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Technical Communiqués

IUCN Freshwater Initiative in Mesoamerica
Regional Workshop: Conservation and Management of Wetlands and Coastal Zones in Central America: Methodologies and Priorities

The workshop was held within the framework of the Mesoamerican Congress for Biology and Conservation, on July 5-8, 1999, in Guatemala City, under the auspices of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo - CCAD), with funding from the Wetlands and Coastal Zones Area for IUCN-Mesoamerica and the PROARCA/Costas Project (CCAD, TNC, URI and WWF.)

The workshop was one of the best-attended events at the Congress, attracting some 60 participants from all of the Central American countries and representing academic sectors, central and local governments, NGOs, civil society, communities, indigenous groups and others. Their goal was one: to strengthen knowledge and regional ties for the purpose of improving management and conservation of wetlands and coastal zones in Central America and setting geographic and thematic priorities.

Objectives of the Workshop:

  • Exchange lessons learned in various approaches to conservation and management of wetlands and coastal zones in ongoing projects in Central America
  • Set regional and national priorities in the area of conservation and management of wetlands and coastal zones
  • Disseminate advances obtained by the IUCN-Mesoamerica Wetlands and Coastal Zones Program and the PROARCA/Costas Project


  • Presentations on institutional experiences and stakeholder groups; analysis of conservation and management planning methodologies; discussion of criteria for management and conservation and geographic and thematic priority-setting for regional wetlands and coastal zones; case studies; exchanges among stakeholder groups; group work to define priorities and finally, plenary sessions

Main lessons learned at the workshop regarding methodologies and priorities:

  • Key stakeholders in the process for conservation and management of wetlands and coastal zones strongly agree about the need to join efforts and exchange experiences on a continual basis to have a greater impact on these ecosystems and the target groups
  • Methodology for setting priorities for wetlands and coastal zones must be kept flexible in order to adapt to the needs of each of the Central American countries
  • Geographic and thematic priorities for each country had already been established at national workshops and consensus was reached on the ten sites identified at the regional level, although no priorities were established among these sites.
  • Priority-setting will require an extensive session of analysis to define the necessary criteria, value or weighting.
  • Despite the different criteria and experiences of participants, there was a common interest in focusing conservation efforts on transboundary sites with shared resources.

A workshop report is currently being prepared on the main outcomes of discussions and contributions from participants.

Working Group
Water and Nature

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