Global Environment Facility International Waters Program
GETF supports the program management of the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) international waters portfolio (estimated value of ~$13 billion) which operates in over 120 countries. For over a decade, GETF has worked with GEF to convene leading stakeholders on a broad range of water-related issues including transboundary management, nutrient reduction, and private sector engagement in driving sustainable solutions. GETF also works with the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA), the only global initiative directly addressing the connectivity between terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems.
In the December 2011 edition of CSA News, GETF Principal Chuck Chaitovitz published an article outlining GETF’s role in nutrient reduction and the need for global assistance in gathering best management practices:
As agricultural production intensifies to meet the demand of population growth expected in the coming decades and the more than 1 billion people that face chronic hunger today, proper nutrient management best practices must be scaled-up to ensure the long-term stewardship, conservation, and sustainable management of our soil health and water resources. The Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF) is supporting the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to develop a global “tool box” of nutrient management best practices. This inventory and analysis activity is intended to help the policy makers and small farmers in the developing world scale-up and implement nutrient management best practices. We are particularly focusing on whole-farm planning and farming practices to promote sustainable nutrient management to secure crop production in the developing regions.
Promoting Replication of Good Practices for Nutrient Reduction and Joint Collaboration in Central and Eastern Europe
The Living Water Exchange – a GEF/UNDP project to promote nutrient reduction best practices in Central and Eastern Europe – will share information and accelerate the replication of the most appropriate nutrient reduction practices to achieve environmental health and significant nutrient reduction in water resources across the region.
GETF, in partnership with the Regional Environmental Center (REC) for Central and Eastern Europe recently completed this two year project to:
- Prevent the resurgence of agricultural and non-agricultural non-point source nutrient releases;
- Identify, capture, analyze and summarize best practices and technologies to reduce the impacts of nutrient loading in the region;
- Demonstrate successful replication strategies by facilitating agricultural and wetlands pilot projects and transferring knowledge to policy makers in the region; and
- Disseminate and promote nutrient reduction best practices and successful replication strategies in the region, among key decision-makers, industries, stakeholders and the general public.
Our early analysis has shown the following are the most cost effective best management practices:
- Intensive nutrient management to achieve optimal yields with minimal nutrient inputs is most cost effective. This includes efficient use of manures and maintenance of field and farm level nutrient balance. This tends to be sustainable because it “changes behavior”.
- Cereal grain cover crops to trap residual nitrogen appear cost efficient on an annual basis but must be planted every year so their long term costs are high and their nitrogen trapping benefit goes away in any year they are not planted. In order to be self sustaining, stakeholders must develop systems that trap nitrogen and provide larger return to the farmer.
- Wetlands and buffers have a high implementation cost but usually have lower reoccurring costs so they are cost effective over the long term. They also tend to permanent and thus the most sustainable after they are established but do require some maintenance in early years.
We also have learned that systems of practices rather than individual measures are also most efficient in ensuring real change. View the final report (automatic download) or click here for more information.
Global foundations for reducing nutrient enrichment and oxygen depletion from land based pollution, in support of Global Nutrient Cycle
GETF is also working on a GEF/UNEP project to build capacity at the country level to foster and set in motion effective policy and investment interventions to address the threats to public health, biodiversity and economic growth, caused by nutrient pollution worldwide. This effort will help:
- Identify and foster opportunities which can be applied by countries or scaled up as part of a more concerted national and international effort
- Mainstream best practices and approaches within countries so that effective nutrient management is embedded and benefits realized
GETF’s role is to help develop a global “tool box” of policies, measures and financial instruments that might help policy makers and small holder farmers in the developing world scale-up and implement nutrient reduction best practices. We are particularly focused on low cost interventions, whole farm planning and bringing the farms to scales to address nutrient reduction and production in these developing regions — where can they get the “biggest bang for the buck.”
We welcome any nutrient reduction best practices that you can contribute to this inventory or partnerships to help engage policy makers and farmers on best practice adoption in key nutrient “hot spot” regions worldwide.
Please email Chuck Chaitovitz at email@example.com for more information.
Support for Biennial GEF International Waters Conferences
GETF organized the 4th Biennial Conference that was held in Cape Town, South Africa in August 2007. The event featured water ministers from numerous countries as well as senior leadership from governments, Implementing Agencies (UNDP, UNEP, World Bank) and Executing Agencies (UNIDO, IMO, OAS, NGOs). GETF was engaged in all of the program design, promotion and logistical aspects of the event. GETF has also organized the First, Second and Third Biennial International Waters Conferences held in Budapest, Hungary; Dalian, China; and Salvador, Bahia, Brazil.