Letter From The Water Office

A Fresh Welcome to the New Year

As we begin the new year, we take a fresh look at some of the challenges unique to safeguarding the rain forests, mangroves, farms, and coastal waters that make Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.

The stories in this edition of Global Waters take readers on a fascinating journey through the beautiful and fragile ecosystems of the LAC. USAID and our implementing partners have been working together to protect biodiversity and improve food security in this region rich with natural resources, but threatened by overuse, pollution, climate change, and other risk factors.

Protecting the region’s many resources requires the participation of all stakeholders and a clear understanding of what’s at risk if those resources are not managed properly. By engaging local fisheries, lobster divers, water user associations, farmers, businesses, and residents alike in training and educational programs, the agency is proving successful in teaching a population with diverse needs and interests how to share the region’s natural gifts in a sustainable manner.

As a result, farmers are mastering new techniques, fishermen are learning when and how to fish for the greatest bounty, and small local business owners have been able to improve the quality of the water supply by reducing exposure to unnecessary contaminants.

Clearly we still have many lessons to learn and challenges to face, but our participants are gradually finding that as the size of their catch or crop increases, so does their income, health, and the welfare of their families and communities. And the natural beauty of Latin America’s coastlines and forests is protected and nurtured along with its inhabitants.

We hope you will enjoy learning about our efforts in Latin America and the Caribbean and that you will share the stories you find in these pages with your colleagues and friends.

The Water Office

Last updated: September 20, 2013

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