IUCN BRIDGE Project Fosters Transboundary Cooperation
13 March 2012: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has launched the Building River Dialogue and Governance (BRIDGE) project, which aims to improve water management in transboundary river basins in South and Central America and in the Mekong region in Asia.
The project, which complements high level processes by bringing together all those affected on a local level and building consensus across all levels, addresses local water challenges while establishing new opportunities for dialogue and cooperation between countries. According to Mark Smith, Director, IUCN Global Water Programme, transboundary cooperation plays a key role in achieving economic growth and conserving biodiversity.
Under the framework of the project, Peru and Ecuador agreed on maps of the Zarumilla and Catamayo-Chira river basins and set a common scientific basis for addressing water management and strengthening official cooperation. In the Mekong region, IUCN is working with Cambodia and Lao PDR to address management of the Sekong river basin.
IUCN underlines the importance of transboundary water management in light of increasing threats to freshwater resources, such as climate change. Alejandro Iza, Director, IUCN Environmental Law Centre, noteed that while rivers set boundaries that give rise to fears over water conflict, better collaboration can improve water security and protect nature. [IUCN Press Release]