Inter-Institutional Commission of the Hydrographic Basin of the Panama Channel

Interview with Mr. Tomás Fernández and Mrs. Eda Soto at Inter-Institutional Commission of the Hydrographic Basin of the Panama Channel (CICH)

What is the vision and mission of your organization?

We know that in order to fulfill the objectives of our organization we need to work together with other actors. We are conscience of the need of sharing experiences and learning from other organizations that work in the integrated water management in basins.

CICH has as purpose to coordinate the activities of government institutions and NGOs with responsibilities and interest in the Hydrographical Basin of the Panama Channel. It is an innovative mechanism that harmonizes the efforts and the best interests, initiatives and resources for the integrated management and conservation of the natural resources, promoting the sustainable development of the Basin.

Also CICH has the function to supervise and evaluate the programs, projects and policies, for the appropriate management of the Basin, and to solve possible incongruities or duplication of efforts among the stakeholders that interoperate. In order to support the accomplishment of programs and strategies of development of the Basin, this commission has received the responsibility to raise funds and promote initiatives through the establishment of financing mechanisms of national and international sources.

Why did you decide to become a GWP Partner?

We decided to become partners of GWP due to the opportunities it represents to access a global network of basin organizations, academic institutions, NGOs, government institutions, research institutions, municipalities, private enterprises, among others, with all the experiences that each entity supports and the knowledge generated in the technical committee of GWP.

What have you found to be the benefits of being a GWP Partner?

Access to information and experiences, and access to other actors that work in similar functions to our organization. Also, an opportunity to strengthen our position before the local, national and international decision makers, to present with more endorsement our points of view in order to improve IWRM.

What is one challenge facing the management of water resources in your region?

The region presents different challenges related to the lack of, or weak, infrastructure for water management; unappropiate legal frameworks and policies that many times are obsolete and expose emptiness; long term planification and resources to implement the national programs; lack of education and technical preparation in the subject (there is still a need to strengthen the human resources involved in IWRM); lack of the IWRM knowledge (sharing and interchange is still needed).

Are there any special projects or initiatives that you would like more widely known?

We would like a wider understanding of what is being done in the region about climate change and IWRM. At the national level, the sharing of more experiences and lessons learned (good or bad) in IWRM in the basins of Panama.