International Waters: learning for change

11 March 2011 | News story

Learning and knowledge exchange on surface water management enables projects to catalyse change in river basin management, governance, planning and investment” said Mark Smith, Director of IUCN Global Water Programme, at the GEF IW:LEARN meeting in Bratislava, 10-11 March 2011.

International Waters' partners are facing an increased urgency to share experiences, given the impact of global financial and trade pressures, and climate variability. The International Water Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:LEARN) project will build on existing activities to address this urgency, with IUCN’s Water and Nature Initiative leading a freshwater community of practice. This will be supported by knowledge management services such as learning exchanges, project twinning, and information management and communication platforms.

In the next 3 years, IUCN will be working to set up a network of Global Environment Facility International Waters (GEF-IW) project managers and stakeholders to act as catalytic coalitions with the aim to promote and apply learning in practice. Learning resources which target different project priorities and themes, such as the WANI toolkits, will be made accessible and communicated to support participants in their activities.

IUCN-WANI was tasked by the GEF to lead on facilitation of structured learning for this project, and information sharing among stakeholders in transboundary water resources. This work builds on previous engagements with the GEF International Waters portfolio.

IW:LEARN is projected to result in an increased capacity among GEF projects in groundwater and surface freshwater systems to replicate their experiences, reduce management costs, enhance integration of surface and groundwater management and increase the science-based understanding of water resources, including the effects of climatic variability and change. Participants will be empowered to implement the change needed to meet their project goals.

GEF is a global partnership among 178 countries, international institutions, non-governmental organization and the private sector, to address global environmental issues whilst supporting national sustainable development initiatives. The GEF International Waters (IW) targets transboundary water systems, such as river basins with water flowing from one country to another, groundwater resources or marine ecosystems shared by several countries.

For more information, please contact stefano.barchiesi@iucn.org