International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network


IW:LEARN is the Global Environment Facility's (GEF) International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network. The IW:LEARN project was established to strengthen transboundary water management around the globe by collecting and sharing best practices, lessons learned, and innovative solutions to common problems across the GEF International Waters portfolio. It promotes learning among project managers, country official, implementing agencies, and other partners.

The GEF IW:LEARN website serves as the premiere archive and data collection service for the GEF International Waters portfolio. The site makes available case studies and best practices, Transboundary Diagnostic Analyses and Strategic Action Programmes from projects around the world, news and events related to International Waters, and targeted knowledge sharing tools to practitioners and the wider public. The GEF IW:LEARN website also hosts a unique Portfolio Visualization Tool and Portfolio Results Archive that allows users to quickly discover and analyze the impacts of GEF interventions across the world. Guidance materials, outputs from the biennial GEF International Waters Conferences, and GEF IW:LEARN workshop reports are also made available here to further disseminate the experiences of International Waters projects.

In addition to the website, GEF IW:LEARN supports projects in the GEF International Waters portfolio through the following activities:

Face-to-Face Learning/Dialogue

Portfolio-wide learning: Biennial GEF International Waters Conferences (IWC): the GEF IWCs convene on average 300 participants from about 70 projects and at least 80 countries to share practical experience, apply evolving policies and procedures, address emerging priorities and improve overall project performance.

Project-Project Learning Exchanges / Twinning Exercises: facilitated twinning exercises and multi-day/week interactions among GEF International Waters projects and learning exchange partners address specific, pragmatic International Waters management challenges.

Targeted Training : technical workshops are developed and delivered to address common thematic training and knowledge-sharing needs for groups of GEF International Waters projects.

Regional Dialogue Processes: to foster transboundary and South-to-South cooperation among projects and national partners within a geographic region, financial and technical assistance to GEF International Waters projects and partners helps convene and support regional dialogue processes.

Global Dialogue Participation: Provision of travel support enables selected GEF IW projects to participate in IW-pertinent global policy dialogues to build partnerships and share IW results.

Data and Information Management

Technical Support Services: services include website development, hosting, establishment, facilitation, use of the GEF IW:LEARN website toolkit, and specialized assistance in developing and deploying tools such as GIS and visual data or graphics.

Outreach: Information Capture, Synthesis and Dissemination: outreach and communications support and services help to increase awareness, scalability, replication, impact and sustainability of GEF International Waters investments. Production of knowledge-sharing materials includes multimedia products, as well as targeted materials, GEF International Waters Experience Notes (short case studies), and International Waters newsletters.

Portfolio Visualization Tool: the Portfolio Visualization tool makes the results and achievements of the GEF IW project interventions accessible and visible by establishing an online user-friendly archiving platform to systematically preserve project data to develop a portfolio visualization tool to ease the discovery of project activities in given spatial areas. 

Portfolio Results Archive: the Portfolio Results Archive (PRA) is an aggregation of data of individual GEF IW project progress through basic indicators of the GEF IW Tracking Tool, more detailed project results from a collection of other sources (such as Results Notes, Terminal Evaluations, project websites, etc.).

Programmatic Thematic Guidance and Support

TDA/SAP methodology and project management manual: the Project Management Manual is a tool referential guide, addressing every important topic and issue that GEF IW projects must tackle.The TDA-SAP Methodology guides users through the development of these two critical documents in most GEF IW projects.

Support for gender mainstreamingthe IW:LEARN gender partnership is producing guidance and support on  activities that support gender mainstreaming. The aim is to introduce systematic consideration of gender equity, women empowerment, and social inclusion in GEF’s international waters portfolio.

Guidance on private sector engagement: the activity supports the design, implementation and facilitation of regional workshops and the dissemination of digital and hard-copy tools and materials.

Targeted support for the GEF IW freshwater portfolio and partnersGEF IW:LEARN provides support to the surface freshwater portfolio sub-set of the GEF international waters focal area.

Economic valuation: guidelines and a flexible toolbox for a standardized integration of economic values of ecosystem services into the TDA/SAP Process will be developed, building on existing work done within the GEF IW projects and beyond.

TDA-SAP good practices: the guidance will consider good practices with regard to the SAPs that have been more clearly mainstreamed at the national and regional levels. This activity will improve and strengthen the TDA/SAP methodology and provide recommendations for improvement in ecosystem-wide considerations.

Interactive online training courses: the activity will catalyse interactive online training courses.