GEF IW:LEARN Offers Online Tools for Scaling Up Water ProjectsCatch of the Week
Many water resource management projects are being implemented across Asia and the Pacific. In Southeast Asia alone, there are over 40 such project implementations ranging from large marine ecosystems to integrated coastal management. Most of these projects have been ongoing for nearly 10 years and are already ripe to be scaled up and replicated.
However, one of the larger issues pertaining to project management is the adoption of best practices and guidelines especially for successful water resource management projects. Scaling these up requires the right tools to ensure rapid, easy, and effective implementation. This is where information and communications technology (ICT) plays a huge role.
The use of ICT for scaling up water resource management projects was presented during the recent Global Environment Facility (GEF) workshop “International Water Regional Workshop for Asia and the Pacific on Transforming Good Practices from Demonstration Projects into Scaled-Up Investments and Financing in Integrated Water Resources and Coastal Management.” GEF’s International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:LEARN) highlighted some of the ICT tools that were developed specifically for such purposes.
Khristine Custodio, project manager and ICT specialist for GEF IW:LEARN, explained that the online tools and services serve two functions. The first is to help create a database of information about ongoing projects by having project managers and implementers input relevant data into the website’s repository, and the second is for the experiences of these project managers organized in such a way that best practices are being recorded in order to provide detailed guidelines for project implementation.
With the expected increase in using mobile connectivity among project implementers, the IW:LEARN tools can also be made to run on mobile devices.
“We developed different ICT tools to help communicate results of projects and promoting environmental protection. We use these to replicate activities and good practices that any stakeholder can use, such as government agencies, science community, and privately funded environment protection programs,” Custodio said.
Among the tools already being offered is a website development tool kit to provide an easy-to-use platform in building a website as a repository of project updates. Custodio said this tool kit has basic templates to have project implementers design the look and feel of their site, as well as an online hosting service.
A more recent addition is a set of visualization functions that create maps and project management images to help project implementers visualize how their projects are doing.
“Visual tools have a powerful impact for those who want to scale up and replicate successful projects because they can see how such activities can grow.”
Custodio said they are currently working with a number of agencies, such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB) in spreading the use of the IW:LEARN tools.
“Eventually, we might work with more privately funded environment management projects because they can share information as much as they can take. Knowledge sharing is key to successful replication.”
The ADB and WB as well as other agencies met last 10 March to 15 March 2014 in Manila and looked into long-term, sustainable water resource projects that can be replicated.