. My goal is to bring together organizations, communities and authorities to jointly generate and coordinate actions for a sustainable management of watershed resources.
What will be the benefits of attending World Water Week? And how will they influence the issues you work on?
Attendance at this event gives me the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge about other similar experiences that can contribute to our work, knowledge of tools and resources, and to establish links with other organizations and institutions working in the areas of governance and water conservation .
Please give us a short description of your career and actual job?
I am a teacher in primary and secondary education, BA in Environmental Education, working with youth in leadership training, values and environment. I am the principal at a night school for youth and adults and work as a coordinator for Alianza Bocas, an umbrella organization of 42 environmental organizations in the province of Bocas del Toro, Panama. I am also a transboundary water champion for the Sixaola River Basin on the Panamanian side thanks to the BRIDGE project. I further serve as a secretary to the District Advisory Committee of the National Environmental Authority (ANAM) and I do technical consulting for the watershed of the Quebrada Rosa in Las Tablas, Panama, through IUCN´s Water Management for Adaptation project.
What is the biggest thrill you get from your job?
The biggest thrill and fulfillment of my job is the contribution that as a person I can give to others, the seed that is planted in each person - for sure some always fall on good ground and are able to germinate and give their fruit. It is about making a difference by providing my grain that beside others, will make a difference in the protection of our planet.
Please tell us about your experiences gathered at the World Water Week conference you attended?
Thanks to the opportunity of attending the World Water Week, I have gained a wonderful experience of knowledge, participation, commitment, goals and hopes for better management of water in our rivers. I have learned a lot from sharing and meeting people from all over the world, from different levels of governance, concerned about water, food security, climate change and many other issues affecting our countries.
That is why the challenge now is to put all this learning processes into practice in communities of the Sixaola River Basin, to teach others the strategies for adaptation to climate change, to implement the integrated water resources management approach with multiple actors and foster good water governance in our basins. As I mentioned before, it has been a great experience for me, but I am also pleased that I had the opportunity to share with people from different countries my knowledge and the work we do in the Sixaola River basin. I am sure they will also carry this knowledge with them and transform it into practice in their work areas.
Thank you to IUCN and Star Alliance for the opportunity and confidence in me. I will make sure that everything I learned at the event will be replicated and shared in the communities where we work.
About the Biosphere Connections:
The Biosphere Connections is a unique global corporate social responsibility initiative from the Star Alliance network, officially launched in 2007. It is dedicated to supporting sustainability by flying environmental field workers, scientists and educators across its global network to further their knowledge, skills and understanding of major environmental issues and initiatives, and to help conserve some of the world’s most unique habitats.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs Davila's full interview will be featured in the Biosphere Connections newsletter and distributed further by the Star Alliance network.