IUCN, GEF and a global surface freshwater community of practice

03 November 2011 | News story

‘Raising the Bar: 20 Years of GEF Transboundary Water Results’ was the slogan of the 6th GEF International Waters Conference, held in Dubrovnik from 17-20 October, in which IUCN contributed its knowledge and experience on water management.

The IUCN Water Programme participated in the 6th GEF International Waters conference as part of the GEF IW:LEARN programme. This is an initiative that promotes experience sharing and learning among GEF IW projects and country officials, agencies, and partners. What IUCN brings to the table is its broad network and expertise in applying an ecosystem approach to water resources protection and management.

The GEF focal area of International Waters (GEF-IW) targets transboundary water systems, such as shared river basins, lakes, groundwater and large marine ecosystems. Since GEF’s inception in 1991, the IW portfolio has delivered substantive results and experiences to be scaled-up and mainstreamed globally that have leveraged approximately US$ 5 billion in co-financing.

The natural point of intersection between the GEF and IUCN is in institutions. However, to deliver change on the ground that complements change at the intergovernmental level, the GEF needs more agility in implementation. Building new partnerships that sustain results could prolong projects’ momentum and increase the rate of progress relative to expanding needs for good water management worldwide” said Mark Smith, Director of the IUCN Water Programme, while participating in a panel at the GEF conference.

Specifically, IUCN is convening and facilitating a surface freshwater Community of Practice (CoP). The idea is to capitalize on these two decades of GEF IW projects that have created an large amount of knowledge, experience and good practices in transboundary water management. The CoP will act as a catalytic coalition to promote learning that meets GEF IW project priorities.

The need for constant lesson sharing was one of the common denominators that kept emerging during the conference. This is understood as being less about academic analysis and more about experience sharing and peer-to-peer exchange of invaluable lessons and findings. For example, identifying what type of institutions worked well to adaptively use science for policy influencing and good governance” added Stefano Barchiesi, IUCN Water Programme Project Officer.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an independent financial organization uniting 182 member governments. It provides grants to developing countries and countries with economies in transition for projects related to global environmental issues such as biodiversity loss, climate change, international waters, and land degradation.

For more information, please contact stefano.barchiesi@iucn.org