Summary report, 2–4 June 2015

48th Meeting of the GEF Council

The 48th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council convened in Washington, DC, US, from 2-4 June 2015, at World Bank headquarters. Representatives of governments, international organizations and civil society organizations (CSOs) attended the three-day meeting, which also included the 18th meeting of the Council for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). The meetings were preceded by a consultation with CSOs on 1 June as well as a meeting of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP). In addition, Jeff Seabright, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever, addressed the Council on the private sector’s role in reversing environmental degradation, and Gabriel Quijandría Acosta, Peru’s Deputy Minister of Environment and Co-Chair of the Green Climate Fund Board, addressed the evolving climate finance architecture during a lunchtime meeting with GEF Council members.

GEF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson Naoko Ishii opened the Council meeting and introduced the agenda. The Council elected Leander Treppel (Austria; Council member for Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Turkey) as Co-Chair of the meeting. The Council engaged in a dialogue with the STAP Chair and considered agenda items on, inter alia: GEF 2020 Implementation; Annual Monitoring Review (AMR) FY14: Part II; Expediting the Preparation of the Stock of Delayed Projects; the Four-Year Work Program and Budget of the GEF Independent Evaluation Office – GEF-6; GEF Agency Compliance with Policies on Environmental and Social Safeguards, Gender, and Fiduciary Standards; a Knowledge Management Approach Paper; the Semi-Annual Evaluation Report June 2015 and Management Responses; Relations with the Conventions and Other International Institutions; and Progress Report on the Pilot Accreditation of GEF Project Agencies.

The Council considered and adopted the largest proposed Work Program in the history of the GEF, a total of US$709 million of GEF Trust Fund resources, plus an indicative amount of US$4.81 billion in co-financing. The Work Program encompasses Integrated Approach Pilots (IAPs) on sustainable cities, food security in sub-Saharan Africa, and taking deforestation out of commodity supply chains, as well as global programs and other projects. The LDCF/SCCF Council convened for its 18th meeting on 4 June, and adopted a Work Program for the SCCF that comprises three project concepts with total resources requested in this work program amounting to over US$15 million. At the close of the meeting, the Council announced the dates for the next three Council meetings: 20-22 October 2015; 7-9 June 2016; and 25-27 October 2016.

This summary highlights the discussions and decisions reached at the 48th meeting of the GEF Council and the 18th meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council.


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was created in 1991 as a result of mounting concern over global environmental problems and in an effort to formulate financing responses to address these problems. The GEF operated in a pilot phase within the World Bank until mid-1994. Negotiations that restructure the GEF into a permanent, separate institution were concluded at a GEF participants’ meeting in Geneva in March 1994, where representatives of 73 countries agreed to adopt the GEF Instrument.

The GEF organizational structure includes an Assembly that meets every four years, a Council that meets twice a year, a Secretariat, and the STAP. The Evaluation Office was created in 2003. The GEF Assembly has convened five times: 1-3 April 1998 in New Delhi, India; 16-18 October 2002 in Beijing, China; 29-30 August 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa; 25-26 May 2010 in Punta del Este, Uruguay; and 28-29 May 2014, in Cancun, Mexico.

The organization’s main decision-making body is the GEF Council, which is responsible for developing, adopting and evaluating the GEF’s operational policies and programmes. It comprises 32 appointed Council members, each representing a constituency group of countries, most of which are composed of either donor or recipient countries.

The GEF is funded by donor nations, which commit money every four years through a process called the GEF replenishment. Since its creation in 1991, the GEF Trust Fund has been replenished by US$2.75 billion (GEF-1), US$3 billion (GEF-2), US$3.13 billion (GEF-3), US$3.13 billion (GEF-4) and US$4.34 billion (GEF-5). In April 2014, the Trust Fund was replenished by US$4.43 billion from 31 donor countries (GEF-6).

The GEF serves as a financial mechanism for a number of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), including the: Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Minamata Convention on Mercury. GEF also funds activities in the areas of sustainable forest management, international waters and ozone layer depletion. The GEF administers the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), which were established by the UNFCCC, and the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF), which was established by the CBD. The GEF Secretariat also hosts the Board Secretariat of the Adaptation Fund established by the parties to the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC.

GEF funding has been channeled to recipient countries through “GEF Agencies,” which as of June 2015 includes the: UN Development Programme (UNDP); UN Environment Programme (UNEP); World Bank; Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO); UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); African Development Bank (AfDB); Asian Development Bank (ADB); European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); World Wildlife Fund, Inc. (WWF-US); Conservation International (CI); International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA); Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO); Chinese Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO); Development Bank of Latin America (CAF); and West African Development Bank (BOAD). Summaries of IISD RS’ coverage of past GEF Council and Assembly meetings can be found at

GEF COUNCIL CONSULTATION WITH CSOs: A GEF Council Consultation with CSOs took place on Monday, 1 June 2015, in Washington, DC. Participants focused on three topics: a dialogue with the GEF CEO; strengthening CSO engagement in the GEF; and knowledge management in the GEF. Afterwards, the first meeting of the new Working Group on Implementation of the GEF Public Involvement Policy (PIP) convened, involving members of the GEF-CSO Network, the GEF Secretariat and the GEF Council. For IISD RS’ summary of the proceedings, see


On Tuesday, 2 June 2015, Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), opened the 48th meeting of the GEF Council and introduced the agenda, noting that the Council needs to evaluate whether GEF is on the right track in a rapidly changing global context, with major decisions expected during 2015 on financing for development, the post-2015 development agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the new climate regime.

Leander Treppel (Austria; Council member for Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Turkey) was elected Co-Chair for the 48th meeting of the GEF Council.

