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ECLAC participates in an event on Integrated Water Resources Management in Central America

19 May 2021|Briefing note

The virtual event identified the challenges, opportunities, and commitments to advance towards Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) in Central America



The Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) and the Global Water Partnership Central America (GWP) organized a workshop in virtual mode, to present the study on the "Status of the implementation of Integrated Management of Water Resources in Central America by 2020" which took place on May 13 of this year. The objective of the meeting was to generate a space for reflection based on the results of the study, to propose strategic actions to achieve IWRM, and to promote the exchange of information among the countries of the region.

The event was attended by a diversity of officials and representatives of the CCAD, Ministries of the Environment, IWRM focal points, international cooperation organizations, allies, and institutions that work on water issues in the region.

The workshop agenda began with the launch of the study on the implementation of IWRM in Central America by 2020 by a regional expert. The general status of IWRM implementation, the analysis of the IWRM components by country, and the strategic actions to accelerate its implementation in the region were shared.

This was followed by two high-level panels. The first panel was attended by representatives of each Central American country, who spoke about the priorities required to advance IWRM in their countries. The second panel was attended by allies of International Cooperation such as the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), who put on the table the opportunities for technical and financial collaboration that exist for Central America to advance towards compliance with IWRM.

The ECLAC intervention was led by Silvia Saravia Matus, Economic Affairs Officer of the Natural Resources Division, who gave policy recommendations to strengthen IWRM at the organizational, technical and financial level. At an organizational level, she recognizes the role of basin organizations and points out the importance of strengthening them at a technical level, as well as promoting them in those micro-basins that suffer from water stress and negative externalities such as overexploitation, pollution, and conflicts; where its implementation is urgent to complement water management at the national level. Regarding financing, she highlights that ECLAC agrees with the study presented at this event, which establishes that economic instruments such as payments for environmental services, fees, water funds; should be reinforced and promoted in the region. At the same time, she recognizes that, from ECLAC, incentives to sectors that depend on water are considered a good option, as long as they meet the criteria for responsible environmental and social use.

Both panels had plenary sessions for conversation and exchange with the participants. It was concluded that challenges related to governance, data and information, financing, and technical capacity remain in force in the Central American region; key factors for managing a multidimensional resource such as water. But opportunities have also been identified and strategies have been proposed that may serve to define the work agendas of the countries at the regional level that contribute to accelerating IWRM in the region.

It is important to mention that the recent ECLAC publication “Reflections on water management in Latin America and the Caribbean” was shared with those attending the event, which summarizes almost 20 years of studies related to IWRM in the region.