The third Groundwater Integration Dialogue on Managing Groundwater in Coastal Areas and SIDS took place on 6 – 7 May 2014 at the Mediterranean Information Office in Athens. The meeting was co-convened by the UNESCO International Hydrological Programme (IHP), the Global Water Partnership – Mediterranean (GWP Med) and the UNEP Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) in co-operation with the UNESCO/WMO International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC) and the Priority Actions Programme/Regional Activity Centre (PAP/RAC) in the framework of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) IW:LEARN, MedPartnership and TWAP Projects. This meeting is a contribution to the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Project managers and practitioners from relevant GEF International Waters (IW) projects, country representatives, and experts on groundwater and coastal management exchanged knowledge on issues crucial for the sustainability of coastal areas worldwide, particularly in SIDS, informed on project design of IW projects during the next GEF cycle, and fed into the implementation of on-going GEF IW coastal and LME projects. A PAP/RAC representative pointed out the importance of UNESCO-IHP, GWP and PAP/RAC co-operation within the GEF LME MedPartnership being the first project in the Mediterranean to integrate coastal aquifers into marine, coastal area and basin management and protection. To that end, a common methodology – the Integrative Methodological Framework (IMF) is being developed by the project, as well as the Integrated Management Plan for the transboundary zone of the river Buna / Bojana between Montenegro and Albania. The participants of the meeting raised great expectations of the IMF document.