SGP's IW portfolio promotes sustainable international waters management through regionally connected community-based activities. In GEF-5, SGP will focus its IW activities on freshwater surface waterbodies such as rivers and lakes, as well as regional seas and coastal areas. SGP may also pilot community-based underground water management in partnership with other programs and initiatives. Eligible activities for SGP funding may include:
- Conservation and rehabilitation of coastal habitats (mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass and other types of wetlands)
- Fresh water resource use and management;
- Land-based pollution prevention and reduction;
- Sustainable fisheries management;
- Protection and sustainably use of ecosystem services and goods;
- Protection of forests and reforestation in river basins;
- Creation of alternative livelihoods to reduce pressure on fisheries and other natural resources;
- Capacity development and knowledge sharing among communities on water management
In addressing transboundary water issues, the SGP IW focal area establishes systematic linkages with regional mechanisms and fostering inter-community learning through regional communities and non-governmental organization (NGO) networking in connection with GEF full-sized projects' networking of government officials, scientists, experts and technical staff around a transboundary waterbody. SGP takes on regional approaches in IW focal area by promoting a coordinated and focused portfolio in a shared waterbody targeting regionally identified priorities and issues.
For example, in the South China Sea, Between May 2009 and May 2011 a total of 31 projects in six countries were executed under the partnership between SGP and UNEP/GEF South China Sea Project using $554,702 from the SCS Project and $541,574 from the SGP, with a total co-financing of $808,495. In total the SGP projects have brought 2,079 hectares of seagrass, 2,388 hectares of coral reef and 12,618 hectares of mangrove under some form of management; which represents 8%, 4.5% and 0.7% of the 2015 targets of the Regional Strategic Action Programme of the South China Sea.
Some country programs undertook a programmatic approach to developing and implementing international waters projects. In Indonesia, based on the previous successful experiences in coastal environmental management in in Serangan and Les village, Bali, SGP-Indonesia adopted a systematic approach to upscale and replicate the good experience of Bali. An overall planning process was undertaken with seven partners resulting in the coordinated development and implementation of a series of projects in two focus areas: Belitung and Batam. To facilitate the inter-project learning and sharing, a partner was particularly tasked with knowledge manage, technical assistance and networking and training. SGP-Indonesia invested $530,000 together with $540,000 co-financing in coastal marine environment. As a result, 10 hectares of coral reef habitat was conserved. 200,000 square meters of seascape was converted into marine park area. Incidents of illegal fishing were reduced by 50%. More than 60,000 coral reef fragments were planted. 22,664 ha of areas were rehabilitated, with more than 40,000 mangroves replanted. There has been an overall increase in awareness and knowledge about the ecosystem resources, and communities support of sustainable use the coastal resources for non-extraction economic uses including tourism development. Such thematic focused approach to international waters management proved to be highly effective, and should be replicated by other mature country programs.