Partnerships with Governments for the management of natural resources and provision of environmental services in the Biosphere Reserve BOSAWAS

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The program contributed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua and specifically to the MDG 7 "Environmental Sustainability", in the Bosawas Biosphere. The programme results contributed to the national policy on promoting renewable energy; on promoting cocoa agro-ecological systems the production; access to clean water; the creation of the risk management national strategy and to the national and regional gender policy.

The program had 5 results:

  1. The local capacities on watershed management with a focus on risk management and ecosystem restoration are strengthened
  2. There is better use and access to clean water and sanitation in the communities and schools.
  3. There is access to renewable energy in the communities and schools
  4. Vegetation was recovered in areas affected by the Hurricane Felix in BOSAWAS Damping through agro forestry development.
  5. The training and the environmental education strengthened the link between the Joint Programme and the BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve Management Plan.

These results were achieved through partnership with local governments’ targeting cooperation fund resources towards the achievement of results never achieved before in one of the poorest areas in Nicaragua. Through the partnership significant progress were achieved in the implementation of watershed management plans on BOSAWAS Biosphere Reserve. Significant improvements were achieved in the early warning system and the relationship with the media. The capacities of inhabitants are strengthened in order to prevent disasters and save lives in a region with a history of natural disasters. In terms of sustainability and human development, after three years of conducting constant training for young women and men on how to manage the sustainability of the investment, there is success. The Governments and institutions assumed sustainability plans for monitoring and development of the investment achieved with the program.

Purpose of the activity

The program decided to improve the living conditions for the most vulnerable communities. It seeks to consolidate a national strategy for the promotion of renewable energy, access to clean water, promoting of cocoa cultivation and agro-ecosystems and production systems in the region. It also strengthened the risk management and climate change strategies and the gender policies towards the climate change adaptation of the most vulnerable communities.

It is a program designed to strengthen the country policies and strategies with emphasis on local capacity building on sustainable development of the environment and natural resources as the main hub for poverty reduction.

Original issue addressed by the activity

The Waspam and Bonanza municipalities face high incidence of hurricanes and droughts, caused by climate change which have caused considerable economic damage and life lost. These phenomena do not distinguish generational differences, gender or ethnicity.

The program selected the communities in the three micro basins and benefited more than 14,000 people in these communities. The climate in these communities is 8-9 months of heavy rains in flood-prone rivers. When it does not rain communities face seasonal periods of drought. The communities are located on inaccessible mountains, many of them without roads, and some of them accessible only by walking several hours on difficult paths. The lack of primary and secondary roads in these communities affects productivity due the difficult transport. In these dispersed and remote communities all inhabitants, regardless the ethnic group to which they identify, have similar poverty and risk vulnerabilities.

The communities have a high population of children, mainly 3-4 schooling elementary years. The schools in these communities’ imparted several grades in one classroom (multigrade). Due to the difficulty of access, secondary education is imparted on Saturday, in one of the communities where all students from other communities met.

Strategy / approach chosen to address the issue

The appropriate care and management of natural resources for sustainability is a collective responsibility. The damage of the environment and its benefits reaches everyone equally. Therefore the different community authorities, territorial and municipal governments agreed with the program to implement an inclusive programme in order to avoid social divisions. .

The Government of Nicaragua and UNDP worked together from the beginning of the process during the planning of the program. This gave incentive to the governments to assign funds for the implementation of policies and actions for the development of national and regional strategies. The agency participated in all stages of the program cycle.

The support of national and regional institutions was equally competent. They assumed with determination the work as a lead institution and as a lead agency. In addition, the support of the Resident Coordinator's office and of the National Foreign Affairs Office on the monitoring and follow up process secure the fund aim for the achievement of the MDGs.

Implementation of the strategy / chosen approach

The decision was to work with different committees integrated by international institutions, local community, and local government’s technical staff. A coordination team was created without making any distinctions on ethnicity, gender, or other possibly differences amongst the beneficiaries. The following activities were undertaken:

  • Community meetings and assemblies to reach agreements and enhance the community interest and cooperation.
  • Planning meetings at different levels.
  • Periodic adjustments to the working methodology
  • Field technicians and team coordination meetings 1 or 2 twice per month.
  • Coordinating Committee Meetings 2 twice per month.
  • Meetings with broader sectors of the communities to assess the

participation levels of the project

  • Annual municipal, territorial and community presentations were established as a practice to keep track on the progress and the results. This practice validated the monitoring process with local stakeholders.
  • The Ministers, Deputy Minister and Directors made regular visits to the communities to meet with the beneficiaries.
  • The United Nations Staff made regular visits to the territories to meet with beneficiaries and authorities.
  • Joint agendas were created by the programme coordination with local and regional governments
  • Institutional support was provided to the technical teams in order to speed administrative procedures

Results and Impacts

Main Achievements

  • 3,511 km2 of land in the three microbasins of the Wawa, Kukalaya, and Waspuk Rivers are being administered through management plans developed in a participatory manner and approved by authorities.
  • 5,561 people, including 2,361 school-age children, have access to safe drinking water and sanitation, thanks to water and sanitation works supported by the program.
  • 4,428 inhabitants of selected micro basins are benefiting from renewable energy sources set up by the programe.


  • Empowerment of local communities in the implementation of the program.
  • Capacity building for local management of natural resources
  • The consolidation of local organizations
  • The empowerment of women movements
  • The creation of new environmental youth organizations
  • The partnerships between local institutions and local governments.
  • The knowledge and institutional experience acquired by the local authorities on the Caribbean coast.
  • The methodology to replicate the program with other development cooperation organizations.


  • The communication strategy. The Regional Government with the UN system managed to involve the five joint programs in the implementation of the regional communication strategy and the monitoring system on the Caribbean Autonomous Region of the Nicaraguan Coast
  • The sustainability strategy for the program outcomes
  • The risk management national strategy

Next Steps

A good practice on environmental mainstreaming and governance was established but the knowledge of local authorities needs to be strengthened. There should be more technical support. Future programs to be implemented in this area should be tailored to the community, needs (municipal, territorial and regional )

Potential replication / application

Es replicable el mecanismo de Planificación, implementación, coordinación, seguimiento y monitoreo, divulgación del Programa.

Information products

  1. Coordination agreements
  2. Committee meetingsto seek enforcement if you were not granted the time extension to execute.
  3. Agreements to plan POAs


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