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This book is a next step in the ongoing characterization of sustainable development. It is a set of conclusions drawn from case descriptions and methods that look at the "why" and "how" of the new regional planning. Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 make the case for the importance of both wild and cultured biodiversity; Chapters 5, 6 and 7 give instructions on how attention can be given to special parts of the overall effort; Chapter 8 links the topic to the recently ratified Convention on Biological Diversity; and Chapters 9, 10 and 11 discuss experiences from the well-known cases of La Amistad International Park in Costa Rica and Panama, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition in the United States, and CAMPFIRE in Zimbabwe as they fit into the parameters of the new regional planning.

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After seven years of field work it is now possible to prepare this synthesis of OAS experience with natural hazards. The material comes with a broad set of objectives, a reflection of the breadth of the issues involved in hazard mitigation. At the policy level, it is hoped that national planning ministries, development agencies, and international financing institutions will be encouraged to systematically include analyses of natural hazards in their economic development programs.

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In 1986, the governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras concluded a technical cooperation agreement known as the Trifinio Plan with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (GS/OAS) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). The unique characteristics of the Plan area led the authorities of the three countries to protect part of it by establishing in 1987 the La Fraternidad Biosphere Reserve, comprising the Montecristo cloud forest (the Reserves' nucleus) and a surrounding buffer zone suitable primarily for forestry. As soon as the Plan was presented, in 1988, the countries began the dissemination and negotiation processes essential to its implementation. Through successive documents of understanding among the parties, the agreement has been extended to the present.

The Trifinio Plan consisted of a socioeconomic assessment and a strategy for regional development, based on a set of 29 trinational development projects and numerous national projects presented at the profile level. Among the elements shaping the strategy is the need for actions in the energy sector. This sector is closely related to environmental deterioration because of deforestation caused by the heavy demand for fuel wood. It was therefore considered necessary to promote activities to increase the energy supply through reforestation and to reduce household energy consumption with better-designed stoves that would use less firewood.

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In October of 1994, UNEP and GS/OAS signed an Agreement in which both organizations agreed to support Costa Rica and Nicaragua the two countries in carrying out this Project.  The project's main objectives were defined as those relating to human development and the preservation of natural resources and ecosystems. The following aspects were given priority: (a)Management and preservation of shared basins and water resources; (b)Management of protected areas and preservation of biodiversity; (c) Incentives for the development of sustainable economic activities; (d) Overcoming the population's conditions of poverty, and attention to indigenous groups; and (e) Institutional strengthening and legislation which would reconcile key issues at the border and Central American level.

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  • Integrated Management of Water Resources and Sustainable Development of the San Juan River Basin and its Coastal Zone (2001)

    The document summarizes the preliminary findings resulting from the PDF-Block B phase of the Project which included the preparation of a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA). It also describes the components and working elements for the formulation of a Strategic Action Program for the Integrated Management of Water Resources and the Sustainable Development of the San Juan River Basin and its Coastal Zone.

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  • Integrated Regional Development Planning: Guidelines and Case Studies from OAS Experience (1984)

Reviewing 20 years of experience with integrated regional development planning is a humbling exercise. Mistakes and failed plans stand out clearly with the perspective of time, but so do the occasional successfully implemented projects that flowed from the plans. Less obvious but perhaps equally satisfying are the mistakes avoided because of the plans. DRD draws here exclusively on its own field experience in Latin America, leaving it to other technical assistance agencies to catalog theirs. Accordingly, the emphasis in this book is on the development of natural resources, energy, infrastructure, agriculture, industry, human settlements, and social services. In these accounts, we believe, are information and ideas of use to developing-country governments from the local to the national levels, sectoral agencies, river basin authorities, regional development corporations, other technical assistance groups, and - most of all - field study managers.

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The governments of the Western Hemisphere recognize that sustainable development depends on the availability of potable water, the prevention of pollution, the protection of aquatic ecosystems, international cooperation, the involvement and participation of users in planning and decision making, and the promotion of integrated management of this resource. To promote the sustainable development of water resources, the governments have adopted initiatives 47 to 58 related to water resources and coastal areas of the Action Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Americas, which was prepared during the Summit on Sustainable Development in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, 1996 (Table 1).

The Workshop on Integrated Water Resources Management in Mesoamerica took place in Panama City on October 20 to 22, 1997. The objective of the workshop was to obtain cooperation, understanding, and agreement between policy- and decision-makers and scientists on issues related to water-resources management in Mesoamerica.

This workshop report contains an evaluation of the degree to which countries have implemented each of the initiatives that were approved and adopted by the governments of the region. It lists national and international meetings on integrated water-resources management that have taken place or will be organized in the near future to discuss similar initiatives and recommends a set of future activities.

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The Unit for Sustainable Development of the Organization of American States (OAS/DSD) has had an active role in vulnerability reduction to natural hazards and has been supporting disaster reduction activities related to the transportation sector. Prior to Hurricane Mitch the OAS/DSD approached the Central American Secretariat for Economic Integration (SIECA) and COMITRAN on the need to begin a systematic evaluation of the Pan American Highway to natural hazards.

Following that disastrous event, and as part of the U.S. Government’s interagency support of reconstruction activities in the affected countries, which are coordinated by the USAID, the OAS/DSD approached the U.S, Department of Transportation (USDOT) for financial support studies on the disaster reduction of the Central America transportation sector. One component of those studies is a the preparation of a document to identify existing and potential mechanisms for mutual assistance in case of damage to infrastructure and vulnerability reduction of the transportation sector in Central America. This study also forms part of USDOT’s support of the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Transportation Initiative (WHTI) through is action plan adopted at the WHTI meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana in December 1998.

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The Source Book of Alternative Technologies for Freshwater Augmentation in Latin America and the Caribbean was prepared by the Unit for Sustainable Development and Environment of the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) as part of the joint United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Water Branch and International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) initiative to provide water resource managers and planners, especially in developing countries and in countries with economies in transition, with information on the range of technologies that have been developed and used in the various countries throughout the world.

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