The Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) (www.thegef.org) unites 183 member governments—in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector—to address global environment issues. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants. Since 1991, the GEF has provided US$12.5 billion in grants and leveraged US$58 billion in co-financing for 3,690 projects in 165 developing countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP) the GEF has made more than 20,000 grants totaling about US$1 billion to civil society and community-based organizations.
The GEF International Waters (IW) focal area targets transboundary water systems, such as shared river basins, lakes, groundwater and large marine ecosystems. The IW portfolio comprises 242 projects to date and some US$1.4 billion of GEF grants invested in 149 different countries. This investment has leveraged about US$8.4 billion in co-financing.
UNDP GEF funded Kura Project “Advancing Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) across the Kura river basin through implementation of the transboundary agreed actions and national plans” will be implementing the Strategic Action Program for the Kura River Basin in partnership with the Governments of Georgia and Azerbaijan. The SAP is framed around four agreed Ecosystem Quality Objectives (EQO) which are:
- To achieve sustainable utilization of water resources to ensure access to water and preserve ecosystem services;
- To achieve water quality such that it would ensure access to clean water for present and future generations and sustain ecosystem functions in the Kura river basin;
- To achieve and maintain ecosystem status whereby they provide essential environmental and socio-economic services in a sustainable manner in the Kura River Basin; and,
- To achieve mitigation of adverse impacts of flooding and climate change on infrastructures, riparian ecosystems and communities.
The GEF will support priority activities towards these objectives. The GEF funded SAP implementation Project has the objective “to integrate water resources management in the Kura river basin to address water-energy-food-ecosystem security nexus through the implementation of agreed actions in the SAP”.
There will be five components to support the countries to achieve this objective. These are:
- Project Component 1: Establishment of effective cross sectoral IWRM governance protocols at the local, national and transboundary levels in the Kura Basin;
- Project Component 2: Strengthening national capacities to implement multi-sectoral IWRM in the Kura basin;
- Project Component 3: Stress reduction in critical areas and pre-feasibility studies to identify investment opportunities for improving river system health;
- Project Component 4: Targeted education and involvement projects to empower stakeholders in implementing local / national / regional actions in support of SAP implementation;
- Project Component 5: Enhancing science for governance by strengthening monitoring, information management and data analysis systems for IWRM.