June 01, 2020 to June 05, 2020

A global online conference for ocean action, the Virtual Ocean Dialogues, has been announced to take place on 1-5 June 2020. The Virtual Ocean Dialogues will connect communities across the world that are seeking innovation and taking bold action for a healthy, resilient, thriving ocean.

The rapid global spread of COVID-19 is posing unprecedented challenges and uncertainty, with large conferences and gatherings being postponed for reasons of health and safety and with global mobility drastically curtailed. As a result, our way of life and doing business are changing. Yet once beyond this pandemic, the ocean will be one of our greatest allies in economic recovery, food security, jobs and the battle against climate change.

The World Economic Forum and Friends of Ocean Action, a group of 57 global leaders fast-tracking scalable solutions to the most pressing challenges facing the ocean, are curating the Virtual Ocean Dialogues to convene leaders and communities online from across the global ocean space. Designed in collaboration with a range of other partners, the Virtual Ocean Dialogues will maintain momentum in the face of COVID-19 to continue working for ambitious and urgent global action for a healthy ocean.

October 19, 2020 to October 22, 2020
Gold Coast, Australia

Oceans and coasts are changing. We're listening to those changes. Complex challenges take a diverse community to hear, understand and act. Coastal Futures 2020 is an endorsed event by the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences.

Our oceans and coasts are diverse and interconnected. Collaboration is our strength, underlying and reinforcing our capacity to think, innovate, and invest in their long-term wellbeing. The 2020 Our Coastal Futures conference will bring together voices from researchers, practitioners, Indigenous peoples, activists, businesses, youth, and decision-makers. This vibrant conference will inspire new ideas to enable a transition towards respectful custodianship of our oceans and coasts.

This event is designed to foster a sense of trust and respect among all, emphasizing diversity, innovation, and connections. The program will include traditional formats and other expressions, to create a new narrative on the role of respectful ocean and coastal custodianship, based on trust, reciprocity, communication and collaboration.

Come join us at Our Coastal Futures 2020 conference from 19 – 22 October, plus three days of workshop and excursion opportunities (19, 23, 24 October 2020) on the Gold Coast, Australia. We’re still finalizing the agenda, but a fantastic line-up is already taking shape.

May 11, 2020

On June 8th, 2020, the world celebrates the oceans. And so we invite the world to meet Peniche. Here lies the future. From here will rise the next tide of innovation that will contribute with the solutions, and respond to the challenges we’re facing today. The oceans are the source for so much already, but there’s still so much to discover. Understanding it deeply and acting responsibly will enable us to answer some of the most pressing issues: climate, economy, health, society. Let’s build this blue future, together. Join us, from anywhere in the world, on June 8th, for the launch of Smart Ocean in our fully remote event at: A full lineup with talks from some of the most prestigious international speakers, workshops, masterclasses and some great surprises.

October 26, 2020 to October 28, 2020
Amsterdam, Netherlands
September 17, 2020 to September 19, 2020
Raseborg, Finland
June 02, 2020 to June 06, 2020
Lisbon, Portugal
May 27, 2020 to May 29, 2020
Delft, Netherlands

IHE Delft is organizing the symposium 'From Capacity Development to Implementation Science' on May 27-29, 2020. This is its 6th international symposium on knowledge and capacity development for the water sector, in cooperation with the OECD, Rand Water and other partners.

The symposium (see: calls attention to the strategic importance of knowledge and institutional capacity for policy, operational practice and education. This is urgently needed to address the current and growing challenges in water management for a sustainable, secure, just and equitable world.

The symposium will bring together scholars, decision-makers and practitioners to discuss the current and future role of capacity development and take a forward-looking and action-orientated approach. This is required to identify priority capacity development subjects and projects that increase resilience, equity and water security - by water themes, geographical areas, policy and implementation issues and education. As in previous years, the symposium will act as a catalyst to build commitment among participants, leading to future action and collaboration.

Follow this event through the hashtag: #CapDevSymp.

December 31, 2020

The Tenth GEF Biennial International Waters Conference will take place in the fourth quarter of 2020 (exact date to be announced)

The GEF and the GEF IW Focal Area

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 member countries—in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector—to address global environmental issues. An independent financial organization, the GEF provides grants to developing countries and countries with economies in transition, for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, the ozone layer, persistent organic pollutants, and international waters. These projects benefit the global environment, linking local, national, and global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable livelihoods.

The GEF International Waters (IW) focal area targets transboundary water systems, such as shared river basins, lakes, groundwater and Large Marine Ecosystems. The cumulative 27-year GEF IW portfolio consists of 359 projects with about US$1.9 billion of GEF grants and $12.6 billion in co-finance invested in more than 170 GEF recipient countries. Since the inception of the GEF in 1991, the IW portfolio has delivered substantive results and replicable experiences to be scaled up and mainstreamed globally.

