The GEF International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:LEARN) is a knowledge management and learning project that has been supported by the GEF since 2000 in various tranches. It is a community of practice and knowledge platform that promotes experience sharing and learning globally among GEF-financed international waters (IW) projects, country officials, implementing agencies, and other partners.

With more than US$1.6 billion invested across 230 IW projects in 170 countries, it is critical for the GEF to share learning from its investments and replicate project successes and impacts on an even larger scale. Thus, the overall goal of IW:LEARN is to strengthen transboundary water management around the globe by collecting and sharing good practice approaches, lessons learned, and innovative solutions to common problems. IW:LEARN also aims to strengthen the GEF IW portfolio as a whole by promoting dialogue, knowledge sharing, and replication among projects.

IW:LEARN functions as a knowledge-sharing and exchange hub to facilitate experiential learning and address issues faced by one project that might have been resolved by another GEF project (or outside the GEF IW community). IW:LEARN also aids in linking and sharing internal IW learning and knowledge management efforts across GEF agencies and focal areas. In order to foster transboundary and South-South cooperation among projects and partners within a region, IW:LEARN helps convene and support regional dialogue processes. To date, IW:LEARN has supported several regional dialogue processes in Africa, the Caribbean, and Eastern and Southeastern Europe. IW:LEARN also provides travel support to selected GEF IW projects for participation in IW-pertinent global policy dialogues. The GEF IW project representatives contribute practical experience and results, and simultaneously benefit from knowledge and networking in international consultative processes such as the World Water Forum, Committee on Sustainable Development, Nitrogen Initiative, UNICPOLOS, Nairobi Work Programme, UN Water Decade, and others.

The IW:LEARN website serves as the premiere archive and data collection service for the GEF IW focal area. To facilitate knowledge management, the website hosts targeted knowledge-sharing tools for practitioners and the wider public. These tools include projectrelated information, contacts, and more than 7,000 documents, including Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis, Strategic Action Programmes, experience and results notes as well as activity reports, news releases and event announcements. In addition, outputs from major international forums such as GEF IW conferences (IWC) and UN Water Platforms, guidance, and knowledge products, and other water-related learning materials are freely available. The website hosts the unique Portfolio Visualization Tool and Portfolio Results Archive that allow the impacts of GEF interventions across the world to be quickly discovered and analyzed. The IW:LEARN electronic forums serve as a vehicle for IW job postings and requests for assistance.

Project Details (5 projects):

  • Amount of GEF Financing: US$20 million
  • Duration of Project Implementation: 2000–present
  • Implementing Agency: United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)