Cahoacán II Project Forms the First Microwatershed Committees

19 November 2012 | News story

Four microwatershed committees formed and foundations laid for genuine interinstitutional and multi-sector coordination in microwatershed management

Chiapas, Mexico, September 2012 (IUCN) – As part of its strategy in the Water and Nature Initiative II (WANI 2), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) promotes the adoption, adaptation and validation of the microwatershed-based model of participatory planning and comprehensive community water management, through the Cahoacán Project Phase II financed by Fundación Gonzalo Río Arronte I.A.P. and supported by Sociedad de Historia Natural del Soconusco, in Chiapas, Mexico.

This bases for this model are promotion of social organization, local capacity-building, recognition of territorial planning and management using hydrographic units, participation of local political authorities, formation of microwatershed committees, preparation of microwatershed management plans, development of youth and women’s entrepreneurial capacities, productive projects for communities’ socioeconomic wellbeing, establishment of funds for participatory water management, private sector participation and involvement in basic sanitation and comprehensive water resource management activities and true integration of interinstitutional and multi-sector cooperation with an overall view to sustainable development.

In this context, the objective of the Cahoacán II project is to consolidate, foster and expand local actors’ participatory planning and management capacities to restore, conserve and protect strategic microwatersheds, thereby making it possible to improve provision of ecosystem goods and services, especially hydrological, and reduce the impact of climate phenomenon on the Cahoacán river basin. Strategy for the valuation and compensation of ecosystem goods and services will also be implemented.

To achieve these objectives, the first step is to form microwatershed committees and conduct strategic planning with a territorial overview so that a mechanism can then be defined to align and link the various microwatershed management plans with that of the Cahoacán river basin, where these strategic microwatersheds are located. Another important challenge is to integrate all of the municipal, state and federal institutions working in the area in a platform of cooperation, articulated efforts and intervention for integrated microwatershed management in the territories.

To strengthen local capacities of participatory planning and comprehensive microwatershed management, it was first necessary to identify local actors and their influence in the zone. For this, a series of highly participatory workshops were held applying the PIL (Power, Interest and Legitimacy) methodology to conduct thorough stakeholder mapping.

This made it possible to define strategy for promoting the participation of key stakeholders in accompaniment, support and strengthening of the microwatershed committees and their strategic territorial intervention plans. Attending these workshops were members of the ejidos of La Azteca, El Águila, Poblado Progreso, Fracción Bella Vista, Benito Juárez San Vicente, Benito Juárez El Plan, Faja de Oro, Toquián Las Nubes, Salvador Urbina, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Silvano Gatica, Miguel Hidalgo, Toluquita and Unidad 2000. As the culmination of this process, the Upper Caguá, Upper Cahoacán, Lower Caguá and Aguinal-Aguinalito microwatershed committees were formed. The next step is participatory preparation of their strategic territorial intervention plans, for subsequent alignment with municipal management plans and the overall management plan for the Cahoacán river basin.

For more information contact:

Carlos R. Rosal Del Cid
Regional Officer
Livelihoods and Climate Change Unit
IUCN Regional Office for Mesoamerica and Caribbean Initiative
Tel: 00502-5966-6957 and 00502-5918-0317