International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Inter-regional SIDS knowledge sharing on experiences and emerging lessons from Source to Sea programmatic implementation (April-July 2019)

The Pacific R2R-IWEco Twinning exercise took place in April and July 2019 where both projects had the opportunity to exchange their experiences.

The GEF Pacific Ridge to Reef Programme supports Pacific Small Island Developing States to improve environmental management across the GEF focal areas of Land degradation, Biodiversity, Sustainable Forest Management, International Waters and Climate Change Mitigation. This R2R Project has successfully mobilized cross-sectoral partnerships with several implementing agencies to address wastewater treatment, biodiversity conservation, hazard risk reduction and improved coastal livelihoods.

Similarly, the Integrating Land, Water and Ecosystems Management Project seeks to enhance the resilience of socio-ecological systems to the impacts of climate change; and to contribute to the preservation of Caribbean ecosystems and the sustainability of livelihoods through improved fresh and coastal water resource management, sustainable land management, and sustainable forest management.

Participants of the 3rd IWEco Steering Committee Meeting benefited from a presentation by the R2R Communications and Knowledge Management Adviser on R2R project approaches, challenges and successes. Meeting participants also benefited from Bilateral meetings with the R2R officer to discuss specific project experiences.

The IWEco Project and Technical and Monitoring Officer benefited from knowledge uptake during participation at the 4th R2R Regional Steering Committee meeting and the field visits to intervention sites, meetings with community stakeholders, and the wider R2R technical team immediately following participation at the 4th R2R Regional Steering Committee meeting.

Common issues of interest for Pacific R2R/IWEco projects to explore because of learnings from this exchange:

  • Consider the application of an assessment of the effectiveness of national inter-sectoral coordinating mechanisms (IMCs) using the good practice guidelines.
  • Continue to engage in inter-regional SIDS experience and learning exchanges, including the proposal for the IWEco technical and monitoring officer Palau site visit on participatory monitoring and evaluation.

Why is this experience significant to GEF and to transboundary water resources management?

Given the close inter-connections between land, water and coastal systems in Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the integration of freshwater watershed management with coastal area management is considered essential to foster effective cross-sectoral coordination in the planning and management of land, water and coastal uses. In SIDS, such integrated approaches to freshwater and coastal area management have been termed ‘Ridge to Reef’ to emphasise the inter-connections between the natural and social systems from the mountain ‘ridges’ of volcanic islands, through coastal watersheds and habitats, and across coastal lagoons to the fringing ‘reef’ environments associated with most Pacific PICS.

To ensure sustainable development to resource management, a paradigm shift from sectoral to ecosystem-oriented management approaches and strategies must be adopted. And that Ridge to Reef (R2R) or Source to Sea (S2S) approaches establish governance, operations, practices and finance that strengthen collaboration and coherence across S2S systems resulting in sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits.

To optimize investments in resource management, the enablement of knowledge networks and exchange opportunities nationally, regionally and inter-regionally cannot be overemphasized. This knowledge exchange between Pacific R2R and Caribbean IWEco, has supported this.

There are also broader opportunities that these learnings can be applied in the development of a regional integrated ocean governance/investment framework for consideration in the development of the 2050 Pacific Leaders Strategy (2020).

Figure 1: Dr. Nicole O. Caesar is the Technical and Monitoring Officer of the GEF IWEco Project and Dr. Fononga Mangisi-Mafileo is the Communications and Knowledge Management Adviser of the GEF Pacific International Waters Ridge to Reef Project and Programme Coordination Unit. 

The full report on the exchange can be accessed in the PDF below: