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In 2014, Cultivando Agua Boa becomes an international program
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The Cultivando Agua Boa (Cultivating Good Water) program, or CAB, led by Itaipu with the participation of hundreds of partners from Western Paraná, became internationalized in 2014. In addition to adopting the CAB methodology in twelve watersheds spread through Latin America, there are two others in Spain, and a growing interest by the program for international organizations and governments. Several of them are represented at the annual CAB meeting, which was held last November in Foz do Iguaçu.

For Josefina Maestu, director of the United Nations Water Decade program of the United Nations (UN), the CAB calls attention to the "very strong level of commitment" of all stakeholders. "It is the UN’s responsibility to observe the good public policy and good practices to provide these experiences for all member states. And we are recommending the experience of Itaipu with the CAB to the governments that seek our help," he said.

The European Parliament is also interested in the CAB. Deputy Inés Ayala, who participated on Tuesday (18th) of the Water Security Seminars in Foz, announced that he will present the program in the review of the Water Quality Directive (a set of goals and parameters for the countries of the European Union for the management of water resources), in 2015.

"We had a Policy for the 2010-15 period, which will now undergo a review. I believe there are many things we can learn from these 11 years of the Good Water, especially regarding the methodology to increase the participation and empowerment of the community. Another important aspect is the management of watersheds and the way are defined the roles of actors in recovery projects. In Europe, we have a management for basins, but the roles are not very clear, including in the application of resources," he said.

Some concrete experiences of the replication of the CAB methodology are in the same context of the Plata Basin. As explained by the general secretary of the Intergovernmental Coordinating Committee of the La Plata Basin Countries (CIC), the Uruguayan José Luis Genta, CIC, who had lost his political role after the formation of Mercosur, changed his vocation to support the sustainable development of the region and for the implementation of the Marco program (of water resources management, with the support of UNEP).

"In this context, the CAB program emerged as an element with great potential of integration of the Silver basin countries. Today, we already have similar programs in two other binationals of the basin (Yacyretá and Salto Grande) and other pilot projects with the CAB methodology are being implemented in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Now we want to expand these projects," said Genta, noting that 60% of the South American territory belongs to the three great basins of the continent (the Amazon, Orinoco and Silver), hence the importance of environmental management of these territories. In total, six watersheds are being worked by Yacyretá and Salto Grande.

Another concrete experience of cooperation is in Spain, more precisely in the Basque Country, where is located the European Green Capital, Vitoria-Gasteiz. The city already has a program similar to the CAB, but addressed to the management of urban space. Now, the idea is to restore the watershed of the Zadorra river, a tributary of the Ebro, which bathes the city.

According to Iñigo Bilbao, International Relations Director of the City Hall of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the CAB methodology will be applied in various initiatives, such as the recovery of the banks of Zadorra, for the promotion of agro-ecology and cultivation of medicinal plants, always playing the same governance criteria in partnership with local communities, the main characteristic of the Itaipu program.

"Our medicinal plants are being threatened. We are creating a germplasm bank next to the botanical garden, in order to preserve them. We believe that with a program such as the CAB, to incorporate phytotherapics to the health system, we can strengthen this," said Bilbao.

In 2013, the CAB became a Brazilian government's cooperation policy, supported by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC) and the National Water Agency (ANA). At the time, an agreement was signed to replicate the CAB methodology along with eight Latin American countries.

The partnership with Vitoria-Gasteiz is given in this context, and the pilot projects are already under implementation in Guatemala and the Dominican Republic, as a result of this agreement. In addition to the mentioned countries, representative of Nicaragua, Chile, Costa Rica and France also participate in the CAB 2014 meeting.

Another experience of the CAB that will start soon in Spain is on the outskirts of Madrid. The deputy counsel of Environment of the city hall of the Spanish capital, Enrique Ruiz, explained that, like Vitoria-Gasteiz, the local government wants to replicate the Itaipu program in rural areas, complementing the water management that is performed in the urban context.

 “We want to give more sustainability to agriculture and livestock that is practiced in the vicinity of Madrid," said Ruiz. "I believe that the main value of the CAB is to bring people together for the issue of water and territory".

In Guatemala, the CAB is being implemented – identification of actors and awareness - in three watersheds related to the El Porvenir hydroelectric projects, of the National Electrification Institute (Inde), and Renace 4, of the Multi Inversiones consortium, as well as the El Escobal mine, of the San Rafael mining company.

"We understand that the CAB offers an answer to the social demands of the communities surrounding these projects, in addition to having a dialogue model with these communities. And also contributes to the preservation of water, enables hydroelectricity and increases the level of knowledge about hydropower projects," said Carmen Yolanda Magzul López, of the Vice-Ministry of Sustainable Development in Guatemala.

In the Dominican Republic are three other watersheds (Rio Grande, Arrio Gurabo and Rio Maimón), all close to mining companies. In last October, were held the Future Workshops (method of diagnosis of problems and planning of actions, located in Paulo Freire).

"The CAB is a social engineering tool that integrates communities to the environment. In addition, it is also a tool that allows shaping the management committee with the direct participation of the most vulnerable, along with the public and private sector," says the adviser of the Ministry of Energy and Mines and director of CAB Guatemala, Yossi Abadi.