Environment and Energy Cluster LAC.
Home > Water and Oceans

Action Framework




Water and Oceans Governance

International Waters (IW) interventions focus on transboundary water systems, such as river basin where water flows from onecountry to another; multi-country lake basins; groundwater resources shared by several countries; or large marine ecosystems (LME) bounded by more than one country. With the support of UNDP, countries work with their neighbors to modifyMujeres_pescandohumanactivities – including agriculture, industry, mining, water and other resource of extraction, fishing and wastewater management – that place ecological stress on the water systems and degrade them, often affecting their downstream use by another country or community. In this way, water use conflicts can be prevented, security and livelihoods improved, habitats protected, health risks minimized and water resources used sustainably for the benefit of all.



What has been done?

Currently, the UNDP Regional Coordinating Unit (RCU) has five ongoing projects.

Given its international approach, IW projects have enhanced transboundary cooperation to exceptional levels, as in the case of the combined work between Argentina and Uruguay towards the achievement of an ecosystem-based sustainable management of the Rio de la Plata basin (FREPLATA Project). Moreover, the project on the sustainability of the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (CLME) and its adjacent regions counts with the participation of 23 countries of the region, representing the largest number of countries in a GEF project.

All projects have been able to reinforce public and private sector capacities that contribute to reduce water pollution through the development of innovative platforms that enhance collaboration policies amongst these sectors. Likewise, the establishment of basic hydrologic monitoring and knowledge management systems has been accomplished, which allows the exchange of learned lessons and experiences during the process of integral transboundary water resource management.

In general, policies and legislatives reforms have been attained by the acquired commitment of the participant countries. For example, the signed agreements of the 13 countries involved in the Integral Watershed and Coastal Areas Management in the Caribbean Small Island Developing States project, have introduced an ecosystem-based integral management approach in the implementation of development projects.

The projects have been able to establish Marine Protected Areas in different zones of the Humboldt Current Large Marine Ecosystem (HCLME), along the coasts of Peru and Chile. In addition, the well-field area of the Basseterre Valley Aquifer in St. Kitts and Nevis was officially designated as National Park under the National Conservation and Environmental Protection Act. Through these and future designations we aim to assure the conservation and resilience of water ecosystems.


Our Goals

We aim at implementing four (4) additional “International Water” projects in the Region with regard to:

  • Several transboundary river basins and aquifers,
  • Implementing an integrated approach to water, land, and ecosystems services management, as well as the Central American Pacific LME)
  • Implementation of 2 cross-regional initiatives on by-catch reduction
  • Strengthened country capacity for adaptive governance and sustainable resources management in the Southern Atlantic Oceans

Through these projects under execution and in the pipeline, UNDP supports 16 of the region’s countries and 12 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the effort towards improved, sustainable and more resilient aquatic ecosystem and associated resources management.


Our Stories

Sustainable Management of the Shared Living Marine Resources of the Caribbean Large Marine Ecosystem (CLME) and Adjacent Regions

Nios_pescandoMany living marine resources in the Caribbean Region are in crisis. Most of the fishery resources are coastal and intensively exploited by large numbers of small-scale fishers. Furthermore, not only a great portion of the human population in the region lives in coastal communities, but there is also a high dependence on living marine resources for employment and food.

Integrating Watershed and Coastal Areas Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States

Sustainable_bountiful_harvest_on_Sarduy_Farm_Cienfuegos_WatershedThe watersheds and coastal areas of the Caribbean are some of the most diversely rich habitats in the world. Given that the Caribbean Islands are geographically isolated, they are home to a great number of endemic species, where approximately 40% of the plant life in the Caribbean forests is not be found elsewhere in the planet – another reason for the biological importance of the region.

Reducing and Preventing Land-based Pollution in the Rio de la Plata/Maritime Front through Implementation of the FREPLATA Strategic Action Program

Rio_de_la_plata_JPGThe Río de la Plata and its Maritime Front (RPMF) constitutes a transitional water system, whose resources are shared between the Republic of Argentina and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay.

Towards Ecosystem-Based Management of the Humboldt Current Large Marine Ecosystem

Workers_drying_algae_webThe Humboldt Current Large Marine Ecosystem (HCLME) extends along the coast of Peru and Chile. It includes a complex system of currents that holds some the most productive fisheries in the world, therefore representing an important site of biodiversity. Relatively constant winds blowing towards Ecuador produce coastal upwelling zones that extend in a range from 40oS to 4oS.


Programmes and Initiatives related to Water and Oceans