Marc Wilson and Dr. Delfin Ganapin in Fiji
Marc Wilson (Pacific IWRM) and Dr. Delfin Ganapin (GEF SGP)
Media Release: GEF SGP-Pacific IWRM Partnership
GEF Small Grant Programme partners with Pacific IWRM for strengthened community action on water issues in the Pacific Islands
Suva, 2nd March 2012: Supporting community empowerment and enabling community based organisations and NGOs to guide activities that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing their well-being and livelihoods is the very essence of sustainable development.
This was the message given this week by Dr Delfin Ganapin, Global Manager of the Global Environment Facility’s Small Grant Programme (GEF SGP) at a signing of a joint communiqué to officially launch a partnership between GEF SGP and the GEF supported Pacific Integrated Water Resources Management Project (Pacific IWRM).
The partnership aims to strengthen community involvement in integrated water resource management in the Pacific to improve implementation of “Community to Cabinet” approaches to water and wastewater management from “Ridge to Reef” and thereby also improve community resilience and environmental outcomes for many small islands.
“What we hope this partnership will do is better enable community based and civil society organisations to undertake activities that strengthen and complement the wider work of the Pacific IWRM project,” Dr Ganapin said. “Active community participation instils a sense of ownership, fosters understanding and increases the capacity of people to deal with the issues that affect them on a daily basis.”
“I hope that our partnership with the Pacific IWRM project will result in strengthened coordination of actions and activities at local, regional and international levels to enhance the effectiveness of IWRM. Small Island Developing States in other regions, including the Caribbean and the Atlantic and Indian Oceans will also be able to learn from experiences here in the Pacific.”
Marc Wilson, Regional Project Manager for the Pacific IWRM project, said being able to support increased community involvement in national demonstration projects was key to the project’s success and in sustaining community and environmental benefits.
“Many times communities are left out of big projects, either due to lack of funds, capacity, or through poor planning,” Mr Wilson said. “Our partnership with GEF SGP will help to identify and develop community level actions to bring more civil society influence to ongoing national and regional level reforms in the water and sanitation sector.”
“There are many needs and opportunities for community based projects to help with pressing water and sanitation issues in Pacific Islands,” Mr Wilson said. “The types of initiatives GEF SGP can support include efforts to help communities in the Laura area of Majuro Atoll better manage their use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides above the critically important Laura Water Lens. Another example could be a small project to help farmers in Fiji’s Nadi Catchment use land in a way that doesn’t exacerbate flooding problems. Often these community initiatives can have significant influence on policies and laws by showing decision makers the positive benefits of local action.”
The Pacific IWRM project entitled “Implementing Sustainable Water Resource and Wastewater Management in Pacific Island Countries” is a regional project to build the capacity of Pacific Island countries to manage water resources. 13 national demonstration projects are being run in 12 Pacific countries to show the practical benefits of integrated water resources and wastewater management.
The project is executed regionally through the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Applied Geoscience and Technology Division (SOPAC). In partnership with SOPAC, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are implementing agencies for the project. More details are available at www.pacific-iwrm.org.
The GEF SGP channels financial and technical support directly to Civil Society Organisations and Community Based Organisations for activities that conserve and restore the environment while enhancing people's well-being and livelihoods. SGP supports activities in support of the GEF priorities of biodiversity conservation, abatement of climate change, protection of international waters, prevention of land degradation, and elimination of persistent organic pollutants.
Contact: Tiy Chung, SOPAC Communications Advisor, Phone: +679 338 1377 (ext 290) or Mobile: +679 998 7586