Focusing on transboundary freshwater, the GEF, together with its implementing and executing partners, has financed projects related to 47 rivers, 13 aquifers, and 15 lakes. These investments totaled $735 million USD in grant financing, leveraging $3.9 billion USD in co-financing. For the marine portfolio, a total of US$1.14 billion in project grants to transboundary, marine projects, and approximately US$7.7 billion from other funders, has been allocated towards Ocean sustainability since the GEF's inception in 1991.

GEF Biennial IW Conferences

The GEF Biennial International Waters Conference (IWC) is the signature event of the GEF IW Portfolio. The IWC objectives are to facilitate cross-sectoral and GEF IW Portfolio-wide learning and experience sharing. They strive to solicit advice from the existing GEF IW Portfolio on burning issues and to assist in building participant capacity in key management and technical areas. Participants sum up progress achieved and look to the future of programming within and beyond the GEF IW Focal Area. The nine previous conferences were held in Morocco, Sri Lanka, Barbados, Croatia, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, China, and Hungary.

IWC10 will convene about 300 participants—comprising GEF IW project managers, representatives of beneficiary countries, non-governmental organizations, transboundary management institutions, UN Agencies and the private sector—in Uruguay in 2020. Collectively, the participants will represent 84 active GEF IW projects, 80 countries and the various GEF Agencies.

For more information on the nine previous IWC's, please visit

April 14, 2020 to April 17, 2020
Manado, Indonesia
February 12, 2020 to February 14, 2020
Bali, Indonesia


June 12, 2021 to June 15, 2021
Brisbane, Australia

Our first convening will bring together a global community of transdisciplinary research and innovation in an engaging, interactive format, allowing leaders in sustainability innovation to work alongside the world’s leading sustainability scientists, and to engage policy leaders working to support the major international policy processes supporting this transition (Agenda 2030, the UN SDGs, Paris Agreement on climate change, Sendai Framework for Disaster and Risk, Aichi targets). We are committed to the following principles in the development of this major congress series:

- Sustainable Solutions from the Global South
- Integrated Action for the SDGs
- Knowledge-to-Action
- Sustainability for Whom?

July 18, 2021 to July 23, 2021
Bremen, Germany

ICRS 2020, also known as the 14th International Coral Reef Symposium, is the primary international conference on coral reef science, conservation and management, bringing together leading scientists, early career researchers, conservationists, ocean experts, policy makers, managers and the public. For the first time in its history, an ICRS will be held in Europe, in the cosmopolitan and historic city of Bremen, Northern Germany, 5 – 10 July 2020.

ICRS 2020 will be the key event to develop science-based solutions addressing the present and future challenges of coral reefs, which are globally exposed to unprecedented anthropogenic pressures. The five-day program will present the latest scientific findings and ideas, provide a platform to build the essential bridges between coral reef science, conservation, politics, management and the public, and will promote public and political outreach.

It is our great pleasure to invite you all to join this unique global event. The University of Bremen and all ICRS 2020 organisers are looking forward to hosting your visit to the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. And, just in case you were wondering, the animal-like figure in the logo are Bremen's most significant cultural emblems, the famous “Bremen Town Musicians”.

May 31, 2021 to June 02, 2021
Berlin, Germany

The kick-off event of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development will take place in Berlin, Germany, from the 31st of May to the 2nd of June 2021. It will be hosted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research of Germany.


September 04, 2019 to September 06, 2019
Johannesburg, South Africa

The 2nd SADC Groundwater Conference is organized by the Southern African Development Community – Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) in collaboration with the United nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – International Hydrogeological Programme (UNESCO-IHP), the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) and Department of Water and sanitation – South Africa under the theme “Groundwater Contribution to achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in SADC Region.” The conference will be hosted in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The conference will provide a platform for discussion between researchers, practitioners and decision makers on the extent and role of groundwater in planning for and implementing SDGs. Central to the discussions are SDG targets that relate to, improving access to water and sanitation and implications on groundwater quality, water use efficiency and reducing water scarcity, across all sectors of the economy and the need for increased efforts at the policy and technical level to sustainably manage groundwater resources. Of concern is the widening gap between water demand and availability and that the high dependency of nations on groundwater, which is not reflected in the national and regional legislation. There is a need to move away from the notion of viewing groundwater resources as a standalone resource, hence not integrated into the overall planning process for water supply interventions. Reliable data to provide a basis for measuring progress towards attaining SDG targets is not always available so is the primary data on the status of groundwater. Compounding this is that the limited groundwater generated is rarely used to inform policy and decision making.

