International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Propelling Science for Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) in Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) in partnership with the Ocean Decade

11 April 2024 8:30-9:45, Barcelona, Spain
Ocean Decade Conference - Satellite Event

  • Date: 11 April 2024 at 8:30 - 9:45 am
  • Venue: Main Conference venue (CCIB)
  • Co-conveners: IW:LEARN, GEF, UNDP


Event description

The Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) is a well-defined and accepted concept, delineating a biogeographic framework composed of 66 areas for promoting sustainable ecosystem-based management (EBM) of the world’s oceans and coasts. Since the adoption of the LME concept by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under the focal area of International Waters (IW) in 1995, LMEs have been instrumental in bringing together multiple nations at the ministerial level to work together towards shared ocean governance, and the sustainable management of coasts and the ocean. Science is a fundamental pillar underpinning the implementation of EBM and is essential to enhance our understanding of the impacts of multiple stressors e.g. climate driven on ecosystem dynamics and functioning under a changing ocean. Such stressors may affect LME boundaries, impact species diversity, abundance and trophic interactions, and ultimately human interdependence with marine resources, triggering new challenges for transboundary governance and management.

The key objectives of the GEF IW LME portfolio, supported by a $10 billion catalytic GEF financial assistance, align with the ambitions of the Ocean Decade to tackle marine pollution, sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, ocean health and ecosystems, and its societal outcomes - a clean, productive, resilient ocean. For this reason, the wider LME community, is invited to strengthen engagement and collaboration with the Ocean Decade community and to capitalize on the multi-stakeholder framework provided by the Decade to collectively align its research, investments and initiatives around a set of common challenges. This will strengthen the overall ‘science enterprise’ that LME approach relies on and the transition from research to policy implementation.

The event is organized by IW:LEARN, the GEF’s International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network, in collaboration with GEF and UNDP. The IW:LEARN project strengthens capacities in transboundary water management, including marine and coastal management, by catalyzing knowledge sharing and promoting learning among project managers, agencies, institutions and other stakeholders. IW:LEARN is funded by the GEF and powered by IOC/UNESCO, in partnership with UNDP and UNEP.


  • To strengthen collaboration and partnerships between the LME community, GEF IW projects and Ocean Decade partners;
  • To showcase scientific advances and innovations in LMEs as the basis of EBM and the uptake of science for policy and society;
  • To identify synergies between the two communities and ways LMEs can leverage the outcomes of the Ocean Decade on data, tools, methodologies and science-based approaches.

Provisional Agenda



 Proposed speakers/panelists

 Part 1 – Welcome and opening of session (10 mins)

 8.30 – 8.40

  • Opening remarks

How does the LME approach align with the goals, objectives and challenges of the Ocean Decade? 

Examples of how OD takes results from LME projects and vice versa

  • Session objectives and overview
  • Julian Barbiere (IOC/UNESCO) 

 Part 2 – Setting the scene (15 min)

 8.40 – 8.55

  • Summarize LME highlights in the last 30 years of GEF 
  • Brief overview of the role of GEF IW:LEARN 

  • Andrew Hume (GEFSec)
  • Claudette Spiteri (IW:LEARN)

 Part 3 – Interactive Panel Discussion (40 min) – Moderated by Vladimir Mamaev (UNDP)


  • Interactive panel session on strengthening collaboration and partnerships between the LME community, GEF IW projects and Ocean Decade partners 

  • Sally Bailey (SPC)
  • AnaMaria Nunez (UNDP)
  • Raffaella Rucci (FAO)
  • David Vousden (RU/GESAMP)
  • Lucy Scott (IOC/IODE) 


 Audience Q&A

 Part 4 – Moving forward (5 min)

 9.35- 9.40 

 Key takeaways and final remarks