During brief discussion on the Provisional Agenda (GEF/C.48/01.Rev.02), a Council member requested the opportunity to discuss the timeline for deciding on new applicant countries for the Small Grants Programme (SGP). It was agreed that this could be discussed under agenda item 17, “Other Business.” The Provisional Agenda was adopted without amendment.


On Tuesday, GEF CEO Ishii introduced this topic and noted four global contexts for GEF 2020: science and policy research, particularly the “planetary boundary” model, which she said meshes well with the GEF integrated approach; negative global trends in areas such as deforestation and biodiversity loss; increased political attention to environmental degradation; and evolving climate finance architecture. Regarding delivering on the vision of GEF 2020, she highlighted four tracks: strong emphasis on integrated and innovative programming, such as the three IAPs and the Non-Grant Instrument Pilot (NGI) projects coming up for consideration by the 48th meeting of the GEF Council; enhanced strategic country engagement; sharper definition of GEF’s ”niche” in global environmental financing; and ensuring effectiveness and efficiency of the GEF partnership, though policy frameworks such as those on knowledge management (KM), results-based management (RBM), gender equality and public involvement, as well as the reorganization of the GEF Secretariat.

In the ensuing discussion, Council members: stressed that a written document to be provided to Council before the next GEF 2020 update, which should discuss issues and challenges encountered and lessons learned; underscored the need for effective evaluation of results in delivering the 2020 vision; agreed on the importance of enhancing GEF country engagement and delivery of services and the GEF’s role as innovator and catalyzer; expressed interest in further discussing the GEF’s interaction with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), its future role in climate finance and its role in implementation of the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs; and asked the GEF to assess whether growing mining activity in protected areas might undo some of the benefits of GEF-supported work to date.

THE ROLE OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN REVERSING ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION: On Tuesday, Jeff Seabright, Chief Sustainability Officer, Unilever, addressed the Council on the private sector’s role in reversing environmental degradation. He noted challenges in moving from incremental to transformational change and called for using the energy, innovation, capital and scale of the private sector to reach global objectives. He emphasized the need for “green bonds” in global debt and capital markets, green infrastructure, de-risking of investments in environmental sustainability, and domestic resource mobilization such as through enhanced credit. He cited Unilever’s commitment to net zero deforestation by 2050 through reshaping supply chains, requesting public sector help to unlock private investment in smallholder palm oil production in Indonesia.

In response to comments by Council members, Seabright noted the private sector’s need for risk-adjusted returns if they are to “invest in making a difference.” He said the GEF should hone its comparative advantage by contributing to building capacity, developing a project pipeline that can scale up, de-risking investments, and convening discussion among sectors, end users and other stakeholders on topics such as where private sector funds could flow. On how the private sector might recognize and address environmental risk, Seabright gave examples of risk recognition, such as private sector work on developing modes for gauging the costs of climate change. On the best timing for engaging the private sector in GEF projects, Seabright recommended developing a vision for market transformation and then looking for private sector partners to play to their strengths in accelerating and delivering on the vision. He called for governments to develop priorities and goals to drive the private sector and others, to maximize collective results. GEF CEO Ishii noted that the discussion revolved around the need to further identify drivers of degradation along with new modalities for deeper engagement of the private sector and implementation of GEF 2020.


On Tuesday, Elwyn Grainger-Jones, GEF Secretariat, introduced the Annual Monitoring Review (AMR) FY14: Part II (GEF/C.48/03), noting that the second part of the AMR presented each year to the spring Council meeting provides an assessment of outcomes, experiences and lessons learned from the GEF’s active portfolio of projects, with an emphasis on those at mid-term and completion.

Many Council members and the GEF-CSO Network expressed concern that only 24% of projects reviewed included gender responsive indicators, outputs, and/or outcomes in their results frameworks. Council members suggested that future reviews should, inter alia: report on all parts of the project cycle; track the cumulative contribution of projects to the achievement of GEF-6 targets; standardize the presentation of results from all focal areas; include information on what went wrong in addition to analyzing what worked well; move towards a standardized results framework; identify trends by regions; and place the burden of reporting on the implementing Agencies. Members also recommended including economic and social indicators and encouraged more use of them in reporting. One member inquired about the process to verify the project reports and ensure the quality of the review. Another asked how a high percentage of CSO engagement would be maintained. The GEF-CSO Network suggested identifying projects that included or did not include gender and indigenous peoples and asked what steps would be taken to determine how to address related shortcomings.

In response to questions, the Secretariat noted that remote sensing is an important part of RBM work, and the revamped website will make use of mapping tools to convey information about the GEF’s work. The Secretariat reported that a new gender expert had been brought in and a gender and social issues team developed.

Decision: The Council welcomed the report and requested the GEF Secretariat to continue its efforts to enhance its reporting of results.


On Tuesday, Peter Lallas, GEF Secretariat, introduced the GEF Business Plan and FY16 Corporate Budget (GEF/C.48/05), explaining that it updated the GEF Business Plan for GEF-6 and FY16 budget request to cover expenses of the Secretariat, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) and Trustee, as well as including budget requests for the Secretariat and Trustee for their activities under the NPIF. He alerted the Council to recent developments that may affect the budget in the future but for which the Secretariat did not yet have figures and timelines: notification by the Trustee that it is updating its cost recovery methodology; and notification from the landlord of the GEF offices that major building reconstruction is planned, implying possible relocation costs.

During discussion, Council members expressed general satisfaction with the proposed business plan and FY16 corporate budget, but several requested clarifications regarding: the possible costs of implementing Council-approved action plans on RBM, gender and KM; details on the costs of information technology updates; possible relocation costs; the types of support activities already being undertaken for the Minamata Convention; and the number of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) prepared for UNFCCC member parties.

Responding to Council inquiries, CEO Ishii reminded members that GEF policies on salaries and promotions follow the World Bank policies. Noting Council interest in the Secretariat reorganization, she promised to share a new Secretariat chart once the reorganization is completed.

