International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

"Sustaining International Waters Cooperation"

The Ninth GEF Biennial International Waters Conference, as with prior IW Conferences, will be a signature learning event for the GEF IW focal area. It will be an interactive training and experience-sharing event during which the participants will not only sum up the progress achieved but also will look into the future of programming within and beyond the focal area. It will take place from 5-8 November.

The GEF and the GEF IW Focal Area

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) ( unites 183 member countries—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, land degradation, the ozone layer, persistent organic pollutants, and international waters. These projects benefit the global environment, linking local, national, and global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable livelihoods.

The GEF International Waters (IW) focal area targets transboundary water systems, such as shared river basins, lakes, groundwater and Large Marine Ecosystems. The cumulative 27-year GEF IW portfolio consists of 359 projects with about US$1.9 billion of GEF grants and $12.6 billion in co-finance invested in more than 170 GEF recipient countries. Since the inception of the GEF in 1991, the IW portfolio has delivered substantive results and replicable experiences to be scaled up and mainstreamed globally.

GEF Biennial IW Conferences

The GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC) is the signature event of the GEF IW Portfolio. The IWC objectives are to facilitate cross-sectoral and GEF IW 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 look to the future of programming within and beyond the GEF IW Focal Area. The eight previous conferences were held in Sri Lanka, Barbados, Croatia, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, China, and Hungary.

IWC9 will convene about 300 participants—comprising GEF IW project managers, representatives of beneficiary countries, non-governmental organizations, transboundary management institutions, UN Agencies and the private sector—in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 5-8 November 2018. Collectively, the participants will represent 84 active GEF IW projects, 80 countries and the various GEF Agencies.

Conference Structure

Conference Structure IWC9 will feature visionary speakers, project learning clinics and campfire chats, participant-led workshops, lightning talks, small roundtable discussions, and a film festival. Technical site visits to various GEF IW projects and non-GEF water management projects under implementation, and to private sector facilities, will highlight a range of water management challenges faced by Morocco, and traditional and new approaches to combat these challenges. A gala event will celebrate GEF IW Portfolio achievements.

IWC9 is organized under the theme Sustaining International Waters Cooperation, with discussion tracks devoted to building traction of the GEF’s foundational methodology, the Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis-Strategic Action Programme process, toward 2030 and beyond; to employing practices and tools for more informed decisions and better management of systems; and to incorporating transformational solutions for ensuring long-term sustainability of ongoing and new interventions.

IWC9 Agenda at a Glance

IWC9 Features

IWC9 will feature visionary speakers, campfire-chart style learning clinics, participant-led workshops, lightning talks, small roundtable discussions, and a film festival. A gala event will culminate the conference.

Important Dates

Registration Opens 10 September 2018
Closure of Registration 26 October 2018
Pre-Conference Workshops 3-4 November 2018
IWC9 5-8 November 2018
Technical Site Visits 6 November 2018
Gala Event 8 November 2018

Contact us!

For all questions, please contact Conference Secretariat

For more information on the eight previous IWC's, please visit