Scaling Up Community Actions for International Waters Management

08 Jun 2016

This publication reviews the results achieved by the GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) in international waters in the last five years (2011-2016). During this time, SGP supported 265 communities and civil society organizations in 83 countries to avoid or reduce 167,199 tons of waste from entering waterbodies; and supported the sustainable management of 164,169 hectares of marine and coastal areas and fishing grounds, and 264,822 hectares of river and lake basins through community interventions. In addition to direct global environmental benefits, SGP has worked to change the attitudes and behaviors of local communities and helped them adopt good practices, influence government policy and catalyze further investment in environment and sustainable development. Such indirect global environmental benefits are often manifested in the process of scaling up, which takes different forms and follows different processes in different project contexts.


Since 1992, SGP has funded 1,027 community projects with approximately $26 million invested in GEF funding and having generated an additional $38 million in co-financing for the protection of international waters. SGP’s international waters portfolio has focused on addressing issues and priorities identified in SAPs. While the overall level of funding is modest when viewed globally and cumulatively over time, the impact of these SGP projects stretches across many regions and relates to many waterbodies and critical ecosystems. The ten cases in the publication demonstrate that small scale actions by communities, coupled with efforts of governments, the private sector, donors and other key stakeholders, can lead to achievement of results at a greater scale beyond the originally targeted communities. As the different cases will show, these community projects have led to continuing action beyond the time-frame of the initial projects, often to investment of further resources and funding, as well as in some cases to implementation of policy change and mainstreaming of critical environmental management measures.

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