Fellow Since 2001
This profile was prepared when Gustavo Adolfo Adolfo Candia Irigoitia was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2001.
The New Idea
The Paraná River divides a ten million hectare wetlands ecosystem bordering the Ypoa Lake in Paraguay and the Ybarra Lake in Argentina. Gustavo is protecting the ecosystem by mobilizing citizen sector organizations in both countries through a joint stewardship policy. Wetlands are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, providing flood control, carbon storage, water purification, and goods such as fish, timber, and fiber. Gustavo's understanding of the relationship between the wetlands ecosystem and the people who depend on it has enabled him to develop an environmental protection strategy that balances conservation and sustainable use. He involves citizens on both sides of the river in a broad participatory process that stimulates the adoption of best practices and strengthens understanding of their roles in the effort to forge national and bilateral preservation agreements.