04.10.2019 -

Basin Organizations for a More Sustainable Water Governance

The issue of water security is of great importance for the Central American region, and requests have been received from some government institutions to ensure that the theme of water governance in the context of basin organizations is dealt with in greater depth. It is a priority to generate conditions so that the most vulnerable populations have better access to drinking water. Effective sanitation measures that minimize the contamination of resources are also necessary. Within this framework the “Course of Strengthening of the Basin and Water Governance Organizations in Central America” took place in Antigua, Guatemala, between September 23-27, 2019, co-organized between the Conference of Ibero-American WATER Directors (CODIA) and the International Hydrological Program for Latin America and the Caribbean (IHP-LAC) of UNESCO, together with the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and the Network of Centers of Excellence in Water in America Latin (RALCEA).

In order for countries to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, universal access to water and sanitation, their greatest opportunity is in Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). IWRM is defined as “a dynamic process, with intersectoral social and institutional participation, for water management and its interactions with the environment, to guarantee its sustainability, minimize negative impacts and obtain maximum environmental, socio-cultural and economic benefits.”

Basin Organizations, the political units that share the basin, are a key player in the IWRM, and seek the execution of organized and programmed actions. The objective of this course was the development of capacities between representatives of public institutions, communal organizations, private entities and other socioeconomic sectors that live in the basin as a territorial unit, with a view to achieving a better balance in their actions, promoting institutional strengthening and effective governance in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Water Sustainability Index (WSI) was a central point of this workshop, and was presented for the purpose of its periodic application in Central America, to be used by river basin managers as an evaluation and planning tool.


The Workshop included a field activity where the participants recognized the sub-basins of the Xaya/Pixcayá rivers (Motagua River basin), located in the department of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Coordinated by Mr. Víctor Mux, it had the objective of sharing experiences regarding integrated river basin management, focused on participatory territorial management models.

With the participation of 30 people, this course was openedby Mrs. María Luisa Aumesquest, Coordinator of AECID in Antigua, Mr. Alvaro Aceituno, of the Ministry of Environment of Guatemala and Mrs. Anny Chaves, UNESCO consultant. The course coordinator was Mr. Herberth Villavicencio - Water Directorate, Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica-, and among the speakers were Dr. Henrique Marinho Leite Chaves - University of Brasilia - and Eng. Mario Schreider - UNESCO Chair on Water and Education for Sustainable Development.

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