The Caribbean is made up of mostly Small Island Developing States (SIDS) – apart from Guyana and Suriname on the South American mainland – and is characterized by limited resources, fragile environments and susceptibility to natural hazards.

In recent decades the region has experienced a shift from agrarian to industrial economies resulting in new and competing demands for water for agricultural, industrial, tourism and domestic uses. Many countries face challenges in water resources management including financing, governance, environmental impacts and decreasing fresh water resources. The impact of climate change is expected to significantly raise the sea level, increase salt-water intrusion, flooding and hurricanes, and decrease rainfall.

Islands in the Caribbean

An integrated approach

Recognition of the need for an integrated approach to the management of water resources has gained greater prominence, especially in the context of the Mauritius Strategy and the Barbados Plan of Action. However, many countries have not taken steps to develop or implement IWRM policies and plans.

Establishment of GWP Caribbean

The Global Water Partnership Caribbean was launched in the Caribbean in Tobago in June 2004. It has promoted reform of national development plans by encouraging an integrated approach to water and supporting countries in developing water policies. The region will continue this focus by supporting countries in implementing plans and policies. GWP Caribbean, in collaboration with associated programmes in the region, will facilitate engagement of stakeholders through multi-stakeholder fora that examine mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Houses in the Caribbean

Lead role in building capacity

GWP Caribbean has taken a lead role in building capacity to address critical challenges facing the region and to meet specific needs for strengthening the IWRM process. Workshops have been held for policy makers and water professionals on water use efficiency in the tourism and agriculture sectors, water financing and hydro-climatic disasters. Support for these activities comes from collaboration with other regional entities. The region will also focus on the implementation of effective communication strategies on water resources management.

Country Water Partnerships

GWP Caribbean is facilitating the establishment of Country Water Partnerships as the mechanism for taking the IWRM agenda forward. During this strategy period the region will re-double its efforts and strengthen its Partners to formalize Country Water Partnerships in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada. Increased awareness of critical water issues and changing attitudes about government and civil society collaboration has helped to create an environment more conducive to establishing Country Water Partnerships.

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