WaterClima – LAC project kicks off in San Salvador

Salinization and contamination of freshwater sources, and extreme weather events such as floods and droughts are some of the challenges that communities in coastal areas in Latin America and the Caribbean are facing today. The impacts of global climate change are likely to further aggravate the situation. Often, communities are not well prepared to deal with those impacts affecting their well-being. Contributing to poverty reduction and to inclusive and equitable development in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) through improved environmental governance and management of coastal areas is the overall goal of the project “WaterClima – LAC“, in which CAD is one of the partners. The project aims at enhancing coastal zone management and thereby increasing the resilience to climate change in LAC countries.

Financed by the European Commission through EuropeAid, the project will be implemented over three years by the 11 partners from Europe and the LAC region. The project will be implemented in four pilot areas reflecting the heterogeneity of challenges in the management of coastal zones in Latin America and the Caribbean: the city of La Paz at Mexico’s Pacific Ocean coast; the municipality Aquin at the southern coast of Haiti in the Caribbean Sea; the Bajo Lempa watershed at the Pacific Ocean in El Salvador; and the city of Mar del Plata at the Atlantic Ocean in Argentina. Based on the work undertaken and the lessons learnt in the pilot areas, the project will foster the regional dialogue and cooperation on watershed and coastal zone management in the LAC region, as well as between the region and Europe.

Between April 8-10, the project partners met in San Salvador for the project’s kick off and to plan activities in the four work areas: 1) integrated water management, 2) analysis of climate change impacts and vulnerabilities, 3) benefits of ecosystem services and strengthening of local capacities, and 4) capacity development, dissemination and networking. The partners also undertook a visit to the Bajo Lempa watershed in El Salvador to present the project’s objectives and activities, and to interact with the local communities living in the area.

In WaterClima – LAC, CAD coordinates the activities on stakeholder mapping and analysis in the four pilot areas. This will allow the project partners to understand the local context better, and to plan interventions more strategically. Based on a needs assessment, CAD experts will also lead the design of the project‘s capacity strengthening approach focused on national and local actors.

Author: Steffen Schwörer