Main Issue

Coastal waters are often a repository for a wide range of urban, agricultural, and industrial wastes. Coastal pollution caused by land-based activities is one of the most serious threats to the world’s large marine ecosystems (LMEs), human health and economic prosperity. Today, 44 percent of the world’s population lives within 150 km of a coastline, and two-thirds of the planet’s largest cities are located in low-lying coastal areas. Read more+

What We Do

The GEF recognizes that efforts targeted at prevention, reduction and control of coastal pollution caused by land-based activities are crucial to maintaining the ecological, social, and economic well-being of countries situated along the coasts of the world’s LMEs. The threat from nutrient pollution to coastal zones has historically been one of the priorities within the International Waters (IW) focal area, with a total investment to date of US$422 million leveraging a total of US$4.64 billion from other partners. Read more+


Over the past decades, the GEF has supported several projects to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in some of the world’s most vulnerable water systems — from the Black Sea and Danube Basin to the Mediterranean Sea.

Exciting new projects include the development of man-made wetlands that can mimic nature by filtering and consuming potential pollutants in the wastewater stream. This low-cost technology offers real potential to reduce nutrient pollution, while also reclaiming wastewater for application in agriculture and aquaculture. Because it has lower running costs than conventional wastewater treatment systems, this technology can be ideal for developing countries, particularly in rural areas. Read more+