Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management in Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean


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Project ID

Project Title

Integrating Watershed and Coastal Area Management (IWCAM) in Small Island Developing States of the Caribbean


Focus Areas

Geographic Scope

Lead Organization(s)

Project Partners



Total: $5,742,623;

Sources of Financing: Global Environment Facility (GEF)


2006 - 2011



Project website(s)




Project History

Caribbean countries occupy a region of the world in which providing adequate supplies of freshwater presents a substantial challenge to governments. In many countries, the annual per capita freshwater availability falls far below the 1,000 cubic meter commonly used to measure scarcity. In addition, the region has a poor track record of water resource management within the watershed and with respect to groundwater supplies. The particular geography of Caribbean small island states also makes them all watersheds. In fact, the nexus between the watershed and the coastal area is such that the impact of activities on one is felt on the other. Lack of appropriate management is affecting the sustainability of the water resource itself as well as the associated biodiversity in the watershed and coastal zone, and is contributing to land degradation. Furthermore, consequences of an unsatisfactory or inadequate management approach is having, and will continue to have, severe environmental impacts on key economic sectors such as agriculture and tourism. The impact on human health is significant in terms of poor water quality or an inadequate supply of water contributing to the increase in the incidence of water borne diseases and a general negative impact on health and sanitation. The future sustainability of the islands and the general health and well-being of the population are dependent on an integrated management approach to watersheds and coastal areas. This approach can produce benefits in other areas, especially biodiversity, climate change and land degradation.

The Integrated Watershed and Coastal Area Management (IWCAM) concept and approach provides a framework for countries to better address environmental management challenges that they face. To this end, the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) developed the Regional Project on Integrated Watershed and Coastal Areas Management (IWCAM) in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) over a period of 6-8 years, starting in 1998, through a thorough consultative process in 13 countries of the Caribbean region. The Project went through two Block-B Phases, starting in 2000. At the end of the First Block-B Phase, the Scientific, Technical & Advisory Panel (STAP) reviewed the Full Brief in March 2002. Based on the STAP Review, the GEF Secretariat supported a Second Phase in order to elaborate Demonstration Project for inclusion in the Full Project Brief. These Demonstration Projects were developed by 2003. Eventually the Full Project was approved by the GEF Council in May 2004. Project documents were finalised by UNDP and UNEP, as the Implementing Agencies, in 2005. The Country launches of the project started in mid-2005 and continued into 2006. Full project implementation began in May of 2006 when the Project Coordination Unit (PCU) was established at the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute and a Regional Project Coordinator (RPC) was hired. The First Steering Committee meeting was held on June 4, 2006, at which time the Work Programme and Budget were approved.

A recent modification to the project has seen the inclusion of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) as a co-executing agency for the Demonstration Projects.


The overall objective of the IWCAM Project is to strengthen the commitment and capacity of the participating countries to implement an integrated approach to the management of watersheds and coastal areas. The long-term goal is to enhance the capacity of the countries to plan and manage their aquatic resources and ecosystems on a sustainable basis. Thirteen countries are included in the Project and these countries, by being involved in the Project have agreed to adopt IWCAM as a management approach. As such they will be required to re-orient their systems and mechanisms as well as address the issue of policy and legislative re-alignment to fully mainstream IWCAM at the national level. While support and resources will be provided by the Project, the commitment and support will be required at the regional and national levels to effect IWCAM as a “way of doing business”.

The IWCAM Project has 5 major components:

  • Demonstration, Capture and Transfer of Best Practice
  • Development of IWCAM Process, Stress Reduction and Environmental Status Indicator Frameworks
  • Policy, Legislative and Institutional Reform for IWCAM
  • Regional and National Capacity Building for IWCAM
  • Project Management and Coordination

Expected Outcomes

Achievements: Results and Impact

Lessons for Replication



See also

External Resources


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