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IWC7 2013

by Christian Ledermann last modified Feb 19, 2014 09:18 PM

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The GEF and the GEF International Waters Focal Area

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) (www.thegef.org) unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues. An independent financial organization, the GEF provides grants to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. These projects benefit the global environment, linking local, national, and global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable livelihoods.

The GEF International Waters (IW) focal area targets transboundary water systems, such as shared river basins, lakes, groundwater and large marine ecosystems. The IW portfolio comprises 242 projects to date and some US$1.4 billion of GEF grants invested in 149 different countries. This investment has leveraged approximately US$8.4 billion in co-financing. Since the inception of the GEF in 1991, the IW portfolio has delivered substantive results and replicable experiences to be scaled up and mainstreamed globally.

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The IWC7's Objectives and Theme

Bathsheba Rock 2The GEF IW Conference objectives are to facilitate cross-sectoral and portfolio-wide learning and experience sharing. It strives to solicit advice from the existing GEF IW portfolio on burning issues, and to assist in building participant capacity in key management and technical areas. Participants sum up progress achieved and also look to the future of programming within and beyond the GEF IW focal area.

Recommendations from the 2012 GEF IW Science Conference pointed to the unique opportunity to use the TDA/SAP process as a vehicle to bridge the science-policy gap through the use of scientific panels, science-policy fora, and dissemination of state-of-the-art methods and tools. One major set of methods and tools highlighted was the use of economic valuation of direct and indirect-use values of ecosystems. IWC7, under the theme, Economic Valuation as a Tool to Bridge the Science-Policy Gap, saw special emphasis on reviewing the economic valuation of international waters and the links between economic valuation and science, as well as mechanisms for linking both to policymaking.

The IWC7 convened 208 participants, including GEF IW project managers, representatives of beneficiary countries, non-governmental organizations, transboundary management institutions, UN Agencies, and the private sector. Participants were invited by the GEF Agencies implementing IW projects.

IWC7 Main Page Photo 2

As a Small Island Developing State, Barbados was selected to host IWC7 in part to highlight the threats posed to SIDS’ water security on account of rising sea levels and saline intrusion of coastal aquifers, rainfall variability and reduced catchment recharge, and increased frequency of natural disasters. Conference participants took part in one of three technical site visit tours around the island that showcased Barbados’ water management approaches to land-use planning, coastal risk reduction and groundwater protection.

A conference targeted workshop aimed to determine how best to incorporate economic valuation into future GEF IW project implementation, such as how to include methodologies in the formulation of a transboundary diagnostic analysis and how to better translate scientific findings into policy development. Results from small table dialogues among participants indicate that economic valuation is a useful tool that can support improved decision making and guide institutional framework development; influence allocation of financial resources and investments; raise awareness of various impacts in shared water systems; and ultimately lead to better governance of transboundary waters.

Photo 1 IWC7

The IWC7 featured an innovation marketplace (exhibit area), opportunities for focused learning on scientific and technical innovations, interactive training for IW project managers and country representatives, and interaction with the GEF Secretariat, GEF agencies and several partner institutions working on International Waters projects. The IWC7 also featured participant-directed workshops and roundtable discussions.

Important Dates

Registration Opened31 July 2013
Finalization of Visa Arrangements 11 Oct. 2013
Closure of Registration 16 Oct. 2013
Targeted Workshop for GEF IW Project Managers and Agencies 26-27 Oct. 2013
IWC7 28-31 Oct. 2013
Technical Site Visits 29 Oct. 2013
Roundtable 30 Oct. 2013
Gala Event 30 Oct. 2013
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