Aquatic ecosystems face unprecedented threats. Ocean ecosystems are facing multiple pressures, ranging from climate change and acidification to pollution, habitat loss, and excessive fishing. Freshwater ecosystems face multiple stresses. These range from alteration to the hydrological cycle due to climate change to over-abstraction and pollution of surface and groundwater. These stresses threaten water security for people and nature and contribute to an alarming loss of freshwater biodiversity.

The GEF’s International Waters (IW) focal area has a unique mandate—to support transboundary cooperation in shared marine and freshwater ecosystems. It is the world’s largest funding mechanism for multi-country collaboration on freshwater and the ocean, with GEF recipient countries and non-recipient countries working together on this critical issue.

The GEF-8 IW strategy has three objectives that collectively aim to improve cooperative management in 40 new and existing shared water ecosystems contributing to water security, decreased pollution and more sustainable uses of water and related natural resources; improve management of at least 100 million ha of newly created and existing marine protected areas; improve practices to benefit biodiversity in a further 70 million ha of marine habitats; and move at least 2.1 million metric tons of global overexploited marine fisheries to more sustainable levels.

GEF Updates

Subscribe to our distribution list to receive the GEF Newsletter.

Sign up