Increased international attention to water resource management and integration has resulted in the creation of new institutional arrangements and environmental funding mechanisms. The Global Environmental Facility's (GEF) International Waters Program is at the heart of such novel collaborative approaches to managing transboundary resources. This paper assesses GEF-led efforts in twenty-three projects across ten geographic regions. It finds that the GEF has been successful in building scientific knowledge and creating linkages across social, economic and environmental issues. However, challenges of enhancing the contractual environment and building national capacity remain. While GEF efforts thus far do indicate that institutions can affect the growth of knowledge and cooperation around transboundary waters, long-lasting achievements of the GEF's International Waters Program have yet to be realized.

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Author notes

The author is grateful to Gary Bryner, Susan Buck, Conrad Clemens, Ken Conca, Andrew Hudson, and Ron Mitchell for their intellectual guidance and thoughtful comments on this research. Thanks to the three anonymous reviewers of Global Environmental Politics for their insightful remarks and to the numerous interviewees who gave of their time and knowledge. Final responsibility rests with the author.