8th to the 10th of April 2015: Kick-off Meeting held in San Salvador

Water scarcity, salinization and contamination of freshwater sources, damming of rivers for hydropower and extreme weather events such as floods and droughts are some of the many challenges that local communities in coastal areas of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are currently facing. Climate Change effects are due to further intensify these challenges. Commonly communities are not well equipped to deal with these impacts affecting their daily lives and economic growth.

WaterClima – LAC a 3M€ project financed by the European Commission (EuropeAid) over a period of 3 years is looking to equip these local communities to combat against the effect of climate change through three main objectives:

  • To contribute to the fight against poverty and social inequalities in the region
  • To improve environmental governance and management of coastal areas
  • To contribute to efficient, inclusive and sustainable economic growth

The project has 4 pilot areas, taking into account all the oceans surrounding LAC countries, namely: the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The four pilot areas were all chosen according to their watershed importance in the area and the need for actions to be taken in watersheds to protect the costal regions. They are: (A) La Paz in Baja California, Mexico (B) The Transboundry watershed of Baja Lempa with its coastal region in El Salvador and its upper reaches in Honduras and Guatemala. (C) Mar de Plata in Argentina and (D) Aquin y San Luis du Sud, Haití.

The Main activities of the project are:

  • Analysis of the Climate Risks in Coastal Zones
  • Integrated Water Resource Management
  • Ecosystem Services and economic gains and local capacity building
  • Design and implementation of economic and financial models for each pilot area
  • Design and implementation of social models for each pilot area0IMG_9321-150x150

The project will work with local entities in each of the pilot areas to ensure that the actions implemented during the project are robust and sustainable. The project will also link in with national and international initiatives being implemented in each one of these countries including the Emerging and Sustainable Cities Initiative of the Inter American Development Bank.

There is a highly talented team of professionals both local and international that will be responsible for implementing these tasks. The project will be lead by CATIE (Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza) with participation from Costa Rica, WE&B (Water, Environment and Business for Development) from Spain/Mexico, Tecnologico de Monterrey (Mexico), The National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) from Argentina, Amphos 21, from Spain, Fundacion Chile (FCH) from Chile, Europe for Business (EFB) from England, Fundacion Centro Technologico CTM, Centro de Alianzas para el Desarrollo (GlobalCAD) from Spain, INTEC from Dominican Republic, University of Quisqueya form Haiti.

The kick-off meeting was held in El Salvador (San Salvador) from the 8th to the 10th of April 2015. During the 3 day meeting the project team visited the Bajo Lempa watershed to present the projects objectives and activities to the local communities and to hear from them directly what are some of the biggest issues that they face that the project will look to work on.

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