09 May 2016 - 13 May 2016
Negombo, Sri Lanka

"From Source to Sea and Beyond" - 8th GEF Biennial International Waters Conference 2016 (IWC8 2016)

IIASA Water Research Scholar Peter Burek to open the discussion on Inter-sectoral Mechanisms for Water Cooperation Across Levels: Incorporating Tools for Change in the Strategic Action Programme Process by presenting latest research findings on water futures and solutions in the Asian Region at the 8th GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC8 2016), taking place in Negombo, Sri Lanka from 9-13 May 2016.

 © iwlearn | thegef

© iwlearn | thegef

The 8th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC8 2016), will take place Negombo, Sri Lanka, from May 9-13, 2016 organized by the Global Environment Facility. The general objective of the conference, as with prior International Waters Conferences is to facilitate cross-sectoral and portfolio-wide learning and experience sharing. 


The GEF and the GEF International Waters Focal Area:

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 member governments—in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector—to address global environmental issues. An independent financial organization, the GEF provides grants to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. These projects benefit the global environment, linking local, national, and global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable livelihoods.

GEF Biennial International Waters Conference:

The GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC) is the signature learning event for the GEF IW portfolio. The IWC objectives are to facilitate cross-sectoral and portfolio-wide learning and experience sharing. They strive to solicit advice from the existing GEF IW portfolio on burning issues, and to assist in building participant capacity in key management and technical areas. Participants sum up progress achieved and also look to the future of programming within and beyond the GEF IW focal area.

The United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has set a new development agenda for the 2015 to 2030 period. While GEF IW investments directly or indirectly tie into each of the 17 SDGs and 168 targets, two SDGs—Ensure access to water and sanitation for all and Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources—are of particular relevance to the GEF’s IW investments. With the new global development commitments in mind, IWC8 is organized under the theme Scaling Up GEF IW Investments from Source to Sea and Beyond in the Context of Achieving the SDGs, with learning tracks devoted to catalyzing transformation and scaling up investments; strengthening governance processes to sustain project interventions; and data to policy. (http://iwlearn.net/abt_iwlearn/events/conferences/iwc8-2016)

8th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC8 2016)

Theme of the IWC8 2016:

8th Global Environment Facility (GEF) Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC8 2016) is organized under the theme “Scaling Up GEF International Waters Investments from Source to Sea and Beyond in the Context of Achieving the SDGs”.
While source to sea will be an overall theme of the conference, multiple sub-themes will also receive attention, including, inter alia, the water-energy-food nexus; data and information management; approaches to private sector engagement; gender mainstreaming; catalyzing sectoral transformation; strengthening transboundary waters governance, including the links to regional investments; and scaling-up project investments.

Participants of the IWC8 2016:

About 300 participants, from GEF IW project managers, representatives of beneficiary countries, non-governmental organizations, transboundary management institutions, UN Agencies to the private sector. The participants represent about 90 active GEF IW projects, 80 countries and the various GEF Agencies. Participants are invited by the GEF Agencies implementing GEF IW projects.

Structure of the IWC8 2016: 

IWC8 will feature training sessions on key management and technical areas, such as the preparation of transboundary diagnostic analyses and strategic action programmes; gender mainstreaming; the water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus; project management; water diplomacy; economic valuation; areas beyond national jurisdiction; small island developing states; and conjunctive management. Technical site visits will highlight a range of water management challenges faced by Sri Lanka, and traditional and new approaches to combat these challenges. The technical site visit programme will feature in-country tours to various GEF IW projects and non-GEF water management projects under implementation, and to private sector facilities. A gala event will celebrate 25 years of GEF investments in IW.

Following the conference, an international roundtable, Partnering with the Private Sector for Sustainable Financing from Source to Sea, will bring together a range of IW stakeholders to examine how IW partnerships between the private sector and countries, joint water management commissions, civil society, donors, marine management entities and regional organizations can be established. The international roundtable will help coordinate efforts among UN Agencies, international financing institutions and NGOs toward a coherent and tangible approach to private sector engagement in source to sea management, as well as the interface of these actors with private sector companies, banks and other private actors for sustainable investments, with the new global development commitments in mind.

For more information and the Agenda of IWC8:

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Last edited: 27 October 2016


Peter Burek

Research Scholar Water Security Research Group - Biodiversity and Natural Resources Program

Recent WFaS Publication

Modeling global water use for the 21st century

IIASA-GEF Partnership

IIASA has worked with the GEF on various projects and is a strong partner in the areas of Integrated Solutions for Water, Energy, and Land project and Energy Access

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