More than 30 officials from different municipalities in Guatemala gathered to learn from IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative (WANI) field experience in the Tacaná II project: a catchment management model and practical guide formulating management plans
With the support of the AVINA Foundation, the International Union for Nature Conservation (IUCN) held a meeting to inform the country’s political authorities, mayors and other municipal officials about the advantages of using watersheds as land-planning units, particularly for integrated water resource management, and to promote the adoption of this model in the country. The meeting emphasized the versatility of the microwatershed approach to better address, analyze, link and understand cause and effect: a) to risk vulnerability and management, b) to the contamination of fluvial currents from solid and liquid wastes, c) for ecosystem goods and services, d) for hydrological performance as consequence of climate variability and change, e) for land use planning, f) for control of landslides and hydrological coherence, g) for prioritizating intervention areas (critical areas) and h) for hydrological modelling and scenario prediction.
Participants also learned about the methodological process followed by the IUCN’s Tacaná II project to develop a watershed-based model of land-use planning in the department of San Marcos, Guatemala,
The microwatershed councils are the grassroots organizations that recognize, prioritize, plan and administer projects on the comprehensive and sustainable use of water and associated resources in the hydrographical territories where they live, and for which there are microwatershed management plans serving as guiding instruments in the medium- and long- term administration of these territories.
Some of the advantages meeting participants observed about this management model is that it is inclusive, highly participatory and based on strategic alliances that are essential to be able to address and resolve more complex environmental and social problems. Efforts can also be articulated and integrated in a single direction and in a comprehensive fashion, which makes the model practical, useful and simple to replicate.
At the end of the event, various associations of municipalities formally presented five requests for advising and facilitation from the IUCN so microwatershed management models can be implemented in several regions of the country. This will enable better implementation of socio-environmental solutions in catchment areas, and in particular, promote real land planning and integrated water resource management in order for Guatemalans to have access to safe and sufficient water to deal with the challenges of climate variability already affecting several regions of the country.
The next step in promoting the institutionalization of the model of microwatershed management is the launch of three pilot cases in different regions of the country. The necessary conditions include the participation of municipal authorities and the private sector, the integration of governmental and nongovernmental institutions, and community support. The IUCN and AVINA have established a strategic alliance to support, promote and disseminate the management model.
For more information contact:
M.Sc. Carlos R. Rosal Del Cid
IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica and Caribbean Initiative
Phone: + 502-5966-6957