May 26, 2022
Conference title: Webinar on the conservation of the environment of Lake Managua and activity report of BIWAKO TF, Nicaragua
Date: May 25th, 2022, 18:30-20:00 (Nicaragua time); May 26th, 2022, 09:30-11:00 (Japan time)
Organizers: BIWAKO Task Force, JICA Nicaragua
・ Staff of Shiga Prefectural Board of Education, Primary and Secondary Education Division (3 people).
・ Officers of Lake Biwa Floating School, Shiga Prefecture (7 people).
・ International Lake Environment Committee (ILEC) (5 people)
・ Officials from JICA: Latin America Department, Global Environment Department and Kansai Center (12 people).
・ 8 members of the BIWAKO Task Force of JICA Nicaragua.
Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in Central America after Haiti, is adjacent to Lake Managua, which is almost twice the size of Lake Biwa. While Lake Managua is being developed as a tourist resource, water pollution is becoming serious due to the influx of contaminated water, and Nicaragua is unable to take advantage of its rich natural resources.
JICA Nicaragua Office, aware of the issues, studied the situation in the country and abroad, and focused on the experience of Shiga Prefecture in the development, conservation and regeneration of Lake Biwa, which has developed its economy while promoting environmental conservation and regeneration with reference to the Lake Biwa Model that Shiga Prefecture is promoting to the world.
JICA Nicaragua office launched the BIWAKO Task Force (hereinafter, Task Force is described as TF) to address the challenges, among office staff members. From 2021, various activities related to the environmental conservation of Lake Managua in Nicaragua were being implemented one by one, with the collaboration of ILEC, Shiga Board of Education and Floating Schools involved in the environmental conservation of Lake Biwa.
In this webinar, TF presented a report to the Shiga prefectural officers who have cooperated with us, on how the environmental conservation experience in Lake Biwa has been used in the environmental conservation activities of Lake Managua in Nicaragua, and what conservation activities TF is planning for the sustainable use of Lake Managua in the future.
The TF national staff of the JICA Nicaragua office reported on their activities on the following matters.
1. Achievements of BIWAKO TF activities (2021/2022)
2. Details of webinars held (January - April 2021)
a. Webinar for JICA Nicaragua office staff on the International Lake Environment Committee (ILEC's Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM), which is based on the long experience of Lake Biwa.
b. Webinars given by three local experts to deepen the knowledge of Lake Managua and a webinar given by a Japanese expert on the experience of environmental education in other countries.
c. Two webinars on Integrated Lake Basin Management (ILBM) given by ILEC experts for Nicaraguan government officers and a case study webinar on the integrated conservation of Lake Chapala, Mexico, a neighboring country.
3. Conduct a survey to gather basic information for sustainable community development along Lake Managua (with reference to ILEC fact sheets) and present the results to Nicaraguan government officers (July 2021 - February 2022).
4. (Follow-up Cooperation) Report of the activities of the environmental education project for the conservation of the environment of Lake Managua and presentation of environmental education videos (July 2021 - February 2022).
(Follow-up Cooperation) Report on "Nicaraguan version of Uminoko", a scientific experimentation activity within the framework of the Environmental Education Project for the Conservation of Lake Managua.
In the reports on the implementation of each of the activities during the first half of the meeting, the TF members expressed their gratitude to the officers of the Japanese side for their active cooperation and encouragement, as this would not have been possible without the relevant organizations in Shiga Prefecture. In particular, it was reported that the Nicaraguan side received very well the webinar given by ILEC experts for Nicaraguan government officers. In addition, many stakeholders sympathized with the educational content of "Uminoko" of the Lake Biwa Floating School conducted by the Shiga Prefectural Board of Education, resulting in high motivation to implement a Nicaraguan version of the Uminoko. It was reported that this led to a high willingness to implement the Nicaraguan version of UMINOKO.
In the second half of the meeting, Mr. Hasegawa, JICA Global Environment Department Specialist explained the environmental degradation factors and characteristics of Lake Managua and the surrounding environment as well as the needs based on his field visit in March 2022. In addition, TF members presented proposals for future activities for the conservation of Lake Managua (group/third country trainings, dispatch of environmental education volunteers, individual expert, technical cooperation project, etc.).
A participant from the Shiga Prefectural Board of Education asked about the specific challenges that UMINOKO faces in order to carry out its activities. TF members shared the idea that environmental education should not be done just once, but should continue into the future; however, the current challenges are the lack of budget and organization.
One floating school participant commented that he was "surprised that Uminoko was implemented in Nicaragua so soon after its introduction. I have introduced it to several municipalities in Japan, but I have not heard that they have actually implemented it. We would like to continue our cooperation with Nicaragua in the future." The message was sent to the participants. Mr. Ichiki, ILEC Technical Advisor, also advised, "the management of Lake Managua will take many years, so it is necessary to involve lake user groups, such as fishermen's associations, for example, to preserve the environment of Lake Managua.".
Finally, Mr. Takasago, Director of JICA Nicaragua Office, said, "We started our Lake Managua initiative groping for, but thanks to the warm cooperation of everyone involved in Lake Biwa in Japan, we have been able to carry out various activities. We would like to continue connecting Japan and Nicaragua, knowing the challenges and possibilities, and considering what JICA can and should do. The lake is a heritage for the people who live here. In particular, I would like to think about the young generation and the children who will live with the lake in the future, and I would like to involve them in our efforts. I would like to ask for everyone's continued cooperation in the conservation activities for the sustainable utilization of Lake Managua."
Experiment of water pollution recovery by the Uminoko Floating School.
BIWAKO TF members at Nicaragua office listening to questions and comments from participants.
Group photo of the participants