GEF Pacific Ridge to Reef Programme

Pacific Islands Ridge-to-Reef National Priorities – Integrated Water, Land, Forest and Coastal Management to Preserve Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, Store Carbon, Improve Climate Resilience and Sustain Livelihoods in Pacific Island Countries

The Heads of States of 13 Pacific SIDS developed and in 1997 endorsed a GEF International Waters Strategic Action Programme (SAP) for Pacific Island Countries. That document identified priority areas for action in the international waters focal area as improved management of ocean and coastal fisheries, integrated watershed and coastal management, and water supply protection. On the basis of the Pacific SAP, the GEF International Waters focal area has subsequently invested in a series of regional initiatives. The first was the UNDP implemented project entitled “Implementation of the Strategic Action Program for the International Waters of the Pacific Small Island Developing States” initiated in 2000 and operated over almost 7 years to 2006.

In light of the critical water resource and sanitation issues facing Pacific SIDS, GEF support in the years following the conclusion of the IWP project has been targeted at improved coordination and planning of water resource and wastewater management to balance overuse and conflicting uses of scarce freshwater resources through the GEF Pacific IWRM Project. The latter was financed by the GEF, implemented by UNDP and UNEP, and executed regionally by the Geoscience Division of the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with 14 Pacific Island Countries.

The GEF Pacific IWRM Project built on achievements of previous investments via a focus on national IWRM demonstration projects aimed at providing an opportunity for participating countries to implement, and experiment with, new management models and methods. The practical on-the-ground solutions to water and sanitation issues demonstrated by the national IWRM projects acted to stimulate support at both community and national government levels for policy reform and the mainstreaming of integrated approaches as part of national sustainable development planning.

The experience and local capacity in integrated environmental and natural resource management generated through the GEF Pacific IWRM project has been recognized both regionally and within the 14 participating Pacific Island Countries as an appropriate entry point for the testing of innovative approaches and measures to integrate land, forest, water and coastal management, including climate change adaptation in Pacific SIDS. In this connection, the GEF multi-focal area, multi-GEF agency programme entitled “Pacific Islands Ridge-to-Reef National Priorities – Integrated Water, Land, Forest and Coastal Management to Preserve Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services, Store Carbon, Improve Climate Resilience and Sustain Livelihoods” (or the GEF Pacific R2R Programme) was developed to provide an opportunity for Pacific SIDS to develop and implement truly integrated approaches for the sustainable development of island economies and communities. Programme activities are organised under the following programme components:

1.    National Multi-Focal Area Ridge-to-Reef Demonstrations in all Pacific Island Countries;
2.    Improved Governance for Integrated, Climate Resilient Land, Water, Forest and Coastal Management
3.    Regional and National/Local Ridge-to-Reef Indicators, Monitoring and Evaluation and Knowledge Management
4.    Regional Programme Coordination