Experiencesof the GEF IWCAM and GEF
3rd UNESCO / GEF IW:LEARN Groundwater Integration Dialogue:
“Sustaining Networks and Sharing Experiences: The Way Ahead”
7th May 2014
Donna Sue Spencer
Communications Specialist, GEF CReW Project,
GEF IWCAM(2006 – 2011)
To strengthen the capacity of the participating countries to implement an
integrated approach to the management of watersheds and coastal areas. The
long-term goal - to enhance the capacity of the countries to plan and manage
their aquatic resources and ecosystems on a sustainable basis.
Countries – all Small Island Developing States:
Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican
Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the
Grenadines, and Trinidad & Tobago.
UNEP and UNDP
Secretariat of the Cartagena Convention, UNEP CAR/RCU and the Caribbean
Environmental Health Institute
• Created the foundations for the application of the IWCAM approach in
the participating countries.
• Was responsible for strengthening the commitment to IWCAM of
regional project executing organizations, and their capacity to sustain in
time what the project had started.
• Catalyzed the initial replication of best practices across project countries,
was able to foster the replication of successfully tested practices and the
full consideration of lessons learned.
• Contributed to a policy and institutional reform process.
The GEF IWCAM’s 9 Demonstration Projects provided a wealth of experience and lessons learned
in terms of practical approaches to integrated watershed and coastal areas management in SIDS.
The Drivers River Watershed in East Portland, Jamaica, was the pilot of a Watershed Area
Management Mechanism (WAMM) that has since been adopted by the National Environment
Planning Agency for management of all of Jamaica’s watersheds.
• Early development of a Communications Strategy
• Community mobilization
• Early stakeholder involvement
• Capacity building
• Public Education and Awareness
• Pollution and wastewater management
• Governance at community and national levels
• Legislative and policy environment
• Adaptive Management
Wide range of IWCAM resources available: www.iwcam.org
• Internal Communications: in support of Project objectives; personnel
need to be clear on this and agree to key messages.
• Development, in consultation, of Communications & PEO strategy to
guide work of the demos & at regional level. Essential to make sure “all
on same page”. Role of PCU to facilitate rather than filter. Workshops
to build capacity.
• Three tracked approach: public awareness & outreach / behavioural
modification / documentation & communication.
• Differentiation of target publics essential because of Project’s scope.
• Documentation important, underscored by need to convey lessons
learned & good practice from demos.
Why develop a CommStrat?
• Establish a baseline picture of knowledge, attitudes, practices and
• Identify key actors and channels for communications
• Clarify and reinforce project objectives and link communications objectives
to project objectives
• Set achievable project objectives
• Develop useful tools and activities
• identify key indicators
• To help Participating Countries (PCs) develop and implement
• To help the PCU find effective ways of ensuring that key lessons &
best practices were effectively communicated to target audiences
at every level.
• To help national and community level partners break down their
long term objectives into a series of small achievable steps.
• Guide not a Bible – supported by training and consultation.
Effectively adapted by demo managers to suit their contexts.
How IWCAMdocumentedLL and GP
• By Mid-Term Evaluation – recognized reporting scant, drafted approach
to documenting LL & GP; prepared TORs for consultant
• Consultant & PCU refined approach (Experience Notes & Case Studies
using Triple-Bottom Line (TBL) assessment – social, economic and
environmental) – prepared Guidance Document
• Lessons Learned & Good Practices Workshop (sharing and feedback,
• Missions to document LL & GP (CS & Consultant)
• To and fro with demo managers responses
• Development of Case Studies and Experience Notes
• Noting of trends and Critical Success Factors
• Preparation of Documentary / Visual and Audio Public Service
• Develop CommStrat as early as possible
• Identify and consult with stakeholders.
• Take stock of existing resources, strengths and weaknesses
• Consultation processes are important; keep promises and be
• Allocate resources and time for training of personnel in communications
and use of tools (e.g. videotaping, stakeholder management, preparation
and dissemination of media releases).
