News

Caribbean Conference Assesses GEF Project on Watershed and Coastal Area Management

November 2011: The Global Environment Facility (GEF)-funded Project on “Integrating Watershed and Coastal Areas Management in Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean” (GEF-IWCAM Project) hosted its Final Project Conference to evaluate the achievements, challenges and lessons learned, as well as prospects for a follow-up project.

The Conference took place in Kingston, Jamaica, from 16–18 November 2011. The GEF-IWCAM, which was launched in 2006, sought to strengthen the commitment and capacity of 13 participating Caribbean small island developing States (SIDS) to plan and manage their aquatic resources and ecosystems on a sustainable basis. Implementing agencies were the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The project was executed by UNEP's Regional Coordinating Unit (CAR/RCU) in Kingston and Saint Lucia-based Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI). Nine demonstration projects were implemented in eight different countries on such issues as integrated watershed resources management (IWRM), wastewater treatment and management, and land-use planning and zoning. The thirteen participating SIDS were: Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Among other things, the project is credited in helping gain the ratifications needed to bring into force the Protocol on Land-Based Sources of Marine Pollution (LBS) of the Cartagena Convention on Protection of the Wider Caribbean, and the strengthening of several national policies and laws through the development and deployment of a "toolkit," and the transformation of an informal working group on IWRM to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Consortium on Water.

Among the lessons learned from the project are: the need for local champions; that climate change is a key driver of IWRM; that "one size does not fit all;" and the need for figuring out how IWRM fits into business processes and the costs involved. Among the challenges identified are: difficulties in engaging the private sector and Ministries of Finance; difficulties communicating to politicians the urgent need for IWRM; and the lack of secure funding for follow-on actions.

UNEP CAR/RCU has committed to work with Caribbean countries to build on the successes of IWCAM through follow-up projects and activities, including the development and submission of a follow-up proposal for GEF funding, and to ensure that best practices and lessons learned from IWCAM are widely disseminated through a clearinghouse mechanism to be established at CAR/RCU. [GEF-IWCAM Press Release] [IISD RS Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage Story on LBS Protocol Workshop] [IISD RS Sources]