Policy Briefs

Governing and Managing Key Flows in a Source-To-Sea (S2S) Continuum

An S2S system includes the land area that is drained by a river system or systems, its lakes and tributaries (the river basin), connected aquifers and downstream recipients including deltas and estuaries, coastlines and near-shore waters, the adjoining sea and continental shelf as well as the open ocean. Water, sediment, pollutants, biota, materials, and ecosystem services key flows connect the sub-systems in the source-to-sea continuum and their geographies.

An S2S approach consolidates analysis, planning, policy-making, and decision-making across sectors and scales. It considers the entire social, ecological, and economic system, from the land area that is drained by a river system to the coastal area and even the open ocean it flows into.

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Governance Challenges, Gaps and Management Opportunities in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ)

The objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive review of the current regulatory landscape of the ocean areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Outcomes of the study will support the GEF partnership and states to consider new programs and develop activities that provide an overall net benefit to the global environment in ABNJ in the upcoming GEF 7 program.

What Do We Mean by ABNJ?:
The term ‘areas beyond national jurisdiction’ refers to areas which are beyond the boundaries of any single state. Areas beyond national jurisdiction comprise 64% of the oceans’ surface and represent a global commons which contain ecosystems rich with marine resources and biodiversity of significant ecological, socioeconomic, and cultural importance.

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Monitoring and Evaluation Of Climate Change Adaptation

Over the past decade-and-a-half, the GEF has been a leader in supporting climate change adaptation in the developing world – by investing over US$1.3 billion to help communities, notably through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). The GEF has been an “early mover” in climate change adaptation. This base of past experience is not only a rich source of insights and learning, it also places the GEF in a unique position to scale-up and mainstream adaptation in the future. Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) plays an essential role in understanding where to focus investments, what is working and what is not (and why), and learning from experience to maximize impact. Yet a number of methodological challenges remain, primarily with defining “success” in climate change adaptation (CCA) given the long-term nature of climate change and changing baseline conditions. This brief presents key STAP recommendations for strengthening CCA M&E, and for leveraging effective learning, planning, and implementation of adaptation strategies and investments in future.

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How the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) supports The Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Over the past two decades, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) has supported the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in delivering its mission “…to assist in the protection of the global environment”, and promote “environmentally sound and sustainable economic development.” The Panel is supported by a Secretariat which is hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). STAP’s goal is to assist the GEF partnership in delivering on it’s mission by leveraging knowledge and science on the global environment and sustainability. STAP advises the GEF on ways to advance a better understanding of the global environment and development, and how to address them. STAP provides a forum for integrating expertise on science and technology, and functions as an important conduit between the GEF and the global science and policy communities. STAP works in close collaboration with the diverse GEF network of countries, GEF Agencies, Conventions, the GEF Secretariat, and its Independent Evaluation Office. Seven prominent scientists, supported by a Secretariat, work together across natural, social and physical sciences as an interdisciplinary team to deliver this mandate.

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Guidelines for Embedding Resilience, Adaptation and Transformation (RAPTA) into GEF Projects

The Resilience, Adaptation Pathways and Transformation Assessment (RAPTA) framework is an approach to embed resilience concepts in development projects so they can better achieve their goals, and deliver durable outcomes in the face of socio-economic uncertainty and rapid environmental change. The Resilience Framework guides participatory assessment of current social-ecological systems, and helps identify measures that can improve their condition in the future. It uses an adaptive learning approach which facilitates refi nement of interventions over time, to improve their effectiveness as conditions continue to change.

How can the Resilience Framework be applied?
The Resilience Framework encourages project developers to think about a system’s capacity to cope with both anticipated and unexpected shocks and stresses, and to determine whether incremental adaptation is required, or whether more fundamental transformational change of the system is needed to achieve long-term sustainability. Resilience thinking helps to focus efforts where interventions will be most effective; it considers multiple temporal and spatial scales,
drivers of change, vulnerabilities and possible thresholds or system tipping points. Project developers are encouraged to work with stakeholders to evaluate:
1. Resilience of what? What are the valued products and services delivered by the system?
2. Resilience to what? What hazards or shocks could impact the system’s capacity to deliver those products and services?
3. Key Determinants? What are the controlling variables of resilience in the system?
4. Points of Infl uence? How can the project affect those key determinants?
5. Project Effectiveness? How will the outcomes of the project be monitored, and lessons applied?

The Resilience guidelines comprise seven modules. Each module provides step- by-step guidance to the user. Much of the material will be familiar to experienced project planners. The framework applies adaptive management during implementation, uses results from monitoring and assessment to revise strategies, and tests hypotheses underlying the project design.

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STAP guidance on multifocal area projects

STAP developed guidelines for the design of multi-focal area projects based on the principles of resilience. These principles focus on: participation and system thinking (e.g. participation of stakeholders to gain a complete understanding of the problem and responses; slow variables that monitor the interactions between social and ecological dynamics); system structure (e.g. the connectivity of the various elements in a system); experimentation and learning (e.g. encourage experimentation and learning for the purposes of adaptive management, monitoring and iteration). The matrix in the attached paper delves into these elements. 

For further information about the guidelines, please contact Guadalupe Duron (guadalupe.duron@unep.org)

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