• Use the in-kind communications resources, such as agencies’ or
ministries’ communications divisions (Ministries, EA and IA).
• Ensure that accurate information, updates and illustrative material is
provided in a timely manner.
• Strategize to ensure dissemination of all printed material (partnerships
to ensure the distribution of the material the way you want it).
• Be prepared to adapt/adjust and modify (time, content and resources).
• Evaluate impacts of activities and products as far as possible (feedback is
needed, make sure you get it).
• Learn from those working on the ground.
• Celebrate achievements and recognize contributions publicly.
CReWongoing: 2011 – 2015
• to provide sustainable financing for the wastewater sector, support
policy and legislative reforms, and foster regional dialogue and
knowledge exchange among key stakeholders in the Wider Caribbean
Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guatemala,
Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines,
Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago
Co-implemented by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
• 2009 World Water Assessment Report showed within WCR
• 85 % wastewater (sewage) untreated
• 51.5 % of household were not connected to WWTP
• < 2 % of urban sewage treated before disposal
• rapidly growing populations
• poor planning,
• inadequate or nonfunctional wastewater treatment systems
It has three interlinked components:
1) Investment and Sustainable Financing – testing individual Pilot Financing
Mechanisms in four of the participating countries: Belize, Guyana, Jamaica
and Trinidad & Tobago;
2) Reforms for Wastewater Management – addressing key capacity constraints
within legal, institutional and policy frameworks; and
3) Communications, Outreach and Training.
Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Survey (KAPS) found:
Widely accepted that there needed to be emphasis on changing attitudes of
decision-makers and increasing public consciousness of wastewater and
CommStrat Consists of five elements:
• Public Relations and Outreach
• Targeting Policy & Decision-Makers and Specific Communities
• Media Sensitization & Capacity Building
• Environmental Education
• Documenting and Recording Lessons Learned and Best Practice
Also an internal communications strategy - particularly important to integrate Component 1: Investment and
Sustainable Financing, as demonstrated by the PFMs, which is being implemented by the IDB, and,
Components 2 and 3, Reforms for Wastewater Management, and Communications, Outreach and Planning,
which are being implemented by UNEP.
• “CReW is an unconventional, regional, policy-oriented, non-reimbursable
technical cooperation that fuses experimentation with financial models,
execution of public works, reform of wastewater policy and alignment
to international norms, institutional strengthening and public outreach
and dissemination within one project. The broad array of project
components is synchronous but non-sequential; the outcomes are
conceptually linked but operationally independent. The diversity of the
thirteen participating countries and the dynamics of working with an
extensive number of autonomous stakeholders exacerbate the project’s
complexity. Project outcomes are highly dependent on the political and
institutional environments in which it operates.”
- Mid-Term Evaluation
• All components have taken longer to get underway than initially planned.
• Two of the four pilot countries have made progress towards establishing
innovative financing mechanisms and should initiate construction on
their first-generation wastewater projects in early 2014.
• The policy reform, capacity building and communications components
are making progress through small-scale financial agreements that will
deliver customized technical support to meet each country’s individual
CReW- Some LessonsLearnedso far…
• Belize - the importance of involving the local stakeholders early in the
process, to assure that local concerns are considered and to help avoid
delays in implementation.
• Belize - offers a useful lesson in adaptive management, by finding a short-
term alternative, without compromising the eventual completion of the
• Guyana - underscores the importance of identifying champions early on and
focusing on public outreach to build awareness to build demand from the
• Public-private partnership is a unique sub-set of local development
financing that requires skills and tools that are not usually available in the
public sector. Executing agencies require specifically adapted technical
assistance and operating policies. Private sector wastewater initiatives
require strong external drivers and regulatory enforcement.
• The importance of raising awareness of the linkages between
wastewater management and its benefits for public health, quality of
life and economic opportunities in particular cannot be underestimated.
Wastewater is truly a forgotten and neglected issue at every level. The
media is an essential primary audience because of its ability to reach
the wider public.
• It is important that wastewater be considered as part of the broader
management of water and to work in collaboration with existing
regional agencies and networks.
