GEF International Waters (IW): Key Portfolio Documents, Policies and Programmes
International Waters Focal Area Objectives for GEF-5
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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 to date 170 projects and consists of some US$1.2 billion of GEF grants invested in 149 different countries globally. This investment has leveraged approximately US$5 billion in co-financing. By all accounts and evaluations, 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. Some of the issues addressed are:
- transboundary water pollution
- over-extraction of groundwater resources
- unsustainable exploitation of fisheries
- protection of fisheries habitats
- invasive species
- balancing competing uses of water resources
Because water does not respect national boundaries, multicountry actions are necessary to foster sustainable development of these large systems which cover most of the earth. The GEF helps countries to collaborate with their neighbors to modify human activities that place stress on these transboundary water systems and interfere with downstream uses of those resources. In this way, water use conflicts can be prevented, security improved, and sustainable resource use fostered in support of global goals.
- Behind the Numbers
- 19 Years of Achievement and Counting
- GEF International Waters Factsheet
- Ridge to Reef
- International Waters Programme Study 2005
- International Waters Programme Study 2002
Monitoring and Evaluation
- M&E Working Paper 10: Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators for GEF International Waters Projects(2002)
The GEF IW Tracking Tool
The GEF International Waters (IW) Tracking Tool (TT) is designed to support GEF’s approach to Results-Based Management. The TT provides reporting of outcomes at the level of strategic programs (SP 1 - SP 4) and the IW portfolio level as well as for targets associated with each GEF Replenishment Cycle (i.e. 3,4,5). The TT allows GEF Agencies and the Secretariat to monitor and aggregate individual project results on yearly basis in order to characterize program results quantitatively. The GEF IW TT does not replace the existing annual PIR/AMR project performance reviews, which agencies conduct with their own review forms, but provides an additional, global quantitative picture for results achieved by the GEF-4 IW portfolio.
The GEF IW TT includes all indicators in the GEF IW Focal Area Strategy. These indicators represent the normal three types of IW indicators used in this Focal Area: process, stress reduction, and environmental/water resources and socioeconomic status indicators. The process indicators are the same for all Strategic Programs. The stress reduction indicators are divided into two larger groups (national/local reforms and demonstrations/investments).
Previous versions of the tracking tool and instructions - no longer in use
More about GEF IW
International Waters in the GEF Operational Strategy
GEF international waters projects help countries to deal with concerns in all types of transboundary water systems, ranging from river basins, lake basins, and groundwater systems, to coasts and large marine ecosystems where most fisheries are harvested, to the open ocean.
The focal area supports projects that help countries:
- Learn to work together on their key transboundary concerns
- Set priorities for joint action
- Implement those actions if a political commitment to sustainability is shown
The GEF plays a catalytic role in helping nations making full use of policy, legal, and institutional reforms and investments necessary to address these complex concerns about transboundary water resources.
International Waters and International Conventions
Although GEF’s international waters focal area does not serve as a financial mechanism for a specific convention, it is associated with many global and regional conventions that are involved with transboundary water systems, mostly at a regional level. GEF interventions are often associated with adopting regional conventions as a show of the government’s commitment to sustainability after the GEF project ends. For example, the Convention on the Sustainable Management of Lake Tanganyika and the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention have resulted from GEF international waters projects.
Learning among International Waters Projects
To stimulate and facilitate exchange of experiences and lessons learned among different international waters projects, GEF initiated a specific project — IW:LEARN. The project organizes staff exchanges between projects that face similar challenges (e.g., large marine ecosystem projects), forums to stimulate collaboration between international waters projects in a particular region (e.g., the Caribbean), and structured learning events on particular themes. To further increase the South-to-South exchange of experiences, an international waters conference is organized every two years to bring together country representatives from all GEF international waters projects.