International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

IWC10 - 2023

To be announced
The Tenth GEF Biennial International Waters Conference is hoped to take place in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2021. An exact date will only be determined pending the mitigation of the COVID19 pandemic.

The GEF and the GEF IW Focal Area

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 member countries—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, land degradation, the ozone layer, persistent organic pollutants, and international waters. 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 cumulative 27-year GEF IW portfolio consists of 359 projects with about US$1.9 billion of GEF grants and $12.6 billion in co-finance invested in more than 170 GEF recipient countries. 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. 

Focusing on transboundary freshwater, the GEF, together with its implementing and executing partners, has financed projects related to 47 rivers, 13 aquifers, and 15 lakes. These investments totaled $735 million USD in grant financing, leveraging $3.9 billion USD in co-financing. For the marine portfolio, a total of US$1.14 billion in project grants to transboundary, marine projects, and approximately US$7.7 billion from other funders, has been allocated towards Ocean sustainability since the GEF's inception in 1991. 

GEF Biennial IW Conferences

The GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC) is the signature event of the GEF IW Portfolio. The IWC objectives are to facilitate cross-sectoral and GEF IW Portfolio-wide learning and experience sharing. They strive 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 look to the future of programming within and beyond the GEF IW Focal Area. The nine previous conferences were held in Morocco, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Croatia, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, China, and Hungary.

IWC10 will convene about 300 participants—comprising GEF IW project managers, representatives of beneficiary countries, non-governmental organizations, transboundary management institutions, UN Agencies and the private sector—in Uruguay in 2021. Collectively, the participants will represent 84 active GEF IW projects, 80 countries and the various GEF Agencies.

For more information on the nine previous IWC's, please visit

Important Dates

Registration Opens To be announced
Closure of Registration To be announced
Pre-Conference Workshops To be announced
IWC10 To be announced
Technical Site Visits To be announced
Gala Event To be announced

As more information on IWC10 become available, including the exact date and location, updates will be made to this page. Please visit regularly to stay informed.

Special Note to GEF International Waters Projects

More information on project contributions (posters or booths, films, experience notes, results notes) will be circulated at a later date with detailed guidelines on how to prepare these. Please ensure that your project's attendence to IWC10 is put in your workplans for quarter 4 (Q4) of 2021.