One of the most remarkable success stories of a GEF investment in water quality improvement and regional cooperation can be found in the Danube and Black Sea region. The Black Sea experienced unprecedented degradation in the 1990s when widespread nutrient loading caused a large dead zone. The main sources of nutrients were runoff from the agricultural sector (fertilizers and livestock waste) as well as domestic and industrial wastes. The Danube River alone contributed 80% of the land-based inorganic nutrients and 50% of the phosphorus loading.
Indonesia has nearly one-eighth of the world’s coral reefs, some 75,000 km2. Coral reef ecosystems serve as essential habitat for many commercially valuable fish species. Coral reefs support artisanal subsistence fishing, commercial fisheries, aquaculture, live reef fish for food industry, recreational fishing, aquarium/marine ornamental trade, and the curio and fashion industries. Coral reef ecosystems account for 30% of Indonesia’s GDP and generate employment for about 20 million people in 67,500 coastal villages (ADB, 2012a).
One of the GEF’s flagship efforts to promote an integrated (Ridge-to-Reef) approach to watershed and coastal area management is Integrating Watershed and Coastal Areas Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (IWCAM), which was implemented by UNEP and UNDP from 2006 to 2012.
The Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem encompasses a marine area of over 6 million km2 between India and Indonesia. It contains important tracts of the world’s most vulnerable marine habitats, including 12% of the world’s coral reefs, 8% of the world’s mangroves, extensive seagrass beds, and large estuaries, which together support some of the most productive fishing grounds on the planet.
The South China Sea and Gulf of Thailand Large Marine Ecosystems are two of the richest shallow water marine biodiversity hotspots in the world. These LMEs contain over 300 hard coral species, 3365 fish species, 45 mangrove species, and nearly two million hectares of mangrove forest — 12% of the world’s total (GEF, 2010). Nearly one-third of the approximately 350 million inhabitants living in the region are dependent on fisheries or marine-related services.
For the 10 years Aitmamat Nazarov worked in the beverage industry of his home country, the Kyrgyz Republic, all he always dreamed of was leading his own beer company.
Today, Nazarov is the CEO of Bear Beer. Thanks to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and EBRD investment, it became the only Kyrgyz company with new, state of the art, greener glass bottling capacity in the Central Asian country.
The Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem
The meeting point between Namibia’s hot desert sands and the cold Benguela ocean current harbours rich biodiversity and some of the most abundant marine life concentrations in the world. The Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem (BCLME) stretches northwards from South Africa, along Namibia’s entire coastline, into Angola.
When we look back at the lessons learned from our decades-long work in biodiversity conservation, the Kihansi Catchment Conservation and Management Project (KCCMP) and its central character, the tiny Kihansi Spray Toad, stand out as an unprecendented success story.
Despite its arid lands, Namibia is rich in biodiversity. To date, it has 20 state-run protected areas comprising nearly 17% of the country's total land area. These protected areas are a centerpiece of Namibia's tourism industry, which in turn sustainably supports the country's economic development.
EXPANDING BEYOND THE CONCEPT OF 'BOUNDARY PROTECTION'
Constructed wetlands are among a suite of technologies that are being tested by GEF International Waters projects around the world to decrease the release of nutrients into fresh and marine water systems. Constructed wetlands provide an economically and environmentally sound alternative to traditional wastewater treatment facilities. Operation and maintenance costs are low and provide additional benefits such as the creation of wildlife habitats for wetland species.