Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues.

An independent financial organization, the GEF provides grants to developing countries and countries with economies in transition for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. These projects benefit the global environment, linking local, national, and global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable livelihoods.

Established in 1991, the GEF is today the largest funder of projects to improve the global environment. The GEF has allocated $9.2 billion, supplemented by more than $40 billion in cofinancing, for more than 2,700 projects in more than 165 developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 12,000 small grants directly to nongovernmental and community organizations, totalling $495 million.

The GEF partnership includes 10 agencies: the UN Development Programme; the UN Environment Programme; the World Bank; the UN Food and Agriculture Organization; the UN Industrial Development Organization; the African Development Bank; the Asian Development Bank; the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel provides technical and scientific advice on the GEF’s policies and projects.

The GEF also serves as financial mechanism for the following conventions:

The GEF, although not linked formally to the Montreal Protocol
Montreal Protocol
The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion...

 on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (MP), supports implementation of the Protocol in countries with economies in transition.

The Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured GEFis the document which established the GEF after an initial pilot phase. It was accepted by the member countries and adopted by the Implementing Agencies in 1994. The Instrument may be considered the statutes and by-laws of the GEF, and contains provisions for the governance, participation, replenishment, and fiduciary and administrative operations of the GEF. It also lays out the roles and responsibilities of different actors in the GEF.

GEF structure

The GEF Assembly is the governing body of the GEF in which representatives of all member countries participate. It meets every three to four years, and is responsible for reviewing and evaluating the GEF's general policies, the operation of the GEF, and its membership. The Assembly is also responsible for considering and approving proposed amendments to the GEF Instrument, the document that established the GEF and set the rules by which the GEF operates.

Ministers and high-level government delegations of all GEF member countries take part in the meetings. The Assembly combines plenary meetings and high-level panels, exhibits, side events and GEF project site visits. Prominent environmentalists, parliamentarians, business leaders, scientists, and NGO leaders discuss global environmental challenges within the context of sustainable development and other international development goals.

The GEF Council is the main governing body of the GEF. It functions as an independent board of directors, with primary responsibility for developing, adopting, and evaluating GEF programs. Council members representing 32 constituencies (16 from developing countries, 14 from developed countries, and two from countries with transitional economies) meet twice each year for three days and also conduct business by mail. All decisions are by consensus. Council meetings are attended regularly by civil society organizations.

The GEF Secretariat is based in Washington, D.C., and reports directly to the GEF Council and Assembly, ensuring that their decisions are translated into effective actions. The secretariat coordinates the formulation of projects included in the work programs, oversees its implementation, and makes certain that operational strategy and policies are followed.

The GEF CEO and Chairperson Monique Barbut heads the Secretariat.

An independent GEF Evaluation Office is also located in Washington, D.C., and reports directly to the GEF Council. Its goal is to improve accountability of GEF projects and programs and to promote learning, feedback, and knowledge sharing.

The Office has responsibilities in three main areas:
1. Evaluation – independently evaluating the effectiveness of GEF projects and programs
2. Norms – establishing monitoring and evaluation standards
3. Oversight - providing quality control for monitoring and evaluation by Implementing and Executing Agencies of GEF projects and programs.

GEF Agencies are responsible for creating project proposals and for managing GEF projects. GEF Agencies play key roles in managing GEF projects on the ground. More specifically GEF Agencies assist eligible governments and NGOs in the development, implementation, and management of GEF projects.

GEF Agencies are requested to focus their involvement in GEF project activities within their respective comparative advantages. In specific cases of integrated projects that include components where the expertise and experience of a GEF agency is lacking or weak, the agency is invited to partner with another agency and to establish clear complementary roles so that all aspects of the project can be well managed (GEF Instrument, Paragraph 28). The list below describes 10 GEF agencies that currently operating and their comparative advantage specifically related to adaptation to climate change:
  • United Nations Development Programme
    United Nations Development Programme
    The United Nations Development Programme is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP operates in 177 countries, working with nations on their own solutions to...

  • United Nations Environment Programme
    United Nations Environment Programme
    The United Nations Environment Programme coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its...

  • World Bank
    World Bank
    The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

  • Food and Agriculture Organization
    Food and Agriculture Organization
    The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialised agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Serving both developed and developing countries, FAO acts as a neutral forum where all nations meet as equals to negotiate agreements and...

  • Inter-American Development Bank
    Inter-American Development Bank
    The Inter-American Development Bank is the largest source of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean...

  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization
    United Nations Industrial Development Organization
    The United Nations Industrial Development Organization , French/Spanish acronym ONUDI, is a specialized agency in the United Nations system, headquartered in Vienna, Austria...

  • Asian Development Bank
    Asian Development Bank
    The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia...

  • African Development Bank
    African Development Bank
    The African Development Bank Group is a development bank established in 1964 with the intention of promoting economic and social development in Africa...

  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
    European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
    Founded in 1991, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development uses the tools of investment to help build market economies and democracies in 30 countries from central Europe to central Asia. Its mission was to support the formerly communist countries in the process of establishing their...

  • International Fund for Agricultural Development
    International Fund for Agricultural Development
    The International Fund for Agricultural Development , a specialized agency of the United Nations, was established as an international financial institution in 1977 as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference. IFAD is dedicated to eradicating rural poverty in developing countries...

GEF History

The Global Environment Facility was established in October 1991 as a $1 billion pilot program in the World Bank to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote environmental sustainable development. The GEF would provide new and additional grants and concessional funding to cover the "incremental" or additional costs associated with transforming a project with national benefits into one with global environmental benefits.

The United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Program, and the World Bank were the three initial partners implementing GEF projects.
In 1994, at the Rio Earth Summit, the GEF was restructured and moved out of the World Bank system to become a permanent, separate institution. The decision to make the GEF an independent organization enhanced the involvement of developing countries in the decision-making process and in implementation of the projects. Since 1994, however, the World Bank has served as the Trustee of the GEF Trust Fund and provided administrative services.

As part of the restructuring, the GEF was entrusted to become the financial mechanism for both the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In partnership with the Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention on Ozone Layer Depleting Substances, the GEF started funding projects that enable the Russian Federation and nations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to phase out their use of ozone-destroying chemicals.

The GEF subsequently was also selected to serve as financial mechanism for two more international conventions: The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (2003).

Areas of work

The Least Developed Countries Fund for Climate Change (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) were established by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in response to guidance from the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an international environmental treaty produced at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development , informally known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992...


In May 2010 took place the 4th General Meeting of Global Environment Facility in Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

. As a consequence there will be an observatory specialized in climate change
Climate change
Climate change is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. It may be a change in average weather conditions or the distribution of events around that average...

in Uruguay, a new experience at world scale.

External links

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