Decision: The Council took note of the updated Business Plan and approved a FY16 corporate budget from the GEF Trust Fund of US$25.408 million, and a FY16 administrative budget for the NPIF of US$39,000. The Council also requested that the Secretariat, in consultation with STAP and the Trustee, present a combined FY17 corporate budget and business plan for discussion at its 2016 spring meeting.


On Tuesday, Juha Uitto, Director, GEF Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), presented the Four-Year Work Program and Budget of the GEF Independent Evaluation Office (GEF/ME/C.48/01), noting it covers the strategy and programming of all evaluations and other work of IEO proposed for the GEF-6 period. He said the document centers around key issues from GEF-6 of relevance to GEF 2020, including identification and development of integrated solutions and multiple benefits, drivers of environmental degradation, and GEF performance, stating that these will be addressed through country, impact or thematic evaluations, according to suitability. He noted that all evaluations will contribute coherently to GEF goals, culminating in a new type of Overall Performance Study, renamed “Comprehensive Evaluation.”

Uitto cited new methodologies and technologies for evaluation, including geographic information systems and remote sensing, and a sub-study on GEF approaches to climate finance. He noted an upcoming IEO evaluation of recent GEF experiences on programmatic approaches, exploring effectiveness and efficiency and contributions to global environmental benefits. He emphasized the use of multiple methods to gauge GEF impacts and co-benefits. He noted that the IEO will conduct a mid-term review of IAPs focusing on implementation and links and relevance to the conventions. Uitto also spoke on, inter alia, IEO evaluations of: GEF support to protected areas; performance of the GEF-CSO Network; and evaluations of the LDCF and SCCF, all culminating in the “Sixth Comprehensive Evaluation of the GEF” (CEG6), and a possibility of more specific studies. He noted that the budget is virtually flat, with the fixed costs reflecting the fact that IEO staff primarily does the evaluation work.

During the discussion, a Council member inquired about the lack of indicators for the evaluation of co-benefits. Uitto said the use of multiple methods mitigates the lack of indicators, and noted that an approach paper is being developed to evaluate the multiple benefits of climate change mitigation and adaptation projects. In response to a question on the selection of countries for evaluation, Uitto noted the utility of selecting countries with sizeable portfolios or a regional cluster of countries. A Council member highlighted the need to evaluate forest cover in Africa. The GEF-CSO Network highlighted the need to evaluate barriers to CSO involvement and to review progress on the recommendations of the GEF-CSO Network. Uitto responded that more time will be given to all partners to comment on documents and approach papers.

In response to other questions, Uitto noted that the development phase of the integrated programs approach can provide lessons and that the resources, network and skills of the GEF enable it to conduct some impact evaluations despite the costs. He also noted ongoing revisions to terminal evaluation guidelines and the monitoring and evaluation policy that will take into account new GEF Agencies and the GEF-CSO Network’s concern about stakeholder participation, but he cautioned that the GEF has limited power to impose its requirements on other Agencies. On IEO credibility, he noted the need for balance between being cooperative and maintaining independence.

Decision: The Council approved the annual budget for the IEO for FY2016 for a total of US$4.7 million, and US$19 million for the four-year work program.


On Tuesday, Andrew Velthaus, GEF Secretariat, introduced GEF Agency Compliance with Policies on Environmental and Social Safeguards, Gender Mainstreaming, and Fiduciary Standards (GEF/C.48/06), noting it compiled reports submitted by the GEF Agencies on the implementation of time-bound action plans that were developed so as to bring them into compliance with GEF Policies on Agency Minimum Standards on Environmental and Social Safeguards and the Policy on Gender Mainstreaming, and summarizes the results of previous actions by relevant GEF Agencies to come into compliance with the GEF Policy Minimum Fiduciary Standards for GEF Partner Agencies. Velthaus reported that all Agencies were deemed to be in compliance with the standards and safeguards, and suggested that the Council recommend that no further review was necessary at this time.

The GEF-CSO Network recommended that there be a participatory process to review and update the safeguards policy, and said revised standards should include guidelines for CSO involvement.

GEF Council members indicated that they were pleased that the GEF Agencies had met the minimum standards, but emphasized that the safeguards should not be viewed as a static concept and should be discussed at future Council Meetings. They inquired how the Agencies had been deemed to be in compliance with the standards, and whether reporting from the ground level would be possible. One member suggested the further discussion could take place as part of the agenda item on the GEF business model at the next Council meeting.

The Secretariat noted that there is an understanding that the Agencies would remain in compliance and improve, and highlighted a second question regarding how the GEF would maintain a cutting edge policy on these issues. The Secretariat said the determination that all Agencies were in compliance was based on an extensive review of the Agencies’ policies and capacity, and suggested that a review of implementation of the standards and guidelines should wait until there is more experience with implementing them.

Decision: The GEF Council noted that it reviewed the report that indicates that all ten GEF Agencies have satisfactorily met the requirements of the “Agency Minimum Standards on Environmental and Social Safeguards,” the “Policy on Gender Mainstreaming” and the “Minimum Fiduciary Standards for GEF Partner Agencies,” and decided that that no further review is needed at this time. In addition, the Council requested the Secretariat to provide options at the June 2016 Council meeting on whether and how the Council would monitor Agency’s on-going compliance with these policies.


On Tuesday, Elwyn Grainger-Jones, GEF Secretariat, introduced Expediting the Preparation of the Stock of Delayed Projects (GEF/C.48/04), explaining that the document analyzes overdue project stock, recommends next steps to address the issue, and proposes that the Project Cancellation Policy be amended to include provisions to cover overdue medium-sized projects (MSPs). Grainger-Jones said that, as of 30 April 2015, the GEF had 70 overdue full-sized projects (FSPs), worth about US$435 million, more than half of which had been in design for more than 24 months, and 25 MSPs, corresponding to US$36 million in grants, which have been under preparation for durations exceeding the 12-month standard. He said analysis suggests that the reasons for delays cannot be generalized according to generic country or project features.

