There are 263 transboundary river basins worldwide, 23 of those are located in Mesoamerica, representing 36.9% of Central America´s territory and covering a greater extension than any of its countries.
Under this scenario, there is a need to establish dialogue and cooperation mechanisms among nations to promote the preservation of basin resources; in order to protect the livelihoods of border communities, environmental and human security from threats caused by water pollution, urbanization, overexploitation of resources and climatic variability.
“The Sixaola River is a fountain of life, it’s a river that forms a binational basin and constitutes a special ecosystem that generates benefits for the population”, says Juan Carlos Barrantes, Coordinator of the Sixaola River Basin Binational Commission (CBCRS in Spanish), located between Costa Rica and Panama.
“There are institutional problems that correspond, mainly, to the determination of adopting the Binational Basin as part of the government policies, development plans and investments; also, the communities´ empowerment to care and preserve this resource. Based on these, the Sixaola River Basin Binational Commission is carrying out an important task for the achievement of these objectives”, says Georgina Osorio, from the Executive Secretariat of the Binational Commission of the Panama-Costa Rica Border Agreement.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), through the BRIDGE project: Building Dialogues and Good Water Governance, has perform a role as promoter and facilitator of transboundary cooperation through the strengthening of the Sixaola River Basin Binational Commission (CBCRS), created in 2009. BRIDGE´s work is based, mainly, in promoting the integration of multiple stakeholders and sectors in the processes of decision-making; through strengthening of the capacities (theorical, practical and institutional) of the key actors in a local, national and transboundary level.
“IUCN’s contribution to the basin management has been essential for the creation of the basin organism, also, the technical and financial support for the development of the Commission; providing workshops, technical support in the construction of the regulation framework and the operation of the Commission, support in the elaboration of the Strategic Plan of the CBCRS and the monitoring of the actions in different thematic areas”, comments Juan Carlos Barrantes, Coordinator of the Binational Commission of the Sixaola River Basin.
In Central America, the BRIDGE Project supports the strengthening and consolidation of basin organisms of recent creation, with the objective of having institutions and civil society promote actions for enhancing the management of the transboundary basin. Additionally, provides technical advice on water governance to the competent national authorities. Other transboundary basins where BRIDGE has incidence are Goascorán and the sub-basin of the Sumpul River, both located between Honduras and El Salvador.