Territorial water governance in the Gulf of Fonseca region


The water governance system in the Gulf of Fonseca region needs significant change in order to overcome its dysfunctionality and ensure a sustainable supply of water. To this end, the program promotes coordinated management of five watersheds by the various public and private water users, addressing conflicts peacefully in a fragile context. In addition, support is provided for technical, legal and institutional solutions that also have an effect at the national level.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Honduras
Water
Governance
Water resources conservation
Decentralisation
Water sector policy
01.04.2021 - 31.12.2027
CHF 18'000'000
Background

In the region of the Gulf of Fonseca, located in the Central American dry corridor, there are serious problems of governance, deterioration of natural resources and inequity.

These problems are especially acute in relation to water (drinking water and agriculture use), since the effects of climate change worsen the already critical situation of multidimensional poverty. Traditional attitudes and practices of the population and public policies such as, for example, privatization of water sources, aggravate the problem. At the same time, the region has a growing business sector that requires rational and sustainable water management providing an opportunity to promote corporate social responsibility. The population in the region also has a high level of awareness about the need to find solutions in the face of water scarcity, as expressed in demands made to local governments. A broad legal framework is in place that calls for the structures, roles and levels of articulation needed to ensure integral water resource management.

Domain two of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Central America 2013-2017 (PRAC) prioritizes reducing the fragility of the State and strengthening inclusive governance in the dry corridor. Switzerland’s past experience with water in the country and its new initiatives in the Gulf region constitute a base of knowledge and inter-relations with a positive image that facilitates and legitimates working on water governance.

For these reasons and the regional context, the general objective of the program is to contribute to the development of a system of integral and inclusive territorial water governance in the region of the Gulf of Fonseca, ensuring the availability of water in a sustainable and equitable manner. To achieve this objective, the following two outcomes are foreseen:

  • The five watershed councils in the region of the Gulf of Fonseca reach agreement and make decisions about integral management of water resources, linked with national policies.
  • Within the framework of the watershed councils, the local governments in the region of the Gulf of Fonseca lead the process of water management, strategic investments, and the application of best practices for conservation, use and sustainability.

The program is coherent with the Government Plan 2014-2018 that prioritizes the southern region on one hand and on the other, decentralization with participation of civil society and private sector stakeholders in the municipalities. It is also coherent with the Southern Message of COSUDE 2014-2018 with respect to the topic of water and attention to conflicts in highly fragile states.

The total estimated budget is CHF 26.1 Million for a period of 12 years, including the opening credit phase (CHF 200,000) to undertake specific studies and respond to the open issues.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Estimated operational start of intervention

(Main Credit Phase 1):  01.01.2017

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   18'000'000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   0
Project phases

Phase 99 01.04.2021 - 31.12.2027   (Active)

Phase 1 01.01.2016 - 17.04.2021   (Current phase)