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Participation in International Water Science Conference (IWSC) 2012

The first Global Environment ‘GEF International Waters Science Conference 2012’ (GEF IWSC 2012) was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 24-26 September 2012. The three days conference provided a science-policy interface to strengthen the role of science in the management of water systems at the global, regional and local level.

The focus was on emerging issues and critical challenges, and highlighting the scientific findings of GEF International Waters (IW) projects. It included a special series of plenary sessions on the specific water body types, a science to policy plenary session, parallel thematic and science to policy working groups, a concluding session, and a poster exhibition.

The conference program was integrative in nature, linking different scientific disciplines with different levels of decision making and thereby improving the science to policy interface. This offered the opportunity to look at different water body types (aquifers, large marine ecosystems including coastal zones and the open oceans, rivers and lakes) as well as science to policy themes (the role of IW science in support of regional cooperation, analysis, progress monitoring and indicator development, effective knowledge mobilization and the science policy interface in general).

The GEF TDA/SAP process was identified to be an appropriate tool for enabling informed science-based transboundary water body management and linking science to policy. The GEF IW focal area is currently shaping in the way to provide projects with more scientific guidance and advice on emerging issues. Within the discussion the Scientific Evidence Panels (including cooperation with the wider scientific community) were often recommended to be considered where beneficial to the implementation of project interventions.

The full IW project cycle was recommended to be based on sound scientific evidence and use of state of the art knowledge products and ensure that documentation (including data), access, dissemination and archiving of scientific results facilitate future ex-ante impact monitoring and assessment. This will assist reporting to the GEF Council and other GEF stakeholders on environmental and governance/management transformations achieved through the GEF interventions. The GEF IW:LEARN is the platform to capture and process such information.

The recommendations from IWSC 2012 will strengthen the development and implementation of the GEF-6 IW Strategy. GEF agencies should act on Conference recommendations and continue strengthening interaction between GEF IW projects and the scientific community.

The dialogue between scientists, policy makers and project managers initiated in the GEF IWSC 2012 will continue through the GEF IW Conferences as the main fora for GEF IW project stakeholders.

The participants concluded:

  1. That the GEF Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA)/Strategic Action Programme (SAP) process is an appropriate tool for ensuring robust science-based transboundary water body assessment and management, offering a sound methodology for linking science to policy. The GEF IW focal area is currently updating the TDA/SAP methodology in order to provide projects with more scientific guidance and advice on emerging issues, socioeconomic issues and horizon scanning, outcomes of this conference will greatly contribute to this process.
  2. That the establishment of project Scientific Evidence Panels (including cooperation and communication with the wider scientific community) and project Science Policy Fora should be considered where beneficial to the implementation of project interventions. IW:LEARN should study best practices on the establishment of such panels.
  3. That the full IW project cycle should be based on sound scientific evidence (beginning with the best available baseline) and ensure that documentation (including data), access, dissemination and archiving of scientific results facilitate future ex-ante impact monitoring and assessment.  - That this will assist reporting to the GEF Council and other GEF stakeholders on transformations achieved through the GEF interventions. - That the GEF IW:LEARN is the platform to capture and process such information.
  4. That GEF agencies, within their comparative advantage, should act on Conference recommendations and continue strengthening interaction between GEF IW projects and the scientific community.
  5. That GEF IW projects should use the best available scientific information to develop a set of indicators (including processes, stressors and environmental and socio-economic status) and im
  6. That the recommendations from this conference will strengthen the development and implementation of the GEF-6 IW Strategy.
  7. That the dialogue between scientists, policy makers and project managers will continue through the GEF IW Conferences as the main fora for GEF IW project stakeholders.
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