World Water Day: New Pride Campaigns Launched in Latin America to Protect Watersheds Fri, Mar 22, 2013

Watershed management aims to harmonize conservation with the use of water resources for agriculture, livestock and forestry in upland areas, especially when these resources have high socio-economic value for downstream users.

The Spatuletail flagship species, "Cucho", leads a Pride campaign parade in Tilacancha, Peru, as part of the community mobilization strategy for adopting sustainable watershed management practices. Photo Credit: M. Tovar

Tilacancha (Peru), 22 March 2013 - To mark World Water Day 2013, the conservation organizations RARE, with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and other partners, is launching ten new public awareness campaigns to promote watershed protection and biodiversity in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru.

The ‘Pride Campaigns’ aim to support the sustainable use of local natural resources and the conservation of ecosystems.  

Across Latin America, watersheds (including streams, lakes, estuaries, wetlands or aquifers), provide communities with clean water. They are also used for agriculture and forestry, but sometimes unsustainably. Indeed one of the greatest threats to the Latin American water supply is cattle grazing, as cows can enter streams and pollute the water.

Watershed management aims to harmonize conservation with the use of water resources for agriculture, livestock and forestry in upland areas, especially when these resources have high socio-economic value for downstream users.

The new campaigns are replicating the successful Watershed Reciprocal Agreements, also known as ARAs, which were piloted through the Global Environment Facility (GEF) project Communities of Conservation: Safeguarding the World's Most Threatened Species in the Andean region.

This pilot project, with financial support from the GEF, and in partnership with UNEP, was made up of 12 micro-watersheds that aim to build community support for local cloud forests and alpine grasslands, which are critical to sustaining regional fresh water sources and are important habitats for endangered species.

Building on impacts, lessons learned and the interest of local partners, the ten new micro-watersheds in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru also stand to benefit from the implementation of the ARA model. The model is simple: downstream water consumers contribute to a local conservation fund that through individually negotiated agreements provides incentives to upland land owners willingly taking concrete measures for conservation or restoration to keep their forests, or Páramo areas, healthy.

To achieve these objectives each Pride Campaign will use social marketing tools, festivals, billboards, radio shows and workshops to promote the success of the community in caring for their water resources and encourage people to be participants in the ARA scheme.  

The campaigns underscore the benefits obtained in terms of water supply and biodiversity protection, and how the participation of local stakeholders will make their community unique and special.

RARE, environmental authorities, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and water companies are partnering in this effort to replicate and expand the piloted methodology supported by the GEF and will scale up the creation of enabling policies and payment for programmes of ecosystem services at national levels.

About the Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Since 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $10.5 billion in grants and leveraging $51 billion in co-financing for over 2,700 projects in over 168 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 14,000 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $634 million. For more information, visit www.thegef.org.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP’s Mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

For more information, please contact:unepnewsdesk@unep.org

RARE

"Rare is a US-based  environmental conservation NGO  focused  on protecting imperiled species and ecosystems with a high biodiversity value through the implementation of Pride Campaigns, which are based on advanced social marketing techniques to inspire and mobilize communities to adopt human practices that represent long term solutions for the sustainable use of natural resources and ecosystems conservation. What further differentiates Rare is that results are always achieved by building the leadership capacity and effectiveness of local organizations.

For more information, please contact:

Itala Yepez

ARA Cohort Director

e-mail: iyepez@rareconservation.org

To learn more about Rare work and the ARA initiative visit

http://www.rareconservation.org/

http://www.rareconservation.org/program-watershed-protection

 
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