Main Issue

Freshwater resources are essential for producing food, power industry, quench our thirst and support ecosystems. Likewise marine ecosystems provide food resources, protect our shorelines, provide recreation, and support essential biodiversity

Water resources do not respect national borders; more often than not, several nations are sharing a common water ecosystem, such as a groundwater aquifer, a lake, river, wetland, or marine ecosystem. Consequently, ensuring sustainability of these common resources requires close collaboration across governments and across sectors. Read more+

What We Do

The GEF attends to a unique demand in the global water agenda: fostering transboundary cooperation and building trust between states that often find themselves locked in complex and long-lasting marine resource and/or freshwater-use conflicts. Through the International Waters (IW) focal area, the GEF helps countries jointly manage their transboundary surface water basins, groundwater basins, and coastal and marine systems. Working collectively, countries can better use and share benefits from these water systems, and implement the policy, legal and institutional reforms and investments needed for sustainable use and maintenance of ecosystem services. Read more+


The GEF is the largest funding mechanism for multi-country collaboration on water and oceans with 156 GEF recipient countries and 24 non-recipient countries working together to manage their transboundary water resources. Countries participating in GEF International Waters (IW) projects have negotiated and agreed on numerous regional cooperation frameworks, treaties, or protocols, ranging from cooperation on shared freshwater resources to agreements on marine resources. 

The GEF IW investments facilitate integrated cross-sectoral approaches that engage the private sector, non-governmental organizations and multilateral institutions. They are designed to work at multiple scales — from village chiefs to cabinet ministers — and across the entire watershed from ridge to reef. Read more+