• Keeping non-pilot countries engaged requires that they be given
additional attention in the project’s regional components, particularly
by developing small-scale demonstrations or interventions.
CReW– Replication& Sustainability
Re. Sustainable Financing Mechanisms:
“until the revolving funds receive repayments based on user fees or
additional capital infusion from local governments, it is not possible to
assess their replicability and sustainability. “ – view of MTE
Present focus therefore is on:
• Use of facilitation – for the promotion of dialogue , sharing, and reaching
• Capturing lessons learned – Community of Practice being developed.
• Adaptive management
• Lessons learned in Components 2 and 3
Beginplanning your Communications
• GEF International Waters projects have a limited and defined period of
time in which to implement initiatives that are both innovative and have
demonstration value. Ensuring visibility of these projects and ensuring
that the key messages are communicated effectively to the right
audiences require that a Communication and Outreach Strategy be
developed early in order to be effective.
• The development of a Communications Strategy can help to: clarify and
reinforce project objectives; link communications objectives to project
objectives; set achievable project objectives, given available resources,
and develop useful tools and activities to raise awareness
Don’tneglect internalcommunications –
• Don’t take it for granted that everyone is on the same page – Clarity
and agreement on objective/s and main messages is absolutely
• If project partners and actors are to act in concert for the overall
benefit of the projects they need to be communicating with each
other. Facilitate this.
Know your audience
• The conduct of even brief Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Surveys
(the baseline in terms of needs assessment for communications) early in
project implementation would result in more efficient and meaningful
allocation of limited resources.
• Communication activities must always be audience-centered. More
emphasis should be placed on defining different target audiences when
working on the communication and outreach strategy.
The most persuasiveargumentsare:
• Simply communicated - provide simple information on complex
environmental problems for the target audience (whatever the tool e.g.
coastal vulnerability mapping, economic valuation)*
• Of interest to the target audience.
• Scientifically/statistically well-founded.
• Demonstrate cause and effect (do describe consequences).
• Invite action.
*Additional references and resources can always be provided.
• As replication and sustainability of good practices are also important
concerns, an effective Communications Strategy should also be instrumental
in helping to capture and disseminate experience and lessons learned,
particularly given the diverse nature of a project which involves multiple
participating countries, implementing and executing agencies and
• Quality of documentation is essential – of both process and outcome…in a
way that makes sense and makes it possible to codify/describe what is
needed for replication e.g. TBL structure helped; IW EN structure helped.
• Knowledge documents and resources must remain available but this is
about more than setting up a CHM or database; best if resources are
associated with someone / some agency that knows about them…
institutional memory. Don’t let sustainability of your CHM be an
• Teach as you learn / good practices need to be documented, codified, put
into accessible and attractive formats and disseminated – e.g. WWTS and
Vermiculture in IWCAM – How to and Intro manuals
• As confidence grows amongst Demo Managers in day-to-day decision-making,
communication etc. allow adaptation of communications strategy as needed or
practical given overall project deadlines.
• Encourage sharing of lessons learned and good practice amongst demo
managers (technical exchanges, communities of practice etc.)
• Linked to replication and only possible if there is country buy-in.
• In SIDS sustainability is significantly linked to availability of resources to
continue initiatives / good practices etc. e.g. we train technicians, they go
back to their countries or institutions and it is back to business as usual.
We need to find ways to ensure that new skills are actually put into
practice /used. This would be more efficient and result in benefits to the
country in the longer term. Increased capacity must be used to be
• National uptake of policy is essential. E.g. WAMM in Jamaica.
• More likely if people experience the benefits that a particular choice or
action results in.
If we are to change the way things are before it is too late, we must
dedicate more effort, imagination and resourcefulness to
communicating. Everyone in a project needs to be involved and has a
role. There’s no quick-fix – the messages have to be conveyed to many
audiences, and, repeatedly. Our best chance is to get the messages
across in a way that makes sense to those we want to reach, in a way
that helps them make wiser choices. Communicating for change
requires that we be strategic about our communications
from the very beginning.