The Integrating Water, Land and Ecosystems Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (GEF-IWEco Project) is a five-year multi-focal area regional project that will be financed from (i) country GEF STAR allocations under Land Degradation and Biodiversity portfolios for national interventions and supported by (ii) funding from the GEF International Waters and Sustainable Forest Management portfolios for regional-level actions. A total of ten Caribbean countries will be participating in the project. UNEP will be the lead Implementing Agency for national and regional sub-projects with UNDP having an implementation role for 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. UNEP Car/RCU in partnership with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) will serve as co-Executing Agencies. The project has 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. The project will be implemented through a network of international, regional and national partners in accordance with their comparative advantage.
The long-term goal of the project is to enhance the sustainable flow of ecosystem services and their contribution to sustainable socio-economic development in the Caribbean through the application of appropriate solutions for the improved integrated management of water, land and biological resources.
The global environment objective is to promote innovative systemic methodologies and approaches for the integrated sustainable management of water, land and globally threatened biodiversity resources that are relevant, replicable and up-scalable for small island developing states (SIDS). These efforts will mitigate further environmental degradation and create enabling conditions for environmentally sustainable development of the Caribbean region.
The Project 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.
The expected impacts to be delivered from the project are as follows:
Measurable stress reduction at project sites across the eight participating countries through appropriate sustainable water, land and ecosystems management interventions that account for climate change. The following are the anticipated key targets:
- A total of 12 primary innovative investments in improved water, wastewater land and ecosystems management in 8 countries that results in significant stress reduction at target locations;
- At least 2,700 hectares of forest area including riparian zones, wetlands, habitats, under improved management practices through stress-reduction on-ground investments;
- At least 46,000 hectares of forested landscapes within wider areas under conservation management regimes supported by project interventions;
- In-situ conservation of at least 46,000 ha over wider landscapes by project end;
- At least a 10% improvement in select indicator species abundance over the baseline within the target areas by project end;
- At least 20% improvement in overall water quality (key parameters of the LBS Protocol) over the baseline from targeted areas by project end;
- Best practices generated and used as basis for learning and replication.
Enhanced livelihood opportunities and socio-economic co-benefits for targeted communities from improved ecosystem services functioning. The following are the anticipated key targets:
- Small-scale investments associated with the national projects supported by the GEF-Small Grants Programme over project duration;
- At least 20 % increase in annual income per capita from community-based initiatives in crop and livestock production, and from forest and tree products over the project duration;
- At least 20% fewer reports of water-related illnesses Health indices of target communities;
- At least 10 investments in small-scale water and sanitation (effluent control) across at least 3 countries.
Strengthened national and regional systems for monitoring of environmental status with respect to key international agreements. The following are the anticipated key targets:
- Participating countries have endorsed a suite of IWRM, SLM, BD and SFM indicators for assessment and reporting;
- Technical personnel are applying accepted methods and techniques in making IWRM, SLM, BD and SFM assessments that support decision-making by end of project;
- Community-based organizations, schools and other NGO groups are actively engaged in supportive natural resources assessments at the local community level.
Strengthened policy and legislation for the effective management of water, land and ecosystems resources that account for climate change. The following are the anticipated key targets:
- All ten participating countries have attained impactful policy and legislative reforms that support sustainable water, land and ecosystems resources management;
- National development planning strategies and decision making frameworks are broadened with the incorporation of elements of water, land and ecosystems resources management;
- Cooperation amongst national and regional support agencies is strengthened through establishment of joint cooperation agreements.
Strengthened capacity of national and regional institutions and other stakeholders for water, land, and ecosystems management that accounts for climate change. The following are the anticipated key targets:
- Decision making at policy level is supported by improved stakeholder engagement;
- Improvement in the level of technical support from national agencies to stakeholder interests for environmental management;
- Enhanced planning and coordination emerging between regional support organizations;
- Stakeholders are demonstrating empowerment in enhanced capacity for natural resources management through the provision of skills and information.
Improved engagement and information access for practitioners and other stakeholders through targeted knowledge sharing networks. The following are the anticipated key targets:
- Evidence of stakeholders applying knowledge, tools and methods generated by project;
- Technical support agencies are providing enhanced support in sharing information to improve design making;
- There are strengthened linkages amongst practitioners in various fields \"community of practices\" across SIDS regions;
- The project significantly contributes to other global knowledge networks and information clearinghouse mechanisms.
The GEF contribution will lay the basis for continued investment in environmental resource management in Caribbean SIDS building on the lessons from the predecessor GEF-IWCAM Project. The knowledge and experience amassed will allow for the improved targeting of future GEF and other external donor resources in assisting Caribbean countries and SIDS elsewhere in addressing ecosystem degradation.