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Technical Communiqués

IUCN Freshwater Initiative in Mesoamerica
Vision for Water and Nature
World Water Council (WWC)
World Bank
Global Environmental Fund (GEF)

A world where everyone values and accepts their responsibilities regarding the conservation and wise use of the resources and functions of freshwater ecosystems; where benefits for humanity are optimized while ensuring that there will be no loss or degradation of the resources, functions and biodiversity of these ecosystems.

This is the vision developed last June in San José, Costa Rica, at the workshop on Freshwater and Environmental Security.

Participants from different regions of the world joined in to define basic knowledge on freshwater ecosystems management and environmental security.

This workshop was the third in a series of consultations being held to develop the "Vision of Water and Development" and learn how freshwater and ecosystem management affect social, economic and environmental security.

Previous workshops focused on Management of Freshwater Ecosystems and Social Security (Harare, Zimbabwe, April 13-15, 1999) and Management of Freshwater Ecosystems and Economic Security (Bangkok, Thailand, June 9-11, 1999.)

The Costa Rica workshop also provided mechanisms for strengthening ties between water management stakeholders in Central America, with the participation of the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo - CCAD), the Central American Integration System (Sistema de Integración Centroamericana - SG-SICA), the Regional Committee on Hydraulic Resources (Comité Regional de Recursos Hidráulicos - CRRH) and the Center for the Prevention of Disaster in Central America (Centro para la Prevención de Desastres en América Central - CEPREDENAC).

Workshop activities included the identification of challenges, principles and strategies that should be incorporated in the development of the the Vision for Water and Nature.


  • Wise use of resources
  • Conservation and protection of ecosystems
  • Participation and responsible conduct by civil groups
  • Strengthening of the groups responsible for aquatic resources
  • Political commitment to change
  • Development and reinforcement of laws and agreements
  • Development of financially sustainable mechanisms
  • Economic realities in the next millennium
  • Development of innovative science and technology
  • Maintenance of information flows
  • Implementation of effective communication and education

Principles of the Vision for Water and Nature

  • Care for freshwater
  • Foment ecosystems and their biodiversity
  • Use freshwater equitably
  • Share freshwater secrets
  • Educate people about freshwater and ecosystems

Implementation strategies for the project include the following:

  • Promote conservation and protection of ecosystems
  • Encourage wise use of resources
  • Include all components of society in decision-making
  • Strengthen existing institutions and develop new ones
  • Influence politicians to make freshwater ecosystem management a priority
  • Incorporate matters concerning freshwater ecosystems in legal frameworks
  • Develop innovative financial strategies
  • Develop and employ "green" economic measures
  • Intensify scientific research and the development of new technologies
  • Improve information gathering and dissemination
  • Improve education and communication regarding freshwater ecosystems

The first draft of a document for discussion on the Vision for Water and Nature has been prepared and can be found at:

For more information, contact
Debbie Gray: [email protected]
Chris Morry: [email protected]

Water and Nature IUCN-Canada Office
380, rue St-Antoine at Suite 3200
Montreal, Q.C. CANADA H2Y 3X7
Fax: +1+514+287-9057

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