Grainger-Jones explained that the Secretariat was proposing a one-off cancellation, on 30 June 2016, of FSPs whose Project Identification Forms (PIFs) were approved prior to the October 2014 Council meeting and MSPs whose PIFs were approved prior to the June 2015 Council meeting, with the hope that the one-year prior warning would prompt Agencies and countries to expedite preparation of projects for submission.

In their discussion, Council members raised concerns about: how much time should be required before considering MSPs overdue; the length of extensions for countries experiencing extraordinary events; providing further analysis on reasons for delays; providing for regular review of agency performance; clarifying if “child” projects would be affected by the proposed cancellation; possibly allowing for resubmission of cancelled projects within a set time period without having to resubmit a PIF; ensuring early and frequent communication with country focal points and affected agencies before the deadline so they have an opportunity to address their projects’ overdue statuses; deciding how to redistribute the funds released by cancelled projects; and reporting to the Council at its June 2016 meeting on the status of overdue stock and further analysis of reasons for project preparation delays.

CEO Ishii said the Secretariat would consider the Council input and offer a revised decision reflecting their concerns. On Thursday, a revised draft decision was presented to Council. Several members noted that the amended draft decision did not reflect their call to give 18 months for future MSPs before they are considered overdue, and one said his concern about the one-time cancellation covering child projects also was not reflected. Noting that she had circulated her proposal among delegations and received favorable feedback, one member successfully argued, with support from two others, for a revision regarding the issue of reallocating resources from cancelled projects that would state that this should be done in accordance with GEF-6 priorities and taking into account demand to date.

Decision: The Council approved a one-time cancellation by 30 June 2016 of overdue FSPs for which PIFs were approved prior to the October 2014 Council meeting, and MSPs for which PIFs were approved prior to the June 2015 Council meeting and have not been submitted for CEO endorsement within 18 months after PIF approval. The Council also amended the Project Cancellation Policy approved at the October 2014 Council meeting to include provisions for cancellation of overdue MSPs. In addition, the Council: urged GEF Agencies to ensure their own efficiency with a view to preventing delays in project or program preparation and implementation, while asking the Secretariat to report on this issue through its yearly reporting process; encouraged recipient countries to make efforts to speed up project or program preparation and implementation; and requested the Secretariat to report to the Council in June 2016 with a proposal on how to redistribute any resources from cancelled projects that may revert to the Trust Funds, as necessary, in support of GEF-6 priorities, and taking into consideration demand to date.


On Wednesday, Rosina Bierbaum, Chair, STAP, presented the Report of the Chairperson of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (GEF/STAP/C.48/Inf.01), highlighting four areas of work.

On the IAPs, she: said their conceptual frameworks are scientifically sound and represent a good test of learning and KM systems; noted that each IAP began with partnerships with other stakeholders which the GEF built on in enabling and piloting innovation; and highlighted STAP’s input to indicator development. On the deforestation IAP, she commended its logical theory of change and well-formulated implementation strategy. On sustainable cities, she supported using some common indicators and maintaining flexibility on others and cited STAP’s assistance on monitoring and evaluation (M&E), quantifying benefits and management. On food security, she noted STAP’s input on developing a resilience, adaptation, transformation, assessment and learning framework (RATALF).

On the GEF Work Program, she noted STAP recommendations on: use of hypotheses in PIFs; effective use of existing evidence and more bottom-up stakeholder engagement in project design; and consideration of KM within annual reviews. On the KM strategy, she recommended development of PIF guidelines for new Agencies and said the GEF’s potential in knowledge capture, exchange and uptake should be fully realized and country-based. She cited the sustainable cities IAP as showing how KM can be embedded in design and also evolve. She cited nine STAP recommendations, including scaling up support for South-South exchanges and improving the enabling environment for KM. She said near-term STAP work will, inter alia: support an inter-agency KM working group; develop guidance on designing projects and programs that support KM; contribute to developing a GEF open data policy; and mainstream KM in evaluations.

Under ongoing STAP work, Bierbaum listed recommendations on mercury, black carbon, biofuels, GHG accounting, NAPs and M&E for adaptation. On engagement with GEF-related conventions, she noted developments related to the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee, the UNCCD 3rd Scientific Conference, and the BRS COPs and called for addressing threats posed by plastics in the environment. She also said STAP plans to consider the science of integrated approaches and tackle topics across focal areas, such as green chemistry, climate resilience, and sustainable intensification of agriculture. She also called for risk-taking projects for achieving transformational goals.

During the discussion, the GEF-CSO Network called for guidance related to stakeholder consultation processes and a formal GEF-CSO Network/STAP link. In response to questions, Bierbaum noted, inter alia: STAP’s commitment to continue work on KM in IAPs; the need to review lessons learned in annual reports; and that the Minamata Convention Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) Bureau approached STAP about facilitating open data access and ensuring data collected on sources and disposal of mercury are coherent and comparable. On black carbon, she said it is tackled in a STAP report on the state of the science.

The Council took note of the Report.


On Wednesday morning, 3 June, Elwyn Grainger-Jones, GEF Secretariat, presented the GEF Knowledge Management Approach Paper (GEF/C.48/07/Rev.01). He outlined the opportunities, possibilities and demand for improved KM within the GEF Secretariat and Partnership. He highlighted that the purpose of the approach paper is to lay the foundation for the KM system, and that the system should be iterative and evolve over time. He also said a successful system will require a collective effort by the GEF Partnership.

