The Inter-American Development Bank recently approved a 20-year, $11 million loan to the government of Costa Rica to support a sustainable development program in the Sixaola River Watershed, which spans the border between Costa Rica and Panama.
The project will complement a similar initiative on the Panamanian side of the watershed, in the province of Bocas del Toro, according to an IDB press statement.
Both projects are part of a cooperative regional integration plan supported by the two countries, as well as Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua, the statement says. The Costa Rican project aims in part to raise living standards in Talamanca, one of the country's poorest areas.
The IDB loan "will be used to finance actions to strengthen environmental protection and ensure the sustainable use of the watershed's natural resources; reduce its vulnerability to natural disasters; diversify rural production; invest in basic infrastructure and increase the management capacity of indigenous communities and institutions at the local, regional, and binational levels," according to the statement.
Project components include water quality control and conservation, reforestation and flood control, implementation of sustainable agricultural practices, and construction of drinking water and wastewater systems, as well as other needed infrastructure.