of the principal fields of action of the IUCN-ORMA Wetlands and
Coastal Zones Conservation Program for Mesoamerica is the identification
of conservation priorities for these ecosystems. The IUCNs
policy is to work closely with national specialists so that the
program will respond more appropriately to the needs of countries
in the region.
To make this possible, the program is fomenting wetlands and coastal
zones work groups, which have the following characteristics:
One of the principal fields of action of the
IUCN-ORMA Wetlands and Coastal Zones Conservation Program for
Mesoamerica is the identification of conservation priorities for
these ecosystems. The IUCNs policy is to work closely with
national specialists so that the program will respond more appropriately
to the needs of countries in the region.
To make this possible, the program is fomenting
wetlands and coastal zones work groups, which have the following
- Because they work on a voluntary basis,
these groups do not represent institutional, political or personal
- Assumedly these groups enjoy national recognition
and thus serve as forums for high-level technical discussion
to identify problems and solutions concerning sustainable management
of wetlands and coastal ecosystems.
- They serve as a liaison between regional
initiatives and the program, which channels its activities through
them to the greatest degree possible.
- With program coordinating personnel, the
working groups determine priorities in wetlands and coastal
zone conservation and management at the national level. These
priorities form an integral part of the programs plan
of work in the different countries.
- To the extent possible, they function as
advisor to other national IUCN groups, such as the National
Members Committees and Commission Members.
- They receive technical support from the
different IUCN groups in their countries (members, commissions
- Although work groups do not implement projects,
the program does enlist their participation in providing technical
assistance for wetlands and coastal zone projects in their respective
- Work groups are part of the regional network
that vitalizes the program and promotes the sharing of knowledge
and collaborative work between regional specialists.
- Each group defines its own work mechanisms,
which are broadly and openly discussed
there are four work groups functioning in the region, one each
in Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. In Guatemala,
Nicaragua and Costa Rica they have held workshops to define priorities.
Nicaragua and Costa Rica now have work plans approved and supported
by the wetlands and coastal zones program.
Nicaraguas group has been particularly dynamic,
and it has the largest number of participants, divided into subgroups
for the countrys different regions. The group is currently
working on a directory of wetlands and coastal zone specialists
in Nicaragua. In addition, it is updating a diagnostic profile
and classification of national wetlands.
In Costa Rica, the work group is looking forward
to the 7th meeting of Ramsar signatories in may 1999, and during
the last few days of November 1998 will be holding a forum on
the major opportunities and threats to these ecosystems in their
country. The group is also in the process of bringing out a publication
El Salvador's groups is collaborating closely
with the IUCN national members committee to organize a meeting
on work priorities in the country. Around 30 persons with experience
in wetlands and coastal zones are expected to attend the meeting.
At the end of this year the wetlands program
will be holding priorities workshops in the remaining countries
(Honduras, Belize and Panamá) in order to strengthen these
CONGRATULATIONS TO NICARAGUAS WORK GROUP
FOR BEING THE MOST ACTIVE IN THE REGION