During the discussion, Council members welcomed the focus on improving KM and reiterated its importance for the GEF. Council members inquired about, inter alia: the KM approach’s budget; how achievable the system presented in the approach paper is; how recipient countries would be included, especially whether they will be invited to participate in the inter-agency KM Working Group to support the GEF KM Agenda; and how to measure the impact and success of KM initiatives. The focus on South-South knowledge exchange was supported by several Council members. A Council member suggested establishing a more formal knowledge exchange with the GCF. Members requested clarification of the roles and linkages between the KM platform and RBM, and clarification on the linkages between the GEF KM platform and the KM teams in GEF Agencies. A Council member also stressed that the KM platform should add value to existing KM platforms and not duplicate existing efforts. The GEF-CSO Network recommended, inter alia: a baseline study on actual and potential knowledge within the GEF Partnership, with input from the CSOs; establishing a framework to include traditional and indigenous knowledge; and establishing a mechanism to include CSOs on knowledge management with defined rules and responsibilities.

Grainger-Jones responded that the Secretariat will use existing budgetary resources to initiate the activities presented in the KM Approach Paper by redirecting resources and staff. He emphasized that the GEF KM platform will build on existing platforms and experiences, and not duplicate efforts. GEF CEO Ishii said the KM approach represents a change in the value system of the GEF Secretariat, and knowledge management “is everybody’s business.”

Decision: The Council welcomed the document, and requested an update on progress at the fall 2015 Council Meeting.


On Wednesday, Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Secretariat, presented the Work Program (GEF/C.48/08/Rev.01), saying it represents the largest proposed work program in the history of GEF financing, with: IAPs on sustainable cities, food security in sub-Saharan Africa, and taking deforestation out of commodity supply chains; two global programs, one on illegal wildlife trade and poaching and the other on biodiversity; three projects in the Non-Grant Instrument Pilot (NGI) that expand the opportunities for strategic engagement by the GEF with private sector initiatives seeking to deliver global environmental benefits, namely the Equity Fund for Independent Power Producers in Southern Africa, the Moringa Agro-Forestry Fund for Africa, and Impact Investment in Support of the Implementation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing; and 32 other project concepts. He highlighted a project for the Cook Islands to help them switch to renewable energy, and a project in China to reduce mercury use in industry.

He said the work program involves a total of US$709 million of GEF trust fund resources, plus an indicative amount of US$4.81 billion in co-financing. He explained the formulation process, basic elements, recipient countries and some of the expected environmental benefits of the IAPs, global programs and NGI pilots.

All Council members intervening expressed appreciation for the scope and ambition of the Work Program. On IAPs, many asked for greater details in future reports to Council and some sought clarifications regarding: selection criteria for the cities participating in the Sustainable Cities IAP; the manageability of having 23 child projects under the Cities IAP; the involvement of STAP during IAP design and implementation; whether child projects will be reviewed by the Council before going for CEO endorsement; the planned frequency of updates to Council on IAPs; involvement of the private sector in the commodities IAP; expected outcomes of each IAP and how results would be evaluated. The GEF-CSO Network called for more work with accredited CSOs as GEF Agencies in the Work Program, the inclusion of a biodiversity component in the Sustainable Cities IAP, and greater involvement of CSOs in IAP design and implementation.

On NGI projects, Council members sought clarification regarding: the prospects for public sector involvement; who the co-financers are for each project; involvement of the private sector in the design of NGIs; more details on the financial aspects of the NGIs; expedited pilot implementation so an initial assessment can be carried out before talks for the next GEF replenishment begin; what impact the benefit sharing NGI might have on Nagoya Protocol ratification; and the baseline and stakeholder engagement for the biodiversity benefits sharing NGI. The Secretariat responded that: it will provide a more detailed report on NGI pilots to the October 2015 GEF Council; it is in talks with several countries about NGIs involving the public sector; countries must have ratified the Protocol to participate in the biodiversity benefits sharing NGI; and engagement of the private sector at early stages is a guiding vision for the Secretariat’s work on NGIs.

Several Council members raised specific concerns about specific projects, and one expressed opposition in principle to several but said it would not stand in the way of their approval.

CEO Ishii said the draft decision would be amended to reflect Council input. The amended draft decision was presented on Thursday. A Council member asked that the meeting highlights on this decision underscore that the framework for the programmatic approach on illegal wildlife trade should be amended to reflect Council comments and posted on the GEF website to guide the development of all child projects associated with this program.

Decision: The Council approved the Work Program comprising 35 project concepts and five programmatic frameworks, subject to comments made during the Council meeting and additional comments that may be submitted in writing to the Secretariat by 18 June 2015.

The Council found that each PIF approved as part of the Work Program may be endorsed by the CEO for final approval by the GEF Agency, provided that the final project documents fully incorporate and address the Council’s and STAP reviewer’s comments on the Work Program, and that the CEO confirms that the project continues to be consistent with the Instrument and GEF policies and procedures. Final project documents are to be posted on the GEF website after CEO endorsement. If there are major changes to the project scope and approach after PIF approval, the final project document shall be posted on the web for Council review for four weeks prior to CEO endorsement.

On the IAPs, the Council agreed that:

• IAP child projects will be circulated to Council for review and comment at least four weeks in advance of CEO endorsements;

• The Secretariat will continue to provide detailed IAP updates to the GEF Partnership;

• The Secretariat will continue to engage STAP during child project development stage;

• The results framework will be updated as integral components of the child projects to demonstrate how programs contribute to achieving GEF-6 results; and

• The approved cancellation policy of 18 months for FSPs, from Council approval to submission for CEO endorsement, will also be applied to child projects of these IAPs.

