GEF IWEco Project Summary

Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystem Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States - GEF IWEco

The “Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystem Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States - GEF IWEco”, has been developed as a successor project to the Integrated Watershed and Coastal Areas Management Project (IWCAM), which was funded by the Global Environment Facility. This new project has been approved by the GEF Secretariat and is currently in its inception phase.

The GEF IWEco project has a total budget of USD 88.7 million including cash and in-kind co-financing with a total GEF cash allocation of USD 20,722,572. Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago are the ten Caribbean countries which have committed to participating in this project. The Bahamas has also received approval for the development of a Medium sized project as the GEF IWEco Project is implemented.

GEF IWEco is proposed to be a five-year regional multi-focal area project financed under the GEF Focal Areas: International Waters, Land Degradation, Biodiversity, Sustainable Forest Management and the GEF Small Grants Programme. The project’s primary goal is the implementation of an integrated approach to water, land and ecosystems services management, supported by policy, institutional and legislative reforms, and implementation of effective appropriate technologies to accelerate contribution to global targets on access to safe and reliable water supplies and improved sanitation, and contributing to improved ecosystem functioning in the Caribbean.

By the end of its tenure, the project is expected to have:

  • Pollution reduction technologies and ecosystem functioning enhancement measures implemented in local demonstrations and investments;
  • Enhanced capacity for issues of climatic variability and change and surface and groundwater management;
  • Agreed commitments to sustainable Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) and Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) cooperation frameworks;
  • National and local policy/legal/institutional reforms adopted/ implemented;
  • Integrated land management plans developed and implemented;
  • Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), sustainable land management (SLM) and ecosystem management tools and methodologies developed and tested;
  • Information on IWRM technologies and good practice guidelines disseminated;
  • National and subnational landuse plans developed that incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem services valuation;
  • Enhanced carbon sinks from reduced forest degradation over 4,500 ha.

The GEF IWEco Project is scheduled to begin implementation in 2015 and conclude in 2020. The project is to be co-implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and co-executed by UNEP’s Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

The full project proposal for the GEF IWEco Project can be found here

Summary of the Project. 

Press Release on the Approval of the Project

Caribbean Small Island Developing States join forces to reduce threats to Fragile Island Environments

19-23 September, 2016 | Kingston, Jamaica

The Caribbean will join forces to strengthen its approach to the sustainable management of water, land and its fragile ecosystems with the implementation of the Global Environment Facility funded project on ‘Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystem Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States’ (GEF IWEco).

The United Nations Environment, Caribbean Environment Programme (UNEP CEP) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the GEF Small Grants Programme and several other regional partners will be hosting a series of project meetingsfrom September 19-22, 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Regional Project will be implemented over five years and is centered oninnovative solutions to reduce the risk of climate change and preserve the Caribbean’s natural resources.

Ms. Lorna Inniss, Coordinator of UNEP CEP, outlined the significance of this project for Small Island Developing States (SIDs) as they embark on achieving targets identified in the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway and the recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals.

The series of meetings will take place as follows:

The Caribbean region faces significant threats to wetland and coral reef ecosystems which have both dramatically declined in recent years. Unplanned development and poor land use practices result in the clearing of lands and coastal ecosystems (mangroves/seagrasses). Thiscontributes to loss of species richness and diversity in Caribbean countries through soil loss and increased sedimentation.

In responding to these environmental threats, Caribbean countries are challenged by their small land masses, vulnerable economies, and heavy dependence on external energy resources. Given the rise in populations and development, greater concerted effort is now required to achieve sustainable development for the Wider Caribbean Region.

This regional project will involve the participation of eleven Caribbean SIDs including Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. These Caribbean SIDs recognize the shared challenges of water, land and biodiversity resource management and therefore, the IWEco Project will build on the progress of prior initiatives to preserve the Caribbean ecosystems that are of global significance and the sustainability of livelihoods through the application of existing proven technologies and approaches that are appropriate for small island developing states.

The Project Management Unit will be based in Kingston, Jamaica at the offices of the United Nations Caribbean Environment Programme. The Unit will provide direct technical support and oversight of all of the National Project Activities as well as coordinate the regional activities. The Project was approved by the GEF Secretariat in April 2015 with a total budget of USD88.7 million including cash and in-kind co-financing as well as the GEF requested cash allocation of USD20,722,572.

The GEF IWEco project falls within the scope of the Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean Region (Cartagena Convention) and its Protocols concerning Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities (LBS) and Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (SPAW). Pollution of fresh and coastal waters from a wide range of sources continues to be a significant threat to socio-economic development in the Caribbean in light of impacts to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

These agreements commit Governments of the region to take concrete actions for improving the management and sustainable use of their critical coastal and marine resources. Through strengthened policy and legislation and using more effective solutions, the Caribbean will be better able to achieve global targets on access to safe and reliable water supplies and improved ecosystem management in the Caribbean.


To access the agenda and other meeting document, visit the GEF IWEco meeting page.

For more information on this project please read the project summary.