International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Formulation of a Strategic Action Programme for the Integrated Management of Water Resources and Sustainable Development of the San Juan River Basin and its Coastal Zone (PROCUENCA)

The San Juan River Basin and its coastal zone, encompassing the subbasins of Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan River, extends through southeastern Nicaragua and northeastern Costa Rica to the Caribbean Sea linking ecosystems that are particularly valuable for their biodiversity and economic potential. The Strategic Action Programme (SAP) formulated under this project will contribute to the conservation of natural ecosystems and to social and economic development in order to satisfy present and future demands minimizing water conflicts.

The major components of the SAP formulation include:

  • i) the strengthening of a basin-wide information system that provides the mechanisms for gathering and dissemination of data adequate to the needs of decision-making for the integrated management of the basin;
  • ii) the creation of a well-coordinated bilateral planning process for the SJRB;
  • iii) the implementation of a public participation process;
  • iv) the strengthening of public institutions and private organizations; and
  • v) the formulation and implementation of environmental education activities.

Its execution is expected to bring both local and global benefits, such as conservation of the water cycle, the preservation of major water bodies and of the regions biodiversity, and the protection of extensive carbon sinks. The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), carried out with the active participation of key stakeholders during the PDF-Block B phase, pointed to a number of current and emerging problems that threaten the sustainability of development in the San Juan River Basin and ultimately the quality of life of the people who live there.

These transboundary environmental problems often have common roots and manifest themselves both individually and collectively. They are closely interrelated, but in the interest of seeking solutions they have been broken down as follows: accelerating degradation of transboundary ecosystems, overexploitation of valuable natural resources, soil degradation and increasing sedimentation, pollution of water bodies and high vulnerability to natural hazards. The principal root causes of these major environmental problems are as follows: inadequate planning and management, weak institutions, insufficient human and institutional capacity, limited stakeholder participation, and extreme poverty.

The SAP will layout a series of measures to reduce and/or eliminate current and emerging problems affecting the conservation and development of the SJRB. It will enhance the transboundary and global benefits obtained when development is both integrated and participatory, and when environmental education, technology transfer, and institutional strengthening are key elements of a program. The SAP will address priority transboundary needs and focus on long-term solutions to the current and emerging problems facing the SJRB. Furthermore, it will propose a series of projects based on experience gathered from demonstrations of new technologies, taking into account their real costs and the capacity of the institutions and organizations involved to execute them.

The execution of the SJRB project also contributes to the implementation of the priorities set by the Central American Presidents. These include a variety of economic goals, such as the development of border areas, the conservation of natural resources, and the protection of biodiversity, with specific reference to strengthening the Meso-American Biological Corridor, achieving sustainable use of water resources, and protecting the integrity of drainage basins.

It will further contribute to the Action Plan for Integrated Water Resources Management of the Central American Isthmus (PACADIRH), which is being implemented by the Central American Committee on Water Resources (CRRH) as Technical Secretariat of the Water Group created by the System for Central American Integration (SICA) in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in October of 1998.


San Juan


Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 791
Project type Full-Size Project
Status closed (Project Closure)
Start Date 12 Jan 2001
End Date 31 Dec 2005
GEF characteristic:
Focal Area International Waters
GEF Allocation to project USD 3,646,820
Total Cost of the project: USD 5,081,820
YES - See results data (791)
Costa Rica , Nicaragua , Regional

UN Environment (UNEP)

Project contacts
Zayda Trejos Esquivel National Coordinator
Pablo Gonz?lez Project Coordinator for Latin America
Isabelle Vanderbeck GEF IW Task Manager (UNEP)