A dynamic tool for integrated land use and water management

Fondo Mexicano para la Conservación de la Nauraleza, A.C.
Published: 26 March 2021
Last edited: 26 March 2021
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An integrated, dynamic and operative land use and water management planning tool has been created through an inter-institutional alliance for the design, development and implementation of “Integrated River Basin Management Action Plans” (PAMIC, using the Spanish acronym). Its vision is innovative, using water as a conductive element energizing the different management units in the basin. The modelling of hydrological services (i.e. surface water and sedimentation retention potential) permits the identification of demand and supply zones, connecting them through the collaboration of the river basin stakeholders. In addition, a permanent funding scheme has been created and implemented to ensure the continuation of the project´s actions through the subsequent government administrations.


North America
Scale of implementation
Connective infrastructure, networks and corridors
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
Marine and coastal ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
River, stream
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Urban ecosystem and build environment
Wetland (swamp, marsh, peatland)
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Local actors
Protected and conserved areas governance
Sustainable financing
Terrestrial spatial planning
Water provision and management
Watershed management
Other theme
Fisheries and aquaculture
Forest Management
Erratic rainfall
Land and Forest degradation
Shift of seasons
Tsunami/tidal wave
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Infrastructure development
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Poor governance and participation
Sustainable development goals
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 3: Incentives reformed
Target 6: Sustainable management of aquatic living resources
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 11: Protected and conserved areas
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Sendai Framework
Target 2: Reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030
Target 5: Increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020
Target 7: Increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information and assessments to the people by 2030


Cuencas del Golfo de México, México. | River basins in the Gulf of Mexico, and the Gulf of California, Mexico


  • Given the inevitable changes in the government´s policy and administration, which take place after each 6-year presidential election, it is fundamental to find ways to ensure that the planning instrument, PAMIC, can trascend such cycles and continue to be implemented by the following government at various levels.
  • Being able to maintain the support and operation of the planning instrument, PAMIC, via Civil Society Organizations, as well as the different levels of government in order to ensure that PAMIC is safeguarded and used to support decision making under different scenarios in more regions of Mexico.
  • To find sufficient resources to increase the number of river basins that can benefit from the implementation of a PAMIC.


  • Authorities have a planning instrument that promotes sustainable management and the organization of producers within river basins;
  • Local communities have received technical, financial and organizational support for improving productive practices.

How do the building blocks interact?

At the centre of PAMIC is water - water is the conductive element that brings together the different actors. Building Block II "Creating a shared vision of land management through water" makes these connections by matching demand for hydrological services from land use managers with supply of such services from the river basin. This building block in turn provides the incentive for Building Block III "Key elements for the conservation of ecosystems are also anthropic". It aims to create an understanding among stakeholders that sustainable ecosystems need sustainable communities that live off of them, and thus will take care of them. Supporting both these blocks from the ground up is Building Block IV "Support from local institutions and grassroot organizations", which coordinates the vital support of local Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the long-term mentoring of local communities. Finally, top down support is provided by Building Block I "Inter-institutional governance at different levels", which provides the institutional support framework in which the whole solution can function.


  • The inter-institutional coordination between the key environment sector government entities and national and international NGOs, as well as community groups, has strengthened the pathways of inter-institutional cooperation. It has created an important precedent for the sustainable management of resources.
  • With PAMIC, the river-basin scale land use and water management planning benefits from a vision of the connectivity between key zones of water supply and sediment retention, and key zones of demand for these services.
  • The conservation of ecosystems alongside the promotion of sustainable production has been key to sustainable community adaptation within the river basin.
  • Permanent funding has been assured for a large number of Protected Natural Areas (ANP, using the Spanish acronym).
  • A coalition of local NGOs has been achieved, creating synergies which have led to resource savings.


Starting with an inter-institutional alliance between government entities in the environment sector (Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático, INECC; Comisión Nacional Forestal, CONAFOR; Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas, CONANP), national and international funding organizations (GEF, Fondo Mexicano de Conservación de la Naturaleza), and a large network of twenty three local organizations and producers, the C6 project has brought to Mexican land use planning a new level of integration and operational management, in the form of “Integrated River Basin Management Action Plans” (PAMIC, using the Spanish acronym). Such plans seek to promote the connectivity between land and people by focusing on actions that permit the maintenance and conservation of key landscape elements that provide hydrological services. In this way, they can stimulate climate change adaptation processes. To achieve this goal, the plans were discussed within the project, whereby water was used as a conductive element to unite the different stakeholders in the river basin. As a result, it was possible to establish criteria and solid scientific foundations for modelling the land-use dynamics. Based on this, PAMIC has the following characteristics: i) a relational focus to identify the dynamics and externalities between sub-basin units; ii) an explicitly spatial approach to identifying what to do and where.; and iii) the identification of the relationship between supply of and demand for hydrological services between sub-basin units (zones).

The modelling of hydrological services (i.e. surface water supply and sediment retention) permitted the identification of zones in each basin that are important for the two types of services. Subsequently, these zones were coupled with information and perceptions from the basin stakeholders on the levels of production in the zones, their institutional norms, and socio-economic processes. This generated a shared vision of the basin and from here, a collective reflection on what should be done, how and by whom. These questions were the beginning of a process to create proposals for priority activities to maintain hydrological services, forests and production zones.

An innovative element has been the search for funding  mechanisms that can assure a permanent economic resourcing of projects in the medium to long term. Currently, there are eight river basins that have a PAMIC, and five more that are in the process of developing one.

Contributed by

CONANP's picture

CONANP Mexico National Commission of Natural Protected Areas

Other contributors

Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático
Fondo del Golfo