GIWA in depth - What will GIWA accomplish?

UNEPGEFUniversity of Kalmar
What will GIWA accomplish?

The Global International Waters Assessment is intended as an effective means of developing well-targeted practical proposals for incremental cost funding. GEF has based its decision to fund the assessment on the fact that there is a necessity for a region-by-region assessment of water systems which, taken together, would place these issues within a global context.

The objective is to produce a comprehensive and integrated global assessment of international waters. It will encompass the ecological status, and causes of environmental problems of international waters - marine, coastal and freshwater areas; surface waters as well as groundwaters. It will be a profoundly interdisciplinary study aiming at bridging social and physical science and integrating seas, coastal areas and associated land catchment areas.

The overall objective is to develop a comprehensive strategic assessment that may be used by GEF and its partners to identify priorities for remedial and mitigatory actions in international and transboundary shared water bodies, designed to achieve significant environmental benefits at national, regional and global levels.

The Global International Waters Assessment will address the scientific gap by assessing the key issues and problems facing the aquatic environment. The assessment will focus on the problems of shared waters. Causal chain analyses will be an essential tool used to identify and better understand the links between perceived problems and their societal root causes.

The Global International Waters Assessment is designed not merely to analyze the current problems but to develop scenarios of the future condition of the world's water resources and analyze policy options.

Ultimately, the aim is to provide sound scientific advice to decision-makers and managers concerned with water resources and dealing with global environmental problems and threats to transboundary water bodies.

The assessment will be undertaken from the perspectives of water quality and quantity; associated biodiversity and habitats, and their use by society; the societal causes of the regionally identified issues and problems; and scenarios of future conditions based on projections of demographic, economic and social changes associated with the process of human development.

GIWA should make a major contribution to policies and actions that will lead to protection and more sustainable use of international waters. The GIWA products are expected to represent the most objective comprehensive assessment of transboundary water issues, and their societal root causes, conducted so far:
  • Strategic assessments of ecological status of transboundary waters for the use of the GEF and co-operating donors at a programmatic level through the provision of an assessment of ecological priorities at the regional and global scales concerning issues and problems in the focal area of international waters.
  • Provision of a framework for GEF projects to decide upon appropriate management interventions, including remedial and mitigatory actions in international waters, of value to GEF, regional international organisations, and governments participating in the GEF.
  • Identification of more sustainable approaches to the use of water and its associated resources, at national, regional and local levels.
  • Protocols for making causal chain and transboundary diagnostic analyses for use in GEF International Waters Projects by the implementing agencies.
  • A considerable increase in leveraged co-financing as a result of improved focusing and credibility of future interventions and projects.
  • A baseline of information at the regional and sub-regional level which will facilitate the regional task of preparing transboundary diagnostic analyses within new projects and improve the capacity to evaluate projects underway or within the GEF framework.

GIWA Products

Consistent efforts will be made to communicate effectively both with the global water community and with the general public. Throughout the work period, information and analyses will be produced in a variety of forms, and disseminated widely by various means such as the Internet, CD-ROMs and when deemed necessary in print.

Through the work of GIWA, basic and currently unavailable information will be provided and made available to the general public, as a means to help foster a greater understanding of the severity of environmental problems in international waters, their societal causes and the options available for solving them.

The material generated will be of great potential use to public education programmes, including formal education. Special care will be taken to present the results of GIWA in a manner which is readily accessible and understandable to the public, as well as through the strictly technical formal reports.

GIWA will rely heavily on the use of modern state-of-the-art technologies for continuous dissemination of information about the various activities and for communicating the results.

The GIWA web site, will possibly, be the most important tool in this respect. It will make enable a wide audience to follow the progress of work, to access the GIWA documents, to get the most recent information from GIWA subregions, and to communicate with the GIWA Core Team, Thematic Task Teams, Megaregional Task Teams, and Focal Points for the subregions.

Considering the many different target groups and stakeholders concerned, the various and sometimes complex GIWA products need to be tailored to the specific needs of each recipient - the scientific community, policy-makers and decision-makers, the private sector, the public and the media, etc.

GIWA products will include:

  • The Global International Waters Assessment,
    a comprehensible and illustrated report, comparable to the assessments already made for biodiversity, climate and stratospheric ozone.

  • Products at the scientific-technical level
    • A comprehensive bibliography and meta-data catalogue of already completed global and regional programmes related to international waters.
    • GIWA Assessment Protocol, including an agreed methodology for making causal chain analyses to examine societal causes of water-related environmental problems.
    • An agreed methodology for making transboundary diagnostic analyses at regional scales.
    • 66 subregional and 9 megaregional reviews of the ecological status of transboundary waters and major water-related issues, including analyses of their societal causes.
    • Guidelines for the preparation of causal chain analyses.

    • Global thematic reviews.

    • Megaregional and subregional scenarios for the future state of international waters based on planning boundaries, trends and rates of change in industrialisation, population growth and development.
    • A global analysis of the societal causes of identified major water-related concerns and principal issues; and a global overview of the relative importance of the various major concerns and principal issues by region.
    • GIWA reports, databases and information sources available on the Internet and on CD-ROM.

  • Products for the educational sector and the public
    • Popular information, plain-language technical reports.
    • Popular educational and information materials specific to the megaregions and subregions.
    • GIWA educational CD-ROM.
    • GIWA contribution to the UNDP/IW-Learn Project web site.

Global International Waters Assessment, GIWA
SE- 391 82 Kalmar, Sweden
Phone: +46- 480 44 60 00. Fax: +46- 480 44 73 55.

page last modified on 22 August 2006