As national economies develop, river basin water resources are progressively diverted, channeled, dammed and consumed. This creates conflicts over water uses within countries and diminishes potential uses downstream. Many countries use up to 85 percent of their water for irrigation. The drive to produce food and generate foreign exchange from agricultural exports can outweigh environmental and health concerns. Read more+
Drastic changes are needed in how we view such water systems. We need more integrated approaches that work across sectors to respect the multiple uses of water, catchments and floodplains. These approaches need to include reduction of water pollution from toxic substances that impair human and ecosystem health.
What We Do
By taking an integrated water resource management (IRWM) approach, the GEF brings stakeholders together to balance competing water uses and secure local benefits for their communities. Whether it is the Niger River Basin or the Amazon River Basin, GEF projects are helping governments to work together on these important regional issues.
Our approach targets legal, policy and institutional reforms to address priority threats. It supports regional institutional development, provides technical assistance and investments. And it offers a forum for nations to discuss and resolve conflicting views in a transparent manner.
The GEF has invested more than US$1.1 billion investment in more than 50 international waters projects. Through these projects, the GEF and its partners are helping countries on four continents to improve their understanding and shared management of more than 30 lake and river basins. Read more+
Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal launched a basin-wide cooperation program that resulted in a Senegal River Water Charter. The Charter outlines agreed principles for water management and allocation. The GEF played a catalytic role in rebuilding the joint institutional structure for this basin by bringing Guinea — an upstream country — into the fold. The project helped mainstream considerations of the water environment into countries’ water sector operations and produced more participatory processes for joint basin management. Micro grants to protect watersheds and improve water use, for example, generated income in communities, and specifically targeted women’s groups.