Projects of the Water Management Unit in the Mesoamerica Regional Office

Water Management Unit

Description of the Unit
The purpose of this operational unit is the sustainable management of freshwater, coastal, and marine ecosystems.

The unit aims at fostering knowledge, improving practices and promoting governance over both fresh- and saltwater ecosystems, while taking into concern peoples' needs and livelihoods as well as managing the risks connected to climate change.

With the focus on water management, not only the unit seeks to create a balance between conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems, but also all the conditions to assure different users of fair and equal access to water resources, the conditions being social, economic, political, institutional, and environmental.


Initiatives and Projects

Tacaná Project

Integrating local communities for the sustainable management of the Suchiate and Coatán river basins

The “Integrated Management of the river basins in connection to the Tacaná volcano”, also known as the “Tacaná Project”, is carrying out work in the Suchiate and Coatán river basins starting from 14 different pilot projects. All these rather diverse projects comply with the search for a sustainable use and provision of natural resources, especially water, by applying the ecosystem approach to the integrated management of catchments.

The most remarkable activities of the Tacaná project stem from local experiences which were successfully developed, e.g. effective showcases, high-level participation within the community, increasing participation of women, excellent progress with respect to coordination, signing of agreements and/or conventions with municipal authorities and other governmental and nongovernmental institutions upon how to technically and financially cooperate with the Project through strategic partnerships.


Cahocán Project

Seeking a new model for managing risk in the Cahocán river basin

After the devastating effects of Hurricane Stan over the coastal region and border areas of Chiapas State, the urgency of initiating a project to reduce vulnerability and mitigate the impacts resulting from extreme weather became evident. For the above reasons, the Cahocán project aims to:

  • Conserve and restore the natural channels and water infiltration areas of micro-river shores within the Cahoacán basin as so to prevent spillovers and floods.
  • Propel the development of alternative patterns of production in the critical areas of the Cahoacán river basin, thus contributing to water retention and curbing erosion.
  • Facilitate and support social organizations and local authorities to jointly prepare precipitation-driven disaster prevention plans.
  • Control and reduce the modalities according to which the channels within the Cahoacán river basin are contaminated.
  • Establish financing mechanisms which may assure that the actions described above are continued.


Lachuá Lagoon Project

The Lachuá Lagoon National Park Conservation project in Guatemala sets out to conserve the natural resources contained in the national park at issue and to promote the sustainable use of it. Not only it aims to protect the ecological potential in its whole zone of influence, but also to improve local settlers’ life conditions through sustainable development projects.

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  • Guatemalan farmer in the reforestation activities of IUCN Project Tacaná

    Guatemalan farmer in the reforestation activities of IUCN Project Tacaná

    Photo: Claire Warmenbol / IUCN

  • Disaster caused by the Cahoacán River swelling after the passage of tropical storm Stand in October 2005.

    Disaster caused by the Cahoacán River swelling after the passage of tropical storm Stand in October 2005.

    Photo: Bald Frame

  • Lachuá Lagoon National Park

    Lachuá Lagoon National Park

    Photo: IUCN