Institutional Aspects of Integrated Flood Management in Guatemala

University dissertation from Uppsala : Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis

Abstract: Floods are a recurrent natural disaster in Guatemala. Heavy and prolonged rainfall often results in floods that affect people’s life and property. Several institutions and policy instruments at local, national or transnational level address flood management.The purpose of this study is to provide useful insights of the institutional aspects of integrated flood management at local, national and transboundary level in Guatemala. Papers I and II, explore institutions at local level, paper III at national level, while paper IV addresses flood management institutions at transboundary level.This research found that for the local and national level, there are several institutions concerned with flood management. In contrast, at transboundary level, and especially for international rivers, flood management institutions are largely absent.At local level, the Local Councils for Development (COCODEs, the acronym in Spanish) are responsible for flood prevention and preparation. While some municipalities are active in flood prevention, response and recovery activities, their limited economic and technical resources restrict their scope of action.  Local stakeholders such as COCODEs, farmers groups and other actors are largely neglected in the decision making process. The National Coordinator for Risk Reduction to Disasters (CONRED, Coordinadora Nacional para Reducción de Desastres), the Secretariat for Planning and Programming of the Presidency (SEGEPLAN, Secretaría de Planificación y Programación de la Presidencia), the Guatemalan Ministry of Infrastructure and other national institutions are in charge of planning and implementing flood management strategies, leaving public involvement of local actors mainly to public consultation. At the Central American level, the Coordination Centre for Natural Disasters Prevention in Central America (CEPREDENAC, Centro de Coordinación para la Prevención de Desastres Naturales en América Central), an institution part of the Central American Integration System (SICA by Spanish acronym), shall promote transboundary cooperation regarding disaster management, including flood management. However, transboundary flood management faces several challenges: territorial disputes and sovereignty issues over international rivers are significant obstacles to the implementation of integrated flood management programs.