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

What's Happening

The Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (GEF-IWEco Project) is a five-year regional project that builds upon the work of previous initiatives, to address water, land and biodiversity resource management as well as climate change.

This multi-focal regional project began in 2016.  It is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UN Environment (UNEP) is the lead Implementing Agency for national and regional sub-projects, with UNDP also implementing some activities under the Knowledge Management regional sub-project and community-based livelihoods support opportunities associated with the national sub-projects through the GEF-Small Grants Programme.  The Secretariat to the Cartagena Convention, UNEP CAR/RCU and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) are the co-Executing Agencies. Partnership is a central tenet of the project which is being implemented through a network of international, regional and national partners.

IWEco’s objective is to contribute to the preservation of 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 through improved fresh and coastal water resources management, sustainable land management and sustainable forest management that also seek to enhance resilience of socio-ecological systems to the impacts of climate change. 

Caribbean SIDS face many challenges

Small landmasses, vulnerable economies, heavy dependence on external energy resources, and rising populations mean that greater efforts must be made if sustainable development is to become a reality.  There is widespread acknowledgement that if the state of Caribbean ecosystems, land and water resources, biodiversity are to improve, more cooperation, partnership and integrated approaches are needed. 

As land degradation and water pollution increase and biodiversity continues to decline in Caribbean SIDS, vulnerability to the effects of climate change will increase.   Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 wreaked havoc in several islands, emphasising the need for a strong natural resource base to protect and make communities and ecosystems more resilient to the impacts of climate change which are expected to become even more severe in the future.

 Royal Palm Reserve, Negril Morass, Jamaica, site of the Jamaica National Sub-Project


IWEco works through four components:

  1. Development and Implementation of Integrated Targeted Innovative, climate-change resilient approaches in sustainable land management (SLM), integrated water resources management (IWRM) and maintenance of ecosystem services;
  2. Strengthening of the SLM, IWRM and ecosystems Monitoring, and Indicators framework;
  3. Strengthening of the Policy, Legislative and Institutional reforms and capacity building for SLM, IWRM and ecosystem services management taking into consideration climate change resilience building, and
  4. Enhancing knowledge exchange, best practices, replication and stakeholder involvement.

Ten participating  countries:

  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Cuba
  • Dominican Republic
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • St. Kitts & Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • St. Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Trinidad & Tobago


At the regional level, partnerships will be formalized in five areas:  Governance; Public Awareness/Education; Research; Private Sector, and; Resource Mobilization.  These make a wide range of resources and expertise available to participating countries both during and beyond the project and help the region build capacity.


National Sub-Projects

Eight of the participating countries are implementing national sub-projects which are interventions that apply the project approach to management of water, land and ecosystem management at specific sites.  They include small-scale investments supported by the GEF-Small Grants Programme in order to enhance livelihood opportunities and socio-economic co-benefits for targeted communities from improved ecosystem services functioning.  Project sites include the upper reaches of the Soufriere Watershed in Saint Lucia, the Cedar Grove and Cooks Watershed areas and McKinnons Pond in Antigua, and the Negril Morass in Jamaica.


Selected former quarry sites are being rehabilitated in the Valencia area of N.E. Trinidad as part of the Trinidad & Tobago National Sub-Project