River Restoration for Climate Change Adaptation

The Project

River Restoration for Climate Change Adaptation (RÍOS) seeks to increase the adaptive capacity of people and ecosystems in watersheds vulnerable to climate change through river restoration.


RÍOS is the first project submitted by Mexico to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). It is financially supported by a GCF grant and complementary funding from the CONECTA project, financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The five-year project (2021-2026) is being implemented by FMCN, with technical leadership from the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC, acronym in Spanish) and two regional funds as executing entities: Gulf of Mexico Fund (Fondo Golfo de México) in Veracruz; FONNOR (Northwestern and western Fund) in Jalisco.

FMCN is the first National Accredited Agency in Mexico by the GCF. In November 2019, we developed the first concept note for the project, which was approved by GCF, and in 2020, we developed the full proposal in partnership with INECC and the two regional funds. The proposal received the No Objection from the Government of Mexico (through the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit) in October 2020 and was approved by the GCF Board in March 2021. The project received the declaration of effectiveness in August 2021 and the first deposit in October 2021.

The lines of work (components) that guide RÍOS’s actions are:

  1. Increase forest and water connectivity with a vision of adaptation to climate change through restoration, conservation, and better productive practices. This component strengthens the capacities of local communities along the Ameca-Mascota watersheds in Jalisco and Jamapa in Veracruz to carry out activities that promote ecosystem-based adaptation through functional river connectivity. To this end, during the calls, areas vulnerable to climate change were prioritized for support. Currently, this component is implemented through 13 subprojects financed with GCF resources and executed by selected local organizations. These organizations work with producers to increase capacities in rehabilitating and restoring forests along rivers, protecting and conserving forests, and adapting productive activities that promote connectivity for restoration (agroforestry and sustainable livestock management). These subprojects comprise a portfolio of four types of schemes, depending on the nature and objective of the activity: grants through requests for proposals, payment for performance (PPD), public-private payment for environmental services (PSA), and enterprise development and access to credits. RÍOS-funded subprojects monitor the impacts associated with their activities through community monitoring of biodiversity, soils, and/or water. In addition to the above, the subprojects have also been trained to use community methodologies and evaluate climate vulnerability at the local level with the aim that the information will be used for their territory planning. The project contemplates a “learning community” to exchange local experiences among beneficiaries and collaborate with national and regional actors to coordinate activities and achieve connectivity in the watersheds. In this component, planning instruments are also being designed, the Integrated Watershed Action Plans (IWAP) for Jamapa and Ameca-Mascota, and a Participatory Local Ecological Planning Program (POELP) for the municipality of Puerto Vallarta.
  2. Aligning public and private investments through natural capital valuation to scale river restoration for climate change adaptation. The project implements coordination activities to align public and private contributions to scale up best practices. This is achieved through the alignment of local and national public programs related to restoration and adaptation, linking national opportunities with local needs. The project also contributes to an environment that enables access to dedicated lines of credit for sustainable and climate-resilient productive practices in livestock and agroforestry systems through enhancement and development.
  3. Design the guidelines of the National River Restoration Strategy (ENRR, acronym in Spanish) for climate change adaptation. Under the leadership of INECC and in collaboration with the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (AGRICULTURA), the Ministry of Welfare, the National Commission of Water (CONAGUA), the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA), National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), the National Commission for Protected Areas (CONANP), this component promotes the design of the bases to create an ENRR that strengthens adaptation to climate change. To this end, a Design Committee has been formed, which has guided a proposal that includes: 1) definition of objectives, scope, and guidelines; 2) lessons learned from other similar initiatives; 3) interviews and identification of key actors. In addition to the above, training has begun for public officials on the importance of river restoration and management. In the following months, the ENRR will be generated and promoted with legislators and public officials.