International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

3rd Targeted Workshop for GEF IW Projects in Africa

7th - 9th May 2014 - Rhodes University, SA
The 3rd 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) & United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), as well as its partners Rhodes University, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the African Center for Ocean Governance. The workshop took place at Rhodes University and will focus on the two governance related themes. The first part of the workshop examines how GEF international waters projects sustain their interventions by catalyzing sustainable governance structures and the second part examines the science to governance mechanism.

Background & Activity Objectives

The IW:LEARN3 project, which became active in 2011 and will be active until mid 2014, has as one of its primary activities, the organization of regional workshops for GEF IW projects in three GEF regions: Latin America & the Caribbean, Asia & the Pacific and Latin America & the Caribbean. In each region, the project is partnered with an anchor institution to deliver these workshops. For GEF IW Projects in Africa, IW:LEARN has partnered with Rhodes University in South Africa. Through this partnership we seek to promote the building of individual capabilities as well as  institutional capacity in aspects of transboundary and integrated water resource management. The building of capacities will be done through improved knowledge-management including the strengthening of networks and communities-of-practice. In this context, Rhodes and IW:LEARN agreed to cooperate in the support of 3 initial workshops and a variety of twinning exchanges over the next 2 years. IW:LEARN works with UNESCO and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in support of global communities of practice for groundwater and surface freshwater projects.

The activity’s overall objective is to increase communication between project managers of marine, surface freshwater, and groundwater resources and promote a more integrated and holistic approach to water resources management. 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 Africa, 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 and governance received the highest ranking from GEF IW project managers during this prioritization session. The second targeted workshop (Ethiopia, November 2012) thus centered on tools, methodologies and best practices for assessing  the Economic Value of Ecosystems Goods and Services in large marine ecosystem (LMEs) and freshwater  environments.

Workshop Objectives

The overall aim of the workshop will be to raise capacity among the GEF IW projects on aspects of governance, specifically centering on effective and innovative science to governance mechanisms and best practices in the development of legal and institutional frameworks that can sustain project outcomes. In other words, how can GEF projects have more effective ways of translating scientific finding into more sustainable management policies, and what governance institutions and frameworks are the most successful in cementing project interventions, and how were they settled upon? It is anticipated that an outcome of the workshop will be the dissemination and implementation of selected approaches and methods discussed during the workshop in the course of GEF IW project implementation.

Thus, the workshop has the following objectives:

  • Presentation of approaches and methodologies to establish governance structures and policies that facilitate the sustainability of GEF project outcomes, results and impacts.
  • Determination of key management actions GEF IW projects can deploy to become effective catalysts for improving governance at national, sub-regional and regional levels.
  • The identification of key barriers of scientific findings informing policy decisions, and how these can be overcome
  • Presentation of approaches and methodologies of innovative structures and policies that facilitate the integration of the best available science into governance policies.

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 governance methodologies by projects, the results and good practices from doing so in the context of improving the uptake of the best available science in management policies, in enhancing positive impacts at national, sub-regional and regional levels and catalyzing improved governance
  • Generate list of management actions for GEF IW Projects to employ to improve the science to governance divide and improve governance mechanisms at the regional and sub-regional levels.

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 Rhodes University, colleagues from other GEF partner agencies and consultants