The Investment Fund (IF), led by the World Bank and co-financed by the GEF was established in 2007 to accelerate the transboundary pollution reduction, improve water resources management, and biodiversity conservation measures in priority hotspots (locations with high pollution or degradation levels) around the Mediterranean Sea. The Investment Fund for the Mediterranean Sea Large Marine Ecosystem Partnership received US$ 22 million from the GEF as first tranche finance three projects:
In 2009, the Investment Fund evolved into a larger-scale program, the Environmental Mediterranean Sustainable Development Program "Sustainable MED" that aims at including environmental management into the economic development agenda of Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries. Sustainable MED will help attract additional investments to address priority hot spots in the Mediterranean, as well as facilitate future interventions in other areas, such as solid and hazardous waste management, land degradation, biodiversity or climate change.
Sustainable MED projects, namely: Tunisia Northern Tunis Wastewater Project, Egypt Enhanced Water Resources Management, Syria Coastal Rivers and Orontes River Basins Water Resources Management Project, Regional Coordination on Improved Water Resources Management and Capacity Building in Cooperation with NASA, Sustainable MED Governance and Knowledge Generation, Regional Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for the Promotion of Treated Wastewater Reuse in the Mediterranean, Morocco Integrated Coastal Zone Management, Western Mediterranean Marine Highway Development and Coastal Marine Contamination, and Integration of Climatic Variability and Change into National Strategies to implement the ICZM Protocol in the Mediterranean (led by UNEP-MAP) address primarily:
Natural resources management: (i) integrated coastal zone management; (ii) protection of marine resources; (iii) vulnerable ecosystems and biodiversity; (iv) water resource management.
Pollution prevention and abatement: (i) water treatment; (ii) solid and hazardous waste management; (iii) industrial pollution abatement; (iv) sea transportation, (v) maritime safety.
Climate variability: (i) resilience to reduced surface and groundwater reserves (WRM); (ii) increased occurrence of droughts; (iii) increased occurrence of floods (weather-related disaster management); (iv) carbon finance.
The GEF grant funding received by Sustainable MED is expected to co-finance larger investments estimated at around US$ 737 million provided by beneficiary countries, through World Bank loans, from bilateral and regional banks, technical assistance grants and other sources.
Coastal Cities Pollution Control 2 Project, Croatia
Financing - US$87.5 million, including GEF funding of US$6.4 million.
The protection of Croatia’s 1,780 km-long Adriatic Sea coastline and 1,185 islands is a priority for both ecological and economic reasons. The Coastal Cities Pollution Control 2 Project (Phase 2 of a broader Croatia Coastal Cities Pollution Control Program) aims to improve coastal wastewater treatment, discharge infrastructure, and sewage expansion to address the problem of water pollution given its negative effect on ecology, public health, tourism, fishing industries and aquaculture. The project focuses on improving the efficiency and sustainability of wastewater services in coastal cities where less than half of the population has adequate wastewater collection systems and only a small percent of wastewater is treated.
PROJECT RESULTS: The project started on June 2009 and by February 2011, most of its funds have been committed through sub-loan agreements with local municipalities and utility companies. It is expected that 17 wastewater treatment plants will be constructed, more than 100 km of sewage collectors and over 50 pumping stations built to reduce nutrient discharge in to the coastal waters. Around 300,000 people will benefit from these activities, including both local population and tourists.
Regional (Croatia/Bosnia & Herzegovina) - Neretva and Trebisnjica River Basin Management Project
Financing total – US$21,580,000, of which GEF: US$8,430,000.
The Neretva and Trebisnjica rivers are critical for transport, recreation, fisheries, and fishing. They are also used for drinking water, irrigation, and energy production. The entire valley and delta of the lower Neretva River from Mostar (in BiH) to the river’s mouth (in Croatia) contain the largest and most valuable remnants of the natural Mediterranean wetlands in the Eastern Adriatic coast. This innovative project is designed to promote close cooperation between two countries on issues of water resources management and strengthening transboundary cooperation.
Water infrastructure improvements are planned to be financed in both countries, including improved wetlands management, a pilot scheme to address high levels of saline water intrusion in Neretva Delta in Croatia, and improvement of protected nature sites.
PROJECT RESULTS: The Nature Park Hutovo Blato (Ramsar site), the Vejjtrenica cave, four Protected Areas in the Croatian delta, and the Bacinska lake in the delta, all receive support for physical improvement, tourist access and protective measures, and /or by conducting biomonitoring and preparing management plans.The wastewater treatment plants were built of Trebinje. The study on the management of salinization in the delta is nearly finished and low-water irrigation systems for fruit orchards in the delta will be demonstrated through a pilot project.