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Knowledgebase for Lessons Learned and Good Practices in the Management of Coral Reefs

GEF Lessons Learned
GEF Lessons Learned


Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)


United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
United Nations
Environment Program (UNEP)


International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:LEARN)
International Waters Learning
Exchange and Resource Network
(IW:LEARN)


Duration: January 2006 – December 2008
Donor: United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Website: http://www.reefbase.org/gefll

Project Rational and Objectives

The goal of the project is to assist developing countries to promote and enhance the conservation and sustainable use of coral reefs and their related ecosystems. While there have been many important achievements and positive outcomes from previous coral reef-related projects, a review of the common factors contributing to their successes, failures and lost opportunities has never been carried out. Furthermore, any key results or outcomes have not always been adequately disseminated beyond their local or regional settings, despite their global relevance.

This project will first carefully examine the GEF portfolio of projects that have been funded to address coral reef resources in any capacity, and then work to sort and identify key lessons, traits, successes and failures that can be used to strengthen future GEF incremental support. This will also contribute to enhancing the development, implementation and outcomes of future coral reef conservation and management projects by providing access to information, advice, the development of tools, resources and training based on the distillation of the good practices available and lessons learned from previous and ongoing projects.

This project will also establish a peer network of managers, and other agencies and individuals working towards sustainable use and management of coral reefs. Through this network and using the findings from the analysis of projects, it will accelerate the identification, development and adoption of good practices in reef management, avoid the repetition of previous mistakes, and identify solutions to management problems which arise in specific locations and in relation to combinations of issues. This will in turn enable the GEF to more effectively realize all the potential benefits in supporting future coral reef projects.

The specific objectives are:
  1. To review completed GEF coral reef related projects and selected major non-GEF projects and summarize their principal outcomes, successes, failures and lost opportunities.

  2. To carry out a critical analysis of the projects in order to derive lessons learned, key factors for success, root causes of failures and identify ways to capture lost opportunities.

  3. To develop good practice guidelines, toolkits and information resources for use by other projects in developing and implementing their activities.

  4. To widely disseminate the above findings in print and electronic form, and through targeted learning workshops, exchanges, training programs and the establishment of a coral reefs learning and exchange peer network.

  5. To compile a knowledgebase of coral reef related projects which provide easy access to the above outputs, as well as primary resource material such as reports, presentations, contacts and images.

In addition, the work will compile an extremely valuable repository of knowledge and information in one place that can be browsed and searched for specific topics and/or specific locations. Unlike publications, an online repository can undergo frequent updating to reflect the current knowledge and take into account recent experiences and lessons learned – an efficient if not innovative approach. The idea of a knowledgebase and lessons learned is not novel, but it has never been properly attempted for coral reefs at the scale proposed with this review, analysis and development.
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