A grassroot initiative to strengthen the sustainable management of natural resources and their ecosystem services

Coalición Cobija
Published: 21 October 2019
Last edited: 22 June 2021
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The Coalition of Organizations of the Jamapa-Antigua Bioregion  (COBIJA from its Spanish acronym) is an initiative of seven grassroots organizations holding, altogether, great experience in community work and sustainable management of natural resources. The work carried out by COBIJA has a watershed approach based on a regional initiative for integrated land use management (https://panorama.solutions/en/solution/dynamic-tool-integrated-land-use-and-water-management), through which they support local ways of life, and conservation of resources. The permanent presence and support of COBIJA to the various communities of the region has strengthened their social and productive processes, increasing their ability to better use ecosystem services to adapt in the face of environmental and social changes.


North America
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Freshwater ecosystems
River, stream
Temperate deciduous forest
Tropical deciduous forest
Tropical evergreen forest
Access and benefit sharing
Ecosystem services
Food security
Forest Management
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Local actors
Outreach & communications
Sustainable livelihoods
Traditional knowledge
Erratic rainfall
Extreme heat
Increasing temperatures
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Shift of seasons
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Ecosystem loss
Invasive species
Inefficient management of financial resources
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Physical resource extraction
Changes in socio-cultural context
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Lack of infrastructure
Poor governance and participation
Lack of food security
Sustainable development goals
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
SDG 6 – Clean water and sanitation
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 17: Biodiversity strategies and action plans
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
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
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with associations
Indirect through government


Estado de Veracruz, Mexico


Among the main challenges are, 1) the sustainability of both COBIJA and the CSOs; for this, they must 2) develop collective proposals with community groups for integral management, including production, sales, distribution, and services; 3) create joint marketing strategies at COBIJA level; 4) find more permanent funding sources; and finally, 5) develop strategies to prioritize participation in certain processes over others in order to not be worn out as an organization.


Local producers of coffee and honey, along with practitioners and facilitators, have received technical, organizational, and financial support to improve their productive practices, and to make better use of ecosystem services.




How do the building blocks interact?

Building Block 1 works as a scenario, at the landscape level, for the COBIJA Coalition to focus its efforts for the achievement of common goals on a common region and, thereby, to develop further the actions that have been carried out individually, by every grassroots organization with the local communities. Building Block 2 enters here by highligting the relevance of involving people´s views and concerns in the planning and implementation activities, while providing training and development of capacities to improve the sustainability of the local productive activities, mainly coffee and honey. Building Block 3 strengthens the whole process by ensuring that the internal goverance of COBIJA is based on camaradery, understanding and trust.


  • The COBIJA Coalition allows local organizations to save time, as well as human and financial resources by working together in the region of the Jamapa-Antigua basin;
  • COBIJA's support in the conservation of ecosystems and in the promotion of sustainable productive practices has improved local conditions for the adaptation of communities at the watershed level;
  • Local and federal government entities now count on a powerful interlocutor that facilitates processes, and brings the reality of rural communities closer to the reality of public policies.


Coalición Cobija

The Coalition of Organizations in the Bioregion Jamapa-Antigua (COBIJA for its acronym in Spanish) is an initiative formed by seven grassroots organizations (INANA, A.C., VIDA A.C., SENDAS A.C., Conecta Tierra A.C., ERA A.C., CORECAFECO A.C., Global Water Watch México) with extensive experience in community work and sustainable management of natural resources in the area of the Jamapa and Antigua watershed in the state of Veracruz . While all of them have decades of experience working with communities in the region, by joining in a coalition, these organizations have strengthened their own internal processes, reducing costs and operating times. Furthermore, they have found new friends and colleagues with whom they can work to solve common problems for a common cause: improving the well-being of communities along with the sustainability and adaptability of the local ways of life and ecosystems.

The trigger of the coalition was the joint struggle to attack a coffee rust problem (Hemileia vastatrix), a disease that can have catastrophic effects in coffee growing areas, including those from the Jamapa and Antigua watersheds.  Through an integrated agroecological management, the disease could be controlled. The work from the people and for the people helped to maintain the coffee production  and associated ecosystem services. This first example illustrates the potential of the coalition as a actor that can provide continuous support for adaptation in managing productive practices to conserve ecosystems and livelihoods.

COBIJA's work strategy with the communities has a watershed approach, combining territorial management, supporting  local ways of life, and the conservation of resources and ecosystem services. Among their actions are, i) the organization of participatory workshops to build a management plan for the land use and land cover using the framework of the Comprehensive Watershed Management Plans (https://panorama.solutions/en/solution/dynamic-tool-integrated-land-use-and-water-management); ii) the running of learning communities about meliponiculture (a specific form of beekeeping) and coffee practices iii) the organization of barter markets, etc. COBIJA's permanent support has strengthened social and productive processes within local communities, increasing their adaptive capacity in the face of environmental and social changes.

Contributed by

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CONANP Mexico National Commission of Natural Protected Areas

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Coalición COBIJA