The SADC annual groundwater conference has the primary objective of providing a platform for the advancement of knowledge sharing on sustainable management of groundwater at national and transboundary levels across the SADC Members States.

July 01, 2019
Paris, France

A Side Event for the 30th Session of the IOC Assembly, this event aims to raise awareness among IOC Member States on the opportunities that Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) partnerships offer for helping countries to achieve SDG14 Targets and for supporting the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Jointly organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO), and the IOC-UNESCO/GEF LME:LEARN and IW:LEARN Projects, this interactive side event will first, offer an introduction to the LME portfolio in the context of SDG14 (and other associated SDGs), highlighting such proven approaches that have succeeded in reversing large scale dead zones, moved global tuna stocks towards sustainability, reduced the impacts of shipping on the marine environment, and introduced integrated, ecosystem-based approaches to sustainable ocean and coastal management at both local and multi-country scales. It will explain the science of Large Marine Ecosystems and the types of science they can contribute to member states. The introduction will also celebrate the 35 years of science developed by LME projects and stakeholders.

The second, technical, segment of the session will focus on the SDG14 targets themselves, and how they can be achieved in the respective LME partnerships across the globe. The dialogue will feature representatives of IOC Member States in an interview-format, with questions about specific targets being posed by a moderator.

Finally, the session will close with an audience interaction and question/answer with LME project practitioners from various regions, countries and agencies. These discussants will include representatives from the Caribbean Sea, Canary Current, Benguela Current and Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystems. Each discussant will focus on the science their project has helped develop and how it might contribute to the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

November 18, 2019 to November 21, 2019
Rome, Italy

GEF IW:LEARN delivered the keynote presentation at the side event entitled "Innovative approaches at the regional level and their contribution to sustainable fisheries and the conservation of marine ecosystems" on Monday, 18 November 2019 at the FAO International Symposium on Fisheries Sustainability which took place on 18-21 November 2019 in Rome.

The objective of this Symposium is to identify pathways to strengthen the science and policy interplay in fisheries production, management and trade, based on solid sustainability principles for improved global outcomes on the ground. Ultimately, the debates and conclusions of the symposium will prepare the way for the development of a new vision for the way we perceive and use capture fisheries, outlining how the sector can respond to the complex and rapidly changing challenges facing society, and support the planning process of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

December 03, 2019 to December 05, 2019
Bali, Indonesia

A Regional Workshop on Data and Information Management was jointly organized by Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) and the GEF Large Marine Ecosystem: LEARN project.
The Asian Regional Workshop on Data and Information Management serves as a regional echo -workshop to share the learning highlights from the LME:LEARN Data and Information Management: Working Group Meeting and Training that was held in Paris, France from 2 to 4 July 2019.

Data and information function as crucial components of the development, assessment and enforcement of management policies, strategies and interventions. Knowledge sharing and learning exchanges serve as useful platforms for data and information management sharing for the use of various stakeholders, the wider public and practitioners.

In order to guide and support the data and information sharing on Large Marine Ecosystems – LMEs (as well as associated integrated coastal management, marine protected areas and Marine Spatial Planning projects), for use by LME:LEARN stakeholders and the wider public, the LME:LEARN project supports the Data and Information Management Working Group (DIM WG). The DIM WG was established as an informal body to guide the process with a clear mandate to create learning exchanges on data and information management tools to be used by the LME community of practitioners. Several meetings of the DIM WG have taken place since the start of the LME:LEARN project.

The main objective of the workshop is to foster interagency collaboration in sharing data and information for use by new GEF 7 projects and other associated projects in the region. As these projects require landscape assessments or baseline data, knowledge sharing and information exchanges on data and tools used can guide and support data and information sharing on Large Marine Ecosystems (LME) as well as associated integrated coastal management (ICM) projects.

This workshop aims to:

Discuss common indicators for comparison of progress in implementation of SAPs between LMEs
Exchange best practices on DIM especially in data collection, knowledge repositories, results and analysis methodologies, assessments and processes to influence policies
Present state of the art tools, KM platforms and databases from GEF IW:LEARN and other tools being utilised at the regional level, such as PEMSEA's State of the Coast reporting and thier Integrated Information Management Systems (IIMS)

December 01, 2019 to December 05, 2019
Colombo, Sri Lanka
December 02, 2019 to December 13, 2019
Santiago, Chile
November 20, 2019 to November 22, 2019
Paris, France
October 24, 2019 to October 25, 2019
Oslo, Norway
September 18, 2019 to September 20, 2019
Cartagena, Colombia
September 19, 2019 to September 20, 2019
Busan, Korea
October 07, 2019 to October 12, 2019
Busan, Korea