Regarding the child projects of the programmatic approach on illegal wildlife trade, the Council agreed the proposals for child projects would be circulated for Council review and comments at least four weeks in advance of CEO endorsements, and that the Secretariat will engage STAP during the child project development phase of this programmatic approach.


Juha Uitto, Director, IEO, presented the Semi-Annual Evaluation Report of the GEF IEO: June 2015 (GEF/ME/C.48/02). He announced that a new “Semi-Annual Evaluation Report” (SAER) replaces the former Annual Reports on Impacts, Country Portfolio Evaluation, and Thematic Evaluation and the Annual Progress Report from the IEO Director.

Presenting the Annual Performance Report 2014 (APR) (GEF/ME/C.48/Inf.01), Uitto reported the closing of the joint GEF-UNDP Impact Evaluation of GEF Support to PAs and PA Systems. He noted that ongoing country portfolio evaluations will be completed before new country-level and cluster strategic evaluations begin.

Uitto noted IEO’s specific priorities to glean and systematically present knowledge from evaluations. He said the IEO has developed new approaches on KM, is considering how to improve demand for IEO products and is working with the GEF Agencies’ evaluation offices on strengthening KM through evaluative evidence. He reported on the Climate-Eval community of practice’s 2nd International Conference on Evaluating Climate Change and Development in November 2014 and noted that SGP evaluations have mainstreamed gender in methodology and conclusions.

An assessment of results from 917 completed GEF projects was then presented. Positive trends were reported in ratings of project outcome and sustainability, implementation and execution quality, and M&E design and implementation. Weaknesses were reported in, inter alia, M&E, project design and intervention strategy. Strengths were reported in, inter alia, stakeholder ownership, flexibility in design and managerial staff.

Regarding the Evaluation of the Accreditation Process for Expansion of the GEF Partnership (GEF/ME/C.48/Inf.03), the accreditation process was reported as having improved Agency processes and capacities, although it has been costlier to GEF and slower than expected and there were some perceptions of unfairness. Points for consideration included, inter alia, better definition of the criteria and performance thresholds.

On the Joint GEF-UNDP Small Grants Programme Evaluation (GEF/ME/C.48/Inf.02), implementation of recommendations from the 2008 evaluation was reported, including broadening of scope and upgrading of the program. Conclusions reported included that SGP projects are efficient, effective, and relevant, and that replication, scaling up and mainstreaming at the national policy level is happening, although M&E is too complex. Recommendations called for: more support for strategic thinking and long-term vision; dialogue between UNDP and GEF on strategic decision-making; and more streamlined and useful M&E tools.

Elwyn Grainger-Jones, for management, welcomed the reports but queried the conclusion on costliness of accreditation.

During the discussion, Council members supported the SAER. One suggested including only information needed for Council decisions. One queried the cost-effectiveness of frequent M&E and APRs and the appropriateness of GEF accreditation processes for GCF accreditation. One Council member noted that high transaction and transportation costs lead to underperformance in SIDS. The GEF-CSO Network called for CSO engagement at the strategic level.

Uitto responded that the APR is still useful, particularly for evaluating new strategies. Grainger-Jones said the Secretariat is already addressing many recommendations, particularly regarding long-term vision.

Decision: The decision requests the Secretariat to: revitalize the global SGP Steering Committee to support high-level strategic thinking in developing a long-term vision for the SGP, foster dialogue between UNDP and the GEF on the SGP, and advise the Council, as appropriate, on strategic decision making concerning the SGP. The Council requests the Secretariat and UNDP to continue upgrading the SGP Country Program and recommends revisiting criteria for selecting countries for upgrading. The Council also takes note of recommendations to UNDP and the CPMT. Regarding the Evaluation of the Accreditation Process for Expansion of the GEF Partnership, the Council acknowledges emerging lessons from the accreditation pilot, and requests the Secretariat to take these into account in preparing proposals regarding possible directions on accreditation in the context of the evolving GEF.


On Wednesday afternoon, the GEF Council discussed the document Relations with the Conventions and Other International Institutions (GEF/C.48/09). Rolph Payet, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS), presented the outcomes of the triple Conferences of the Parties (COPs) of the BRS, which took place in May 2015. He expressed appreciation for the active participation and support by the GEF in the COPs and in identifying and developing synergies. He highlighted the importance of the Stockholm Convention COP decision that requested the GEF to prepare a report on co-financing facilities for chemicals. He also highlighted that the COP noted there had been no increase in GEF funding for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) within the Stockholm Convention.

During the discussion, a Council member called for the Council to support efforts to create joint reporting between Rio Conventions and to coordinate meetings for regional environmental focal points. A member stressed that GEF-6 should prioritize funding Conventions that the GEF serves and not other Conventions unless significant co-benefits are identified. The Secretariat was asked to elaborate on their role in the post-2015 development agenda, especially with regard to the GEF co-leading work on proposed SDG 17 on strengthening the means of implementation (MOI) and revitalizing the global partnership for sustainable development.

Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Secretariat, responded by stating that the GEF was asked by the UN to assist in coordinating responses on MOI due to its expertise. Inquiries were made about reporting of the relations between the GEF and the GCF and requests were made for more information and transparency about their interactions. Fonseca responded that the GEF has reached out to the GCF to address issues of complementarity and encouraged Council members to bring this message to the GCF. Council members also inquired about the progress of the submissions of the 44 countries that the GEF is supporting to prepare their INDCs. Chizuru Aoki, GEF Secretariat, responded that helping countries submit their INDCs before the October 2015 deadline is a priority for the GEF Secretariat and therefore they are making a concerted effort to work with other agencies and engage with recipient countries.

In response to another inquiry, Fernando Lugris, Chair of the INC on Mercury, highlighted that, at the INC’s sixth meeting, the GEF was invited as an observer in an Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Financing.

Decision: The Council welcomed the report and requested the GEF network to continue to work with recipient countries to reflect the guidance and national priorities in their GEF programming and activities.


