This publication reviews the results achieved by the GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) in international waters in the last five years (2011-2016). During this time, SGP supported 265 communities and civil society organizations in 83 countries to avoid or reduce 167,199 tons of wastefrom entering waterbodies; and supported the sustainable management of 164,169 hectares of marine and coastal areas and fishing grounds, and 264,822 hectares of river and lake basins through community interventions. In addition to direct global environmental benefits, SGP has worked to change the attitudes and behaviours of local communities and helped them adopt good practices, influence government policy and catalyse further investment in environment and sustainable development. Such indirect global environmental benefits are often manifested in the process of scaling up, which takes different forms and follows different processes in different project contexts.
Since 1992, SGP has funded 1,027 community projects with approximately $26 million invested in GEF funding and having generated an additional $38 million in co-financing for the protection of international waters. SGP’s international waters portfolio has focused on addressing issues and priorities identified in SAPs. While the overall level of funding is modest when viewed globally and cumulatively over time, the impact of these SGP projects stretches across many regions and relates to many waterbodies and critical ecosystems.
Scaling up means expanding, adapting and sustaining successful policies, programs and projects in different places and over time to reach a greater number of people (Hartmann and Linn, 2008). SGP has worked with a number of GEF full-sized projects to enhance coordination and linkages for scaling up. These projects include UNEP-GEF South China Sea Project, UNEP IW Eco project in the Caribbean, UNDP East Asian Seas PEMSEA project, World Bank led Nile Transboundary Environmental Action Project, UNDP Pacific Integrated Water Resource Management Project, and UNEP Wiolab project and others. From SGP’s experience, scaling up, replication, and mainstreaming of project benefits can be achieved through the following mechanisms:
- Selection of projects with geographic focus and planned activities in support of the implementation of the regional international waters Strategic Action Programmes
- Development of joint projects with partners at local, national, regional and global levels
- Promotion of synergies, linkages and partnerships
- Advocating to influence or change government policy
- Transforming community thinking, attitudes and behaviors through knowledge sharing, learning, and networking
The ten cases in the publication demonstrate that small scale actions by communities, coupled with efforts of governments, the private sector, donors and other key stakeholders, can lead to achievement of results at a greater scale beyond the originally targeted communities. As the different cases will show, these community projects have led to continuing action beyond the time-frame of the initial projects, often to investment of further resources and funding, as well as in some cases to implementation of policy change and mainstreaming of critical environmental management measures.