GEF LME:LEARN was a project (2016-2019) funded by the Global Environmental Facility, implemented by the United Nations Development Programme and managed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). LME:LEARN was jointly implemented with IW:LEARN, the umbrella project for learning in the GEF International Waters portfolio, with a common PCU.

Lead partners of the project include the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Conservation International. A project coordination unit, hosted at the headquarters of UNESCO-IOC in Paris, France, functioned as a Global LME Secretariat. 

GEF LME:LEARN worked to improve global ecosystem-based governance of Large Marine Ecosystems and their coasts by generating knowledge, building capacity, harnessing public and private partners and supporting south-to-south and north-to-south learning. The project aimed to meet this through identifying the priority issues affecting governance of the LMEs, along with their associated coastal zones, and marine protected areas, as well as their underlying root causes, and by integrating these in a global ecosystem-based governance framework founded on global coordination and cooperation. A key element of this improved governance is thus mainstreaming cooperation and coordination between Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs), Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) projects with overlapping themes and geographic areas, both for GEF projects and for non-GEF projects.

Furthermore, the project aimed to reach a variety of GEF marine and coastal stakeholders including project managers, international and local project staff, government officials, implementing agency staff, NGOs, business communities and others. It also targets linkages between LMEs, regional seas and regional fisheries management organizations.

GEF LME:LEARN also promoted learning and partnership building, knowledge and experience sharing and information management among projects in the GEF marine and coastal focal areas, and operated as a central hub for storing and sharing data and documents from GEF marine and coastal projects.

The Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA) and Strategic Action Programme (SAP) development approach for the management of Large Marine Ecosystems is consistently used to develop management strategies for the Large Marine Ecosystems (LME). For more information, please read the recent UNDP publication Large Marine Ecosystems and Sustainable Development: A Review of Strategic Management Processes and Goals