International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

2nd Targeted Workshop for GEF IW Projects in Africa

12th - 14th(15th) November 2012 - Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
The page contains information related to the 2nd Targeted Workshop for GEF IW Projects in Africa in Addis Ababa in November 2012.

The 2nd Africa Targeted Workshop for Global Environment Facility (GEF) International Waters (IW) Projects was jointly organized by the International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:LEARN), a GEF project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as well as its partners Rhodes University, the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). The workshop took place at the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop centered on two themes, Economic Valuation of Ecosystems in Marine and Freshwater environments as well as the forthcoming global expansion of the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Water Convention) as a legal framework for international waters.

Background & Activity Objectives

The 2nd Africa Regional Targeted Workshop for Global Environment Facility (GEF) IW Projects is the part of a series of regional workshops being organized by the GEF project IW:LEARN and key regional partners. The series of workshops have an expected outcome to enable regional inter-basin co-ordination to enhance the management capacity of institutions and GEF project partners.

The activity’s overall objective is to increase communication between project managers of marine, surface freshwater, and groundwater resources. The workshops are also about transferring management approaches, tools and best practices amongst GEF projects and partners to build capacity based on topics deemed the most appropriate by workshop participants. Finally, the workshops are also about supporting participation in the GEF IW Global Communities of Practice for surface freshwater, groundwater and soon also large marine ecosystems. The IW:LEARN activity also involves project-project twinning exchanges, and is also being mirrored into other GEF regions: Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as Asia and the Pacific.

The first targeted workshop in the Africa region (South Africa, April 2012) identified priority topics around which to structure future regional workshops. Economic valuation received the highest ranking from GEF IW project managers during this prioritization session. They wanted to learn more about tools, methodologies and best practices for assessing the Economic Value of Ecosystems Goods and Services in their respective large marine ecosystem (LMEs) and freshwater (RBOs, LBOs and ABOs) environments.

Background Materials

The overall aim of the workshop will be to raise capacity among the GEF IW project managers and representatives of partner organizations on the topic of economic valuation, as well as payments for ecosystem services and ecosystem-based approaches. It is anticipated that an outcome will be the implementation of selected approaches and methods discussed during the workshop in the course of GEF IW project implementation.

IW:LEARN is also working together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), secretariat of the UNECE Water Convention, to raise awareness about the Convention and its potential for global expansion. Over the past 20 years, the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (UNECE Water Convention) has provided a sound overarching legal framework and an active intergovernmental platform for the promotion of transboundary water cooperation and the sustainable management of water resources in the pan-European region. It has served as a powerful model to strengthen cooperation for the protection and sustainable use of transboundary surface waters and groundwaters, in different economic, social and environmental conditions, also exerting influence beyond the ECE region. Building on the successes achieved, the Parties to the Convention decided to open the Convention for accession by non-UNECE countries through an amendment which is expected to enter into force in 2013. Many countries and basins outside the UNECE region, including some from Africa, already participate in activities under the Convention and take advantage of its multilateral framework.

In view of the forthcoming globalization a dedicated session on the Convention and its work will be organized during the GEF IW:LEARN workshop in order to inform about this unique legal framework, its achievements and the intergovernmental structure as well as activities under it, for example in the area of monitoring and assessment and climate change adaptation in transboundary basins. In addition, participants will discuss how the Convention can help improve transboundary water management in Africa.

Thus, the workshop has the following objectives:

  • Presentation of key approaches and methodologies for economic valuation, payment for ecosystem services and ecosystem-based approaches in both freshwater and marine environments
  • Exchange of experience on the application of various economic valuation methodologies by GEF IW projects in the region and the results of those applications
  • Increase awareness on and understanding of the UNECE Water Convention and its work in view of its forthcoming global expansion, including the guidance documents developed under its framework and the practical experiences of its application; discuss relevance and implications for international waters and their management in Africa;
  • Identification of next steps or commitments to action with regard to economic valuation or the expansion of the water convention in the context of GEF IW projects

Workshop Outputs

  • Collection of learning resource guides, presentations and other materials added as guidance on, particularly through the IW project manager’s manual
  • Brief synopsis of applied economic valuation methodologies by projects, the results and good practices from doing so
  • Formulation of personal action plans for project applications and ongoing learning: an interactive session on how to use this kind of information in project planning

Workshop Organization

The workshop will consist of keynote presentations followed by facilitated discussions. The workshop will also feature breakout sessions and group work. Facilitators will be drawn from the Global Community of Practice Partner (IUCN), regional partner Rhodes University, our host, UNECA and colleagues from other GEF partner agencies (UNIDO, FAO) and consultants (for the economic valuation part of the workshop. For the session on the Water Convention, facilitators will come from the UNECE secretariat, Convention Parties as well as partners.


The workshop will be attended primarily by GEF IW project managers. GEF agencies and other partner multilaterals are also expected to attend. Regional organizations with water mandates will also be invited as well as representatives from transboundary basin organizations.