The Panama Canal has new planning instruments to strengthen the management of the Panama Canal Watershed, following the presentation and delivery of the Sustainable Development and Decarbonization Strategy (SDDS) and the Indicative Environmental Land Use Plan (PIOTA) of the Panama Canal Watershed (PCWB).
Both documents were developed through non-reimbursable technical cooperation from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and, in the case of the PIOTA, provides guidelines to ensure compliance with the sustainable management of the CHCP, through integrated territorial management with a regional vision for the short, medium and long term, in the face of present and future challenges.
“The preparation of the SDDS and the PIOTA is an important step in fulfilling the socio-environmental commitment to sustainable management in the PCWB. In that sense, it has been very significant for the IDB Group to support this initiative through non-reimbursable technical cooperation, with a view to achieving integrated management of the territory, improving existing socioeconomic conditions and placing a special focus on resilience to climate change and disasters, as well as the protection of ecosystems and the preservation of protected areas,” said Rocio Medina-Bolivar, IDB Group representative in Panama.
For his part, Panama Canal Administrator, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales, highlighted the importance of having the support of international organizations such as the IDB, to finance sustainable activities for the benefit of those who live in the watershed.
In addition, the Administrator stressed the importance of a sustainable development plan that considers the people who live and depend on the watershed. Therefore, in close collaboration with the Ministry of the Environment (MiAMBIENTE) and all the stakeholders in the territory, development programs are promoted that take into account the realities of the regions where they are implemented.
Similarly, he reiterated the goal that the waterway has set to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. “The issue is so important that it will be one of the elements on which the Panama Canal, in the future, will establish its toll structure,” added the Administrator, emphasizing that those vessels whose operation generates greater environmental impact and carbon emissions, will have to pay higher costs than those that operate in a more environmentally friendly manner.
As part of the initiative developed with the IDB, four products were prepared: a comprehensive diagnosis of the PCWB; an analysis of trends and scenarios for the availability of water resources; the Strategy for Sustainable Development and Decarbonization of the Watershed “Green Route 2050”; and the Indicative Environmental Land Use Plan.
These advances were achieved through a participatory process that lasted almost two years and integrated a broad group of institutional actors, the productive sector, advisory councils, committees and local authorities, municipalities and NGOs, among others, through different phases, workshops and exchange sessions for the production of the different products, highlighting the technical-scientific strength and broad consultation with which the objective was achieved.
The presentation ceremony of the PIOTA and the SDDS took place this week, with the participation of the Administrator and Deputy Administrator of the Panama Canal, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales and Ilya de Marotta, respectively; the Minister of Environment, Milciades Concepción; the Minister of Commerce and Industries (in charge), Omar Montilla; the Vice Minister of Housing and Land Management, José Batista; as well as representatives of the communities of the watershed, institutions and other organizations.