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Global Environment Facility (GEF)


Washington, DC, USA



Description: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is the world’s leading international institution dedicated to investing in the joint management, care and restoration of our planet.

The GEF was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and is a catalyst for action on the environment. It is a partnership of 18 agencies — including United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, national entities and international NGOs — working with 183 countries to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues (funded by strategic investments).

Since its establishment, the GEF has provided over $14 billion in grants and mobilized in excess of $70 billion in additional financing for more than 4,000 projects.

Organization Type: International Partnership Organization (UN agencies, multilateral development banks, national entities and international NGOs)
Issue areas covered:

The GEF’s work includes biodiversity, climate change, fisheries, food security (including sustainable food systems) and the illegal wildlife trade. The GEF also has a small grants program.

The GEF also has a role in helping to “achieve momentum for the transformation of key economic systems driving environmental degradation.”

Key opportunities and dates for input: 
  • The GEF NGO Network provides a focus for input – see below.
Requirements for participation: 

Civil Society is involved in GEF work in areas such as general policy discussions and project design, implementation and monitoring. For more information, see here.

A more formal role for CSOs was established with the creation of the GEF NGO Network in 1995 (now known as GEF CSO Network). Since then, the Network has been the main mechanism for involvement with CSO.

CSOs are able to attend GEF Council meetings, and the GEF-CSO Network also organizes meetings during Council Meetings.

Advocacy Opportunities:
  • The GEF works closely with the UNDP and may be able to influence future SDG rounds.

  • It may be possible for APOs to tap into some of their relevant programs under appropriate GEF work areas, and thus receive funding.

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