Lake Chapala’s future well-being will depend upon resolving a host of issues that, according to experts, include 14 out of the 19 major problems identified in lakes around the world.
Finding common ground and developing a universal vision among government officials, scientists and stakeholders was one of the significant conclusions expressed during the “International Symposium and Public Forum Lerma-Chapala Basin: Solutions for a Territory in Crisis” held March 22 through 24 in Jalisco’s capital.
The confab was jointly organized by Instituto Corazon de la Tierra (ICT) and ITESO Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara, with the latter providing the venue for discussions among 53 experts from Brazil, Colombia, the Philippines, Guatemala, Japan, Germany and Mexico, alongside local academics, specialists, students, representatives from civil organizations and farmers from the lakeshore region. The aim was to establish groundwork for a Lake Chapala restoration action plan to be implemented by decision-makers and sectors involved in management.
Via video conference, keynote speaker Masahisa Nakamura, executive director of the International Lake Environment Committee Foundation (ILEC), emphasized that problems of lakes must be addressed from a governance perspective, focusing on information, public policies, social participation, institutional strength, financing mechanisms and technology. He gave the example of rescuing Lake Biwa, Japan’s mother lake, through cooperative efforts between government authorities, lake environment experts and ordinary citizens.