GEF CReW’s last Regional Workshop looks at Lessons Learnt in Policy, Planning and Establishing Sustainable Financing Mechanisms
The Global Environment Facility-funded Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (GEF CReW) Project will convene its final regional capacity building workshop in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 15 – 19 February 2016.
The GEF CReW Regional Policy and Enforcement Workshop will focus on the sharing of experiences related to the development and implementation of policies, laws and regulations concerning wastewater management in the Project’s 13 participating countries: Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago.
GEF CReW is an integrated and innovative approach to reducing the negative environmental and human health impacts of untreated wastewater discharges which have negative effects on marine resources and are a threat to the region’s economic development and quality of life of its people. Through three interlinked components, it has aimed to provide sustainable financing for the wastewater sector; support policy and legislative reforms, and; foster regional dialogue and knowledge exchange amongst key stakeholders.
Caribbean countries have long indicated the need for assistance in the form of guidelines that would assist them in developing and updating policies, laws and regulations for improving wastewater management and planning, including more effective enforcement of existing laws. Wastewater management planning involves an evaluation of current and future wastewater needs, developing wastewater management alternatives to meet those needs and selecting the most cost-effective, environmentally sound wastewater management plan through careful comparison and evaluation of alternatives. The final recommended Plan must comply with regulatory requirements and provide for sound wastewater management over the specified planning period.
The Project therefore prepared a “Regional Wastewater Management Policy Toolkit and Template” and accompanying “Guidelines for Developing, Reviewing and/or Updating National Wastewater Management Plans”, both of which will be reviewed and discussed on the first two days of the Workshop.
Wastewater as a Resource will be the focus of the third day, as a panel of regional experts discusses treated wastewater reuse and its many benefits, particularly in the Region’s increasingly water scarce environments, and, as participants consider how to create an enabling environment to take advantage of the many potential opportunities to generate revenue from wastewater management – a ‘win-win’ for both local communities and Governments.
The experiences and lessons learned in developing and implementing sustainable financing mechanisms in the four pilot countries – Belize, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago – will be shared on Day 4.
Day 5 will be dedicated to a review and verification exercise for the new "CReW +" Project proposal concept currently being developed for consideration by the GEF Council later in 2016. Successful application would enable the development of a full-sized follow-on project which would build upon the lessons learnt in GEF CReW over the past five years.
The Project which began in 2011, is in its final year. As this is GEF CReW’s last regional meeting, there will also be a reflection of the project’s challenges and achievements.
Achievements have included:
- An improved understanding of the need to consider a wider range of financing options, depending upon different country situations and realities.
- An increase in awareness amongst decision makers, the media and the wider public of the importance of good wastewater management.
- Increasing stakeholder consultation at national level as countries work to improve their policy, legislative and institutional frameworks to enable better wastewater management.
- Training of more than 400 technicians, government officials, and other stakeholders in various aspects of wastewater management, e.g., wastewater treatment technologies, operator assessments, management of revolving funds, and facilitation.
- An increase in regional and national level partnerships, as countries seek to maximize efficiency and effectiveness, and to learn from each other.
For more information contact:
Donna Sue Spencer
GEF CReW Project