Courtesy of Eileen Collard


amigos-del-lagoLake Chapala was accepted as a member of the international Living Lakes organization in 2003 in recognition of its importance to Mexico and its endangered status. The Living Lakes network is a global partnership of environmental organisations striving for the protection of lakes and wetlands worldwide and was launched by Global Nature Fund in 1998.

Now, 11 years later, the network consists of 55 partner lakes represented by more than 80 member organizations from all over the world. All partners subscribe toa common vision of managing lakes in a sustainable way.

Last February, Lake Chapala was declared an Internationally Important Wetland by the Ramsar Convention and joined a large network of such “Ramsar sites” around the world and more than 100 such Ramsar sites in Mexico. This status was granted after submission of a detailed application on the part of the Mexican government, with the support of environmental activists in this region. The designation means a commitment that the Ramsar Convention and the Mexican government work together to manage and preserve Lake Chapala in the future.

The conference is the 13th International Living Lakes Conference, titled “Lake Management--Challenges in a Changing World.” Public sessions will be held in Guadalajara on March 22 and 23 and will be in English. There will be an admission charge for those sessions, including plenary and round-table discussions on topics related to the economics, ecology, and social dimensions of lake management. (For the complete program, see

The objective of theconference  is to exchange experiences regarding the elaboration and implementation of lake management plans and to work toward developing a Ramsar management plan for Lake Chapala. Conference participants will include regional, national and international community leaders involved with managing lakes and wetlands. 150 participants from more than 50 countries are expected to attend. Also in attendance will be media representatives from around the world who will observe, learn and report on the steps Mexico is taking to preserve the natural legacy of Lake Chapala now and for future generations.

Our local Amigos del Lago de Chapala organization is hosting the conference. Planning has been under way for many months. We hope that many local people will participate in the preparations, hosting, and the conference activities themselves. For more information, call KARUNA (766-2610).

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