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Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA)

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Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA). Dag Daler Scientific Director. Global International Waters Assessment. Water – The most essential of the Globe´s life sustaining elements. Niger Delta. Riverbank erosion. Sediment transport. %. ha.

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Niger Delta

Riverbank erosion

Sediment transport




Prawn Catch/Number of fishing vessels, Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Prawn Catch

Number of fishing vessels



Blooms of harmful microorganisms

West central Atlantic. No of episodes

No of people hospitalized


Aug 1997, 30m

Feb 1998, 30m

the giwa mission
The GIWA Mission
  • What are the main environmental problems in the Globe´s International Waters (including fresh water as well as marine and coastal waters)?
  • How severe are these problems in relation to human life and welfare?
  • What are the human activities that are the root causes of these problems?
a mechanism for prioritising
A Mechanism for prioritising
  • The overall objective of the GIWA is to develop a comprehensive strategic assessment that may be used by GEF and its partners to identify priorities for remedial and mitigatory actions in international waters, designed to achieve significant environmental benefits.
project goals
Project Goals
  • Implement environmental and socio-economic impact assessments in 66 subregions, including both marine and freshwater systems
  • Identify the linkages between issues affecting the transboundary aquatic environment and their causes, so GEF will be better placed to intervene to resolve the problems in a sustainable and cost-effective manner
giwa 5 concerns 22 issues
GIWA 5 Concerns(22 Issues)
  • Freshwater shortage(Reduction of stream flow; Lowering of water table and; Pollution of existing water supplies)
  • Pollution(Microbiological pollution; Eutrophication; Chemical pollution; Suspended solids; Solid waste; Thermal pollution; Radionuclides; Spills)
  • Habitat and community modification(Loss of ecosystems or ecotones; Modification of ecosystems or ecotones)
  • Unsustainable exploitation of fisheries and other living resources(Inappropriate harvesting practices; Resources/habitat changes; Habitat destruction; Decreased viability of stock through contamination and disease; Biodiversity impacts)
  • Global change(Changes in hydrological cycles; Sea level change; Increased UV-B radiation as a result of ozone depletion; Changes in ocean carbon dioxide source/sink function)
socio economic indicators
Socio-economic indicators
  • Economic impact(Direct and indirect)
  • Health impact(Seriousness of the health problem and number of people affected)
  • Other social and community impact(Estetic values, life style values etc)
capacity building by networking
Capacity Building by Networking
  • All together more than 1.000 experts, scientist, representatives for governments, NGO and civil society is actively involved in the GIWA assessment, globally.
giwa assessment methodology
GIWA Assessment Methodology
  • Scoping/Scaling
    • Identification of priority Issues (among 23 Issues) regarding:
      • Environmental impact
      • Socio-economic impact
  • Detailed Impact Assessment
    • For those Priority Issues identified during Scoping
      • Environmental Impact Assessment
      • Socio-Economic Impact Assessment
  • Causal Chain Analysis
    • By following the most significant successive causes of environmental degradation, a causal web is constructed, having at the top, the sociatal causes

Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis ( TDA )

Scaling and Scoping

Component 1

Workshop 1

Detailed Assessment

Component 2

Causal Chain Analysis

Component 3

Current Future

Condition Condition

Predictive Analysis

Component 4

Policy Options Analysis

Component 5

Workshop 2

Strategic Action Program

( SAP )


The Zambezi River (by far the largest river basin in the sub region covers approximately 1,300,00km2), Limpopo and Okavango delta plus 9 trans-national river systems were assessed during the GIWA scoping exercise.

  • Eight riparian countries within the South African Development Community (SADC) share the Zambezi River Basin. 38.4 million people live and eke for a living in the basin area.
  • Large-scale industrial farming (sugar, maize, fruits, livestock), and small-scale subsistence production, fisheries and industry are important economic activities.
  • Damming of major rivers (for irrigation and hydropower generation), pollution of existing water supplies , abstraction of groundwater resources, and droughts are contributing to freshwater shortage. The Zambezi River has 3 large dams resulting in >50% reduction in stream flow.
  • Nutrient loading from agricultural inputs, suspended sediments and solid wastes from unregulated discharge of raw sewage and other industrial effluents is rampant.
  • Wells have started drying up and require further digging to reach the water table.

