Main Issue

More than one-third of the world’s population lives within 100 km of the coast or estuaries, which are a major source of food and raw materials. Each year, roughly 50 million people move into these coastal zones, benefiting from access to trade and transport.

Our coastal resources are limited, however, and the economic activities that compete for these vital resources are leading to more and more conflict. Fish farmers and tourist operators, for example, are competing for prime coastal space. Read more+

What We Do

The GEF has responded to requests for assistance in integrated coastal management (ICM) across the globe — from the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean, West and East Africa and the Caribbean. In East Asia, the International Waters (IW) focal area has helped countries to manage their burgeoning coastal growth before negative impacts and conflicts become irreversible. In addition, the GEF has invested in a large number of marine protected areas, primarily through the Biodiversity focal area. Read more+


International Waters strategic investments have supported Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) to work with local and national governments, private sector, scientific institutions and other key stakeholders. Together, they apply integrated coastal management (ICM) solutions in dozens of sites across East Asia, impacting more than 30,000 km of coastline and some 150 million people living in watershed and coastal areas. Read more+