On Wednesday, Yasemin Biro, GEF Secretariat, presented the Progress Report on the Pilot Accreditation of GEF Project Agencies (GEF/C.48/10/Rev.01). She briefed the Council on the status of the first round, noting that all Stage II reviews have been concluded. She announced that four applicants (WWF-US, CI, IUCN and the DBSA) have completed Stage III to become GEF Agencies by signing Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the Secretariat and Financial Procedures Agreements (FPAs) with the Trustee, while four more, FUNBIO, FECO, BOAD and CAF are in the process of negotiating MOUs and FPAs.

Decision: The Council noted that FUNBIO, FECO, BOAD and CAF have received approval from the Accreditation Panel to progress from Stage II to Stage III. The Council approved initial grant ceilings for these Agencies, determined in accordance with provisions in Council document GEF/C.40/09, as follows:

• individual project ceiling for a GEF grant of US$54 million for FUNBIO, US$440 million for FECO, US$60 million for BOAD, and US$400 million for CAF, and

• total project ceilings of US$76 million for FUNBIO, US$252 million for FECO, US$900 million for BOAD and US$4,831 million for CAF.

The Council authorized the Secretariat to recalculate these ceilings at the time of project approvals for these agencies and inform the Council of any change. It also requested the Secretariat to present a progress report on the accreditation pilot at the next Council meeting.


On Thursday morning, Council members met in Executive Session to consider the Report of the Selection and Review Committee, based on the document Report of the Selection and Review Committee (GEF/C.48/11). The report notes that GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii’s four-year term will conclude on 31 July 2016, and indicates that she is eligible for reappointment. The Council will decide whether to reappoint her or to begin a new selection process at the October 2015 meeting of the GEF Council. Council members were encouraged to consult with their constituencies and to inform the Selection and Review Committee of their view on this matter by 28 August 2015.


The Council considered the agenda item on other business on Thursday morning. The Council confirmed that the next meeting would convene from 20-22 October 2015. The 2016 Council meetings will convene from 7-9 June 2016 and 25-27 October 2016.


On Thursday, 4 June, GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii opened the 18th meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council, highlighting increasing global attention and commitment to climate change adaptation. She reported important progress in helping the national adaptation plan (NAP) process. She noted the two funds together are approaching US$1.3 billion, but reported that the gap between funds available and demand captured in project and program submissions continues to grow, with 29 projects worth US$215 million waiting in the pipeline of the LDCF.

Agostinho Tavares, Ambassador of Angola to the US, on behalf of the Chair of the UNFCCC Least Developed Countries Group, while expressing appreciation for the 161 projects approved by the Council with grants amounting to $905.6 million, said the Group noted “with grave concern” … “a chronic lack of resources” in LDCF, with 29 projects cleared by the Secretariat still awaiting approval. The Group stressed the importance of adequate, sustainable and predictable funding from the LDCF, and sought reassurance from the Council that it will scale up replenishment of the LDCF before COP21. He said the Group envisaged that the LDCF will continue, with enhanced enabling abilities and improved modalities, under the new climate agreement after 2020.

The Provisional Agenda (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.18/01) was adopted without amendment.


On Thursday morning, the Progress Report on the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.18/03) and the FY14 Annual Monitoring Review (AMR) of the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Special Climate Change Fund (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.18/04) were presented by Gustavo Fonseca and Rawleston Moore, GEF Secretariat. Both the Progress Report and the AMR outlined that demand exceeds the supply of funding; for instance, in the SCCF available funding met about 10% of the demand of submitted projects.

Several Council members expressed regret that pledges for the Funds had decreased despite the demand and the good results demonstrated. A member urged other donors to share the burden of providing funding, highlighting that this would make it easier for his country to consider additional funding. Several Council members asked about the reporting of gender equality, calling for integration of additional information into reporting. Fonseca responded that improvements made in reporting will allow gender data to emerge and improve over time, but this has not happened yet. One member asked what is “plan B” for funding projects that are in the pipeline. CEO Ishii outlined that there is a US$400 million funding gap for the two Funds and that she is taking every opportunity to highlight this gap to donors and partners and is asking them to also reflect on “plan B.”

Decisions:The LDCF/SCCF Council welcomed the Progress Report and took note with appreciation of the progress made under the LDCF and the SCCF. The LDCF/SCCF Council also welcomed the FY14 AMR and appreciated the progress made in reporting portfolio-level performance, results and lessons learned under the LDCF and the SCCF. The Council welcomed the overall finding that 98% of LDCF projects and 92% of SCCF projects under implementation in FY14 were rated in the satisfactory range for their progress towards development objectives.


On Thursday, Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Secretariat, presented the Work Program (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.18/05), which consists of consists of three FSP concepts requesting SCCF project grants. He highlighted that the Work Program represents efforts to demonstrate, mainstream and invest in disaster risk planning and infrastructure; enhance rural climate resilience and contribute towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions through improved access and adoption of renewable energy technologies; and to mainstream ecosystem-based adaptation into urban planning and investments. Council members adopted the decision as drafted.

Decision: The Council approved the Work Program, which comprises three project concepts, subject to additional comments to be submitted in writing to the Secretariat by 18 June 2015. Total resources requested for this Work Program amounted to US$15.537 million, which includes SCCF project financing and Agency fees.


Fonseca briefly introduced the FY16 Administrative Budget (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.18/06). Council members inquired about the investment management costs, whether the costs change as the amount in the respective trust fund changes, and whether there is a return on investment. The Secretariat replied that these costs are variable based on the cash balance in the trust fund, and confirmed that the World Bank invests the trust funds and attributes the returns based on each fund’s balance. The Council approved the proposed budget decision.