Sub–Region 45 : Agulhas Current



(i) riparian belts, (ii) springs, (iii) flood plains, (iv) rice paddys,

(v) running water fast flowing and flood plains and (vi) standing water mesothropic.


Though data on Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) trends are scanty, over exploitation of fisheries is recognized as a serious problem in both inland and marine waters. Poor fishing practices (use of fine wire mesh mosquito nets and traditional basket endanger juvenile fish)

Favored fish species such as Maluti Monnow in Lesotho and Kapenta in Kariba are endangered.


Extreme swings between above average rainfall resulting in flooding with recurrent droughts can be explained by changes in hydrological cycle.

5.Social –economic and health impacts.

(i) high costs of reconstruction after incidences of flooding and droughts, (ii) associated economic and social costs for reduction in agricultural potential, decline in industrial production and fisheries, (iii) social implications to reduced access to clean water by rural and urban water user, (iv) migration and displacement of people and exposure to dangers of land mines that get dispersed during floods (Mozambique), (v) loss of animal nutrition among the riverine communities and (vi) costs for treatment for approximately 70%of the population affected by water borne epidemics.



  • East China Sea Sub-region should include:   
  • Changjiang River Basin including Dongtinghu Lake, Panyanghu Lake and Chaohu Lake; and
  • Zhe-Ming River Basins (river systems in Zhejiang and Fujian Provinces).


North Pacific

Sub-region 36:

East China Sea


Critical Issues

  • EutrophicationSome 12-15 extensive occurrences of red tide events per year offshore of Zhejiang Province reported.Serious eutrophication observed in the West Lake of Hangzhou, Dianshan Lake of Shanghai and Poyang Lake of Jiangxi. Often reported are the damages of cultured organisms by harmful algae.
  • Loss of ecosystems or ecotonesLoss are particularly serious with freshwater marshlands, wetlands of saline habitats, muddy foreshores, salt marshes, mangroves and estuaries.
  • Overexpoitation of living resourcesThe dominance of four major species groups in the East China Sea, namely large yellow croaker (Pseudosciaena crocea), small yellow croaker (Pseudosciaena polyactis), hairtail (Trichiurus haumela) and cuttlefish (Sepia), has changed to shrimps, spanish mackeral, pomfret and hairtail. The change is mainly caused by overfishing. Yellow croakers and others were exploited far beyond MSY.
  • Destructive fishing practicesBottom trawling occurs more than 10 times per year. There are occasional occurrences of fishing by explosives and drugs.
  • Socio-economic factorsHigh concerns associated with social, economic and human health impacts are likely to be restricted to the habitat and community modification with a weighted score of around 2. Socioeconomic and human health impacts of the other four major concerns are unlikely to be substantial.
the causal chain model




Immediate causes

Human activity 







Energy production




Military activity

Driving forces 

Human needs & wants







  • Investments
  • Financing


Enforcement Agreements


  • Laws
  • Rules
  • Regulations



  • Competence
  • Capacity
The Causal-Chain Model
the freshwater marine interface
The freshwater – marine interface
  • The majority of environmental problems in the marine environment are caused by landbased activities.
  • Solving the environmental problems in the watersheds is a prerequisite for remedial and mitigatory actions targeted to improve the marine ecosystems.


  • Bohai Sea Sub-region include:
  • Liaohe River Basin, coastal river basins in Liaodong Peninsula, Shuangtaizihe River Basin and their associated coastal and marine habitats in Liaodong Bay, north of the Bohai Sea;
  • Haihe River and Luanhe River and their associated marine habitats in Bohai Bay west of the Bohai Sea; and
  • Yellow River Basins, coastal river basins in Shandong Peninsula and their associated coastal and marine habitats in Laizhou Bay, south of Bohai Sea.

Mega-region:North Pacific

Sub-region 35:Bohai Sea