International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Integrated Environmental Management of the Rio Motagua Watershed

The objective of the project is to improve the integrated management of the Motagua River Basin and reduce land-based sources of pollution and emissions of persistent organic pollutants produced unintentionally (unintentional POPs) to mitigate impacts on coastal marine ecosystems and livelihoods of the local population. The project will strengthen Guatemala's efforts to manage the Motagua River Basin (17,991 square kilometers).

The project will provide global environmental benefits related to the maintenance of water resources and the regulation of the Motagua River Basin. In particular, the project will contribute to reduce water pollution that negatively affects downstream ecosystems and livelihoods (1,799,080 ha under Integrated Watershed Management approach in the Motagua River Basin). In addition, the global environmental benefits of the project include the reduction of unintentional POPs emissions produced by the burning of solid waste in open dumps, including the reduction from 109,500 metric tons (MT) / year to 87,600 MT / year of waste plastics and the reduction of 225.6 grams of toxic equivalents / year to 180.5 / year of emissions of unintentional POPs.

At the end of the project, at least 56 municipal landfills in Guatemala will use sustainable solid waste management systems (reduction of open burning) and 100 hectares of coastal ecosystems and 25 km of riparian forests will be rehabilitated to protect water resources and improve the habitat of the local fauna and flora. This will be achieved with equal participation of men and women, ensuring that both men and women benefit equally from the project and that the concerns and experiences of both women and men are an integral part of project development.

The project will carry out innovative pilot initiatives for the Integrated Watershed Management of the Motagua river basin (Guatemala and Honduras) that generate knowledge and lessons learned that allow the replication and expansion of successful experiences.

In addition, innovative investments will be made to reduce water pollution and coastal pollution of the Motagua River from land-based sources: Implementing three pilot projects in Guatemala and three pilot projects in Honduras to reduce surface water pollution, increase the recharge of aquifers through ecological restoration actions, rehabilitate coastal ecosystems, manage contaminated waste on the beaches of the Motagua river delta / estuary and optimize the availability of water resources.

Six (6) pilot projects, three (3) in Guatemala and three (3) in Honduras, with low-cost technology to reduce land-based pollution of water resources (example: biodigesters, oxidation ponds, erosion control ground).

Eight (8) pre-investment studies for the implementation of large-scale infrastructure and equipment for the management and disposal of land-based pollutants that affect hydrological resources (for example, solid and plastic waste).

Three pilot projects for the reduction of solid waste and the proper handling and disposal of household waste, including the eradication of open burning, contribute to the reduction of dioxin and furan emissions and plastic waste.

Rehabilitation (conservation and protection, reforestation, natural regeneration, remediation) of 25 kilometers of riparian ecosystems in the Motagua River basin in Honduras.

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Sustainable Water Management

South America

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Documents & Resources
General information
GEF ID 9246
Project type Full-Size Project
Status active (Project Approved)
Start Date 19 Apr 2016
GEF characteristic:
Focal Area Chemicals and Waste, International Waters
GEF Allocation to project 5,329,452 USD
Total Cost of the project: 33,507,328.00 USD
Guatemala , Honduras , Regional

UN Development Programme

Project contacts
Ana María Nuñez Regional Technical Specialist for Waters, Oceans, Ecosystems and Biodiversity Nature, Climate and Energy Team
Juan Carlos Villagrán Project Coordinator
Fernando García Program Officer