Participants at the 2013 GEF IWLEARN Workshop on "Catalysing Sustained Governance" in Buenos Aires, Argentina
KINGSTON, Jamaica -- The Caribbean Sea, home to a vibrant ecosystem benefitting fisherfolk, the tourism industry and the region’s people alike is currently threatened. Over harvesting of fisheries, climate change and pollution from sewage, agricultural runoff and industrial effluent has led to 75% of coral reefs in the region being labeled as “at risk”.
To address this issue, project managers from International Waters projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, implementing agencies, the private sector and other stakeholders will get together from April 23-25 in Kingston, Jamaica, to share their experiences in managing these issues.
This workshop is the final of the third phase of the Global Environment Facility’s International Waters Learning Exchange and Resources Network (GEF IW: LEARN). These workshops have aimed 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.
Hosted by the GEF IW:LEARN and UNEP’s Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit- Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP-CAR/RCU), two of the projects represented, are focused on the rehabilitation of a watershed between border countries, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and coordinating the sustainable use of land and water resources in the Amazon Basin, among its border countries respectively.
Mish Hamid, project manager for the GEF IW: LEARN, indicated that this final workshop presents an opportunity for project managers to share lessons learnt, discuss impact monitoring ;opportunities for collaboration and advise the GEF on better ways of high level stakeholder and private sector engagement. This will be especially useful as GEF IW: LEARN enters its next phase of implementation.
Nelson Andrade Colmenares, coordinator for UNEP-CAR/RCU, noted that the meeting is timely as its objectives reflect the priorities of small island developing states (SIDS), which is especially significant with the designation of 2014 as the International Year of SIDS. Integrated ecosystem and water resource management, climate change, land based sources of pollution and the identification of opportunities to build stronger regional partnerships for sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean are good bases of discussion for the three day workshop.
The GEF is an independent financial organisation which provides grants to countries for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants. These projects benefit the global environment by addressing, local, national and global environmental problems and promoting sustainable livelihoods.
The GEF International Waters (IW) focal area targets transboundary water systems, such as shared river basins, lakes, groundwater and large marine ecosystems. Since the inception of GEF in 1991, the IW portfolio has invested US$1.4 billion of GEF grants in 149 different countries and is comprised of 242 projects to date. This investment has leveraged approximately US$8.4 billion in co-financing. The IW portfolio has delivered substantive results and replicable experiences to be scaled up and mainstreamed globally.