GEF Launches Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management

9 February 2012: The Global Environment Facility's Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (GEF-CReW) was formally launched at an inception seminar and initial meeting of its Project Steering Committee (PSC). The PSC endorsed the project's work plan and budget, monitoring and reporting requirements, and made several recommendations. The meetings were held back-to-back from 7-9 February 2012, in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Official Launch and Wastewater Management Seminar recommended, inter alia: giving high priority to wastewater policy, legal and institutional reforms; providing information on wastewater treatment (WWT) technologies, particularly on-site systems; stressing pollution registers and assessments of wastewater sources; incentives programs for industries to implement WWT systems; seeking more sources of financing for the project, such as national development cooperation agencies, or the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA); and exploring the possibility of Caribbean Development Bank funding for pilot projects in countries not belonging to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The terms of reference also were discussed, but will be amended based on comments made at the meeting and written submissions from PSC members, taken until 20 February 2012.

CReW is funded by GEF for four years and co-implemented by the IDB and UNEP's Caribbean Regional Coordinating Unit (CAR/RCU). The project covers Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. UNEP reports that 85 percent of wastewater entering the Caribbean Sea remains untreated and contributes significantly to the degradation of the marine environment in the Caribbean. [IISD RS Sources]