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Integrated coastal management

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Integrated watershed coastal areas management

I. General information

Project initiator: UNEP/GEF, UNDP, CEHI, RAC/RCU, UNOPS

Project objective: To help small insular Caribbean states adopt an integrated approach for the coastline and catchment area management.

Participating countries: Antigua-and-Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago

Funding: GEF

Amount: 112 M US $ including 14 M $ from the GEF

Timetable : 5 years (start: 2nd quarter 2005)



Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (CEHI)
 The Morne
 P.O. Box 1111 Castries
 Saint Lucia
 Tel.: 758 452-2501, 452-1412
 Fax: 758 453-2721

Mr Vincent Sweeney, GEF-IWCAM Regional Project Coordinator


II. Description

In small island developing states (SIDS) in the Caribbean, the high population density combined with a high demographic growth and constantly-increasing urbanisation (in particular the development of tourist hotels and sites), has led to the contamination of water tables and surface water, as well as the deterioration of the quality of coastal waters. 

The IWCAM project, currently counting 13 member states, was approved by the GEF in May 2004, and began in the 2nd quarter of 2005 for a total period of 5 years. The project coordination unit, located within the offices of the CEHI (Caribbean Environmental Health Institute) in Castries, Ste Lucia, was created in 2006 when the project coordinator, took up his post.

The CEHI and UNEP-RAC/RCU are the two institutions in charge of carrying out this project.

THE IWCAM project’s general objective is to consolidate the commitment and capacity of participating countries to implement an integrated approach in the management of catchment areas and coastal areas; the long-term objective is to improve countries’ capacity to plan and sustainably manage their aquatic resources and ecosystems. Moreover, the project looks to develop regional capacities within institutions and executive agencies, in order to ensure the durability of IWCAM practices and principles after the project has ended.

The project mainly supports local pilot activities on the integrated management of catchment and coastal areas in order to treat priority issues. If conclusive, this project could then be applied to the entire region.

The states participating in this project (Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Grenada, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint-Kitts-and-Nevis, Saint-Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago) have therefore been assigned to find a solution to the following issues:

1. the reduction in freshwater reserves

2. the deterioration of the quality of freshwater and coastal waters

3. the inappropriate use of land

4. hygiene and sanitation


The project divides up into 5 main elements:

1: demonstrating, noting and passing on best practices

2: developing the IWCAM process and an indicator framework for the state of the environment

3: institutional polices, legislation and reforms

4: reinforcing regional and national capacities

5: managing and coordinating projects

Pilot projects

One of IWCAM’s main aims consists in developing pilot projects within member states. That is why, alongside participating in the development of national and regional strategies, 8 states have also set up 9 pilot projects:

1) Antigua and Barbuda : mitigating the impact of St John's waste water discharge in subterranean and coastal waters

2) Bahamas : land use planning, protecting and managing the water in Andros

3) Bahamas : managing waste in the port of the Elizabeth Marina in Exuma

4) Cuba : applying IWCAM concepts to catchment areas and Cienfuegos Bay

5) Dominican Republic : mitigating the impacts of industrial waste on the basin of the Haina River and its coast

6) Jamaica : setting up an integrated approach for the management of marine and coastal resources and the catchment areas of East-Central Portland

7) St-Kitts-and-Nevis : restoring and managing Basseterre Valley as a protective measure for the underlying aquifer

8) St Lucia : protecting and developing services for catchment areas and management bonus for the Fond d'Or watershed

9) Trinidad and Tobago : land use planning and restoring the Courlande catchment area and the Buccoo Reef area


III. News

The IWCAM project is now coming to an end. Various conferences and meetings have taken place in these past 5 years. Reports (in English) for these meetings can be found on this page.

Each member state was asked to supply reports and activity summaries throughout their project. Details can be found here.

A quarterly newsletter is also available on the IWCAM website. The latter aims to hold project participants informed of the progress made in other states.

Project results

Even if some countries had trouble adopting and implementing the project’s different elements due to unsettled situations (e.g. Haiti), most participating states were able to reach their objectives.

Some of the most significant results include:

  • project steering board meeting notifications

  • presentation of projects during the regional and international forum

  • development of project internet websites

  • fulfilment of pilot projects

  • environmental monitoring training

  • training in the use of environmental indicators.

This project has on the one hand enabled to improve the management of catchment and coastal areas, and agricultural practices on the other, whilst creating long-term development systems.

NB: due to a late start, the project has been extended to July 2011.

Summary at the end of 2010

Element 1 - Demonstrating, noting and passing on best practices

Most pilot projects had made good progress (one had ended) by the end of 2009. It has been shown that the reduction of contaminants could solve the water shortage issue and improve the quality of the marine environment and coastal resources. A GEF-IWCAM database will be created in order to facilitate information sharing.

Element 2 – Developing the IWCAM process

Indicators have been created for all pilot projects and have been sent to IWCAM’s Project coordination unit. The directors of these pilot projects have receiving training in the application of these indicators. A network, enabling information on these indicators to be shared, is currently being created.

Element 3 – Institutional policy, legislation and reforms

Objective: to reform national institutional policies, legislation and structures in order to better answer IWCAM’s requirements and those of the most pertinent regional and international MEAs (e.g. LBS).

In 2009, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and Jamaica announced that they wished to ratify the LBS protocol.

NGOs and committees were created to facilitate the management of catchment areas and enable legislation to be revised (Antigua and Barbuda and Saint Kitts).

An information workgroup for agencies working on the integrated management of water resources has pursued its activities, regularly sharing information by email.

Element 4 – Reinforcing national and regional capacities

Regional level: awareness and information dissemination activity via bulletins, videos, brochures, training and presentations during regional and international forums. The translation of these 3 language tools (English, French, and Spanish). IWCAM is yet again listed UNEP-RAC/RCU and CEHI work programmes.


National level: reinforcement of capacities (equipment made available) and training for technicians on water management (waste water treatment, hydrometry…).

Element 5- Project management and coordination

Two regional steering committee meetings took place during the 2008-2009 period. A work programme and budget were presented and submitted to the Committee. The latter also drew up a pilot project management schedule in order to guarantee their success in the set time. Another meeting is scheduled for the end of 2010.

A consultant was chosen to carry out a mid-term evaluation in 2009, in accordance with GEF requirements. This assessment aimed to enable the Project coordination unit, the executive agencies, as well as the thirteen participating agencies to evaluate their progress and take the necessary measures to determine the project’s objectives for the two following years.

Three Regional technical consultative group (RTCG) meetings were scheduled in July 2008-2009 to review the project.