Bylaws of the Sixaola Basin Binational Commission: Instrument for Social and Environmental Sustainability

25 June 2013 | News story

Good practices in transboundary governance: The case of the Binational Commission of the Sixaola Basin and its regulation was presented as example of governance structure giving sustainability to interventions.

June 14, 2013. The aim of the GEF workshop held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on lessons from projects involving international waters was to provide a forum for analysis and discussion on how to give project results and products sustainability through governance structures, policies and legislation.

The case of the Binational Commission of the Sixaola River Basin (CBCRS) and its regulation was presented as an example of governance structure lending sustainability to interventions in the zone. The commission’s bylaws were developed through a strategic alliance between the Executive Secretariats of the Convention for Costa Rica-Panama Border Development, the Project for Integrated Ecosystems Management in the Binational Sixaola Basin (GEF/IDB) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The construction of bylaws for establishing the CBCRS statute marks an important milestone in the history of the Border Convention, viewed as an environmental, institutional and social achievement. It is an entity created for the basin’s protection and regulation, but above all, one that will enable its stakeholders to participate in development and problem-solving,” say Border Convention Executive Secretaries, Israel Barrera and Óscar Méndez.

The [outcome of] developing bylaws for the CBCRS… is unquestionably an instrument of law that will promote conservation of the basin’s fragile ecosystems and help catalyze community development activities, but most especially, a valuable example of good environmental governance between two countries united by water,” state Grethel Aguilar, Regional Director of IUCN Mesoamerica and the Caribbean Initiative, and Alejandro Iza, Director of the IUCN’s Environmental Law Centre.

Much work is still needed to consolidate and strengthen the efforts of the CBCRS, particularly to incorporate a diverse range of vital stakeholders, management capacities, and transboundary cooperation in the zone, as well as defining joint activities towards sustainable development and improved livelihoods for the basin’s human populations. The fundamental thing is having an operational framework in place, along with the will of the CBCRS members to move forward these efforts to improve development in the border zone between the countries, and the binational Sixaola river basin, primarily,” conclude IUCN’s Rocío Córdoba and Alfonso Sanabria, of the Binational Project.

The document attached contains the Bylaws for the Establishment of the Statute of the Sixaola Basin Binational Commission and context in the frame of the Convention on Cooperation for Costa Rica-Panama Border Development, a brief summary of the strengthening process, and a preamble on water governance capacity in the Sixaola basin.

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**IUCN has worked on strengthening of the Binational Commission of the Sixaola River Basin in the frame of the projects, Water Management for Climate Change Adaptation in Mesoamerica, funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety; and BRIDGE: Building River Dialogue and Governance, financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.