Decision: The Council approved the proposed budget for the GEF Secretariat, STAP, the Trustee and the GEF IEO, allocating to the LDCF US$1,020,132 for GEF Secretariat functions, US$121,000 for STAP, US$334,000 for the Trustee function, and $69,000 for the GEF IEO. The Council allocated to the SCCF US$508,923 for GEF Secretariat functions, US$121,000 for the STAP, US$171,000 for the Trustee, and US$14,000 for the GEF IEO.


On Thursday, Juha Uitto, Director, IEO, presented the Four-Year Work Program and Budget for the IEO under the LDCF and SCCF (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.18/ME/01), explaining that the Work Program will be organized around two strategic programming pillars: integrating climate change adaptation into relevant policies, plans, programs and decision-making processes, and expanding synergies with other GEF focal areas. He reported that most of the activities of the IEO Work Program approved by the LDCF/SCCF Council in May 2014 have been completed, including the Annual Evaluation Report (AER) 2014 and guidance on M&E, with the LDCF/SCCF Terminal Evaluation (TE) Guidelines awaiting completion of IEO work on the GEF TE guidelines. He said the IEO proposed further evaluation of the LCDF in FY16 and an update of the 2011 evaluation of the SCCF in FY17.

Decision: The Council approved an annual budget of US$83,000 for the IEO for FY16 to cover the cost of implementing the proposed work program.


On Thursday, Anna Viggh, GEF IEO, presented the second LDCF/SCCF Annual Evaluation Report (AER) (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.18/ME/02). She explained that AER 2014 has four sections: assessment of the 2014 cohort of eight TEs; gender considerations; a synthesis of lessons learned on communications, stakeholder involvement, M&E, project management, and technical aspects of content; and the management action record on ensuring transparency in the project pre-selection process, dissemination of good practices, and communications and visibility.

Decision: The Council welcomed the Report and noted the information on the progress of the LDCF and SCCF. It requested the IEO to develop the AER as the portfolios mature to become a robust source of information and a tool for decision making.


At the end of the morning session, Council members received a draft Joint Summary of the Chairs for both the GEF Council meeting and the LDCF/SCCF Council meeting, both of which included the decisions they had adopted during the meetings. Council members requested the Secretariat to ensure that the meeting highlights would reflect several items that were discussed but not included in the decisions. Council members also discussed and clarified matters relating to expediting the preparation of the stock of delayed projects and monitoring of Agencies’ ongoing compliance with policies on environmental and social safeguards, gender and fiduciary standards. The GEF Council and LDCF/SCCF Council adopted the Joint Summary of the Chairs.

CEO Ishii expressed appreciation for her Co-Chair’s work, the strong collaboration from GEF Agencies, STAP and IEO, the very rich discussions on the Work Program offered by Council members and their engagement and support for the innovative programs the Secretariat presented, and the key reform initiatives adopted, such as on KM. She also reiterated her welcome to the new GEF Agencies. She closed the meeting at 12:31 p.m.


Expanded Constituency Workshops: Currently scheduled Expanded Constituency Workshops (ECWs) are as follows: Eastern Europe – Tbilisi, Georgia, 22-24 June; East Africa – Kampala, Uganda, 20-23 July; North Africa + West Asia - Egypt/Turkey/Jordan (TBC), 8-11 September; Pacific Islands – Cook Islands, 6-8 October; Central Asia, Russia, Belarus, Armenia – Minsk, Belarus, 22-25 September; and Coastal West Africa - Benin/Togo (TBC), 2-4 or 9-11 November. contact: GEF Secretariat phone: +1-202-473-0508 fax: +1-202-522-3240 e-mail: www:

10th Meeting of the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF): The Board governs and supervises the GCF based on guidance from the UNFCCC COP, including on matters relating to policies, programme priorities and eligibility criteria and matters related thereto. dates: 6-9 July 2015 location: Songdo, Republic of Korea contact: GCF Secretariat phone: +82-32-458-6059 fax: +82-32-458-6094 email: www:

Third International Conference on Financing for Development: The Third International Conference on Financing for Development will result in an intergovernmentally negotiated and agreed outcome and summaries of the plenary meetings and other deliberations of the Conference. dates: 13-16 July 2015 location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia contact: UN Financing for Development Office phone: +1-212-963-4598 email: www:

36th Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group of the Montreal Protocol: This meeting will consider issues related to the implementation of the Montreal Protocol in preparation for the 27th Meeting of the Parties (MOP 27), including whether to consider proposals to amend the Protocol regarding hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) management. dates: 20-24 July 2015 location: Paris, France contact: Ozone Secretariat phone: +254-20-762-3851 fax: +254-20-762-0335 email: www:

UN Summit to Adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The Summit is expected to adopt the post-2015 development agenda, including: a declaration; a set of Sustainable Development Goals targets, and indicators; their means of implementation and a new Global Partnership for Development; and a framework for follow-up and review of implementation. dates: 25-27 September 2015 location: UN Headquarters, New York contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development fax: +1-212-963-4260 email: www:

26th Meeting of the Adaptation Fund Board: The Adaptation Fund Board supervises and manages the Adaptation Fund under the authority and guidance of the countries that are parties to the Kyoto Protocol. dates: 6-9 October 2015 location: Bonn, Germany contact: Cathryn Poff, Adaptation Fund Secretariat phone: +1-202-473-7499 fax: +1-202-522-2720 e-mail: www:

UNCCD COP 12: The 12th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) will meet to discuss and make decisions regarding the Convention’s implementation. dates: 12-23 October 2015 location: Ankara, Turkey contact: UNCCD Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-2800 fax: +49-228-815-2898/99 e-mail: www:

6th GEF-UNDP-IMO GloBallast R&D Forum: The GloBallast Project, funded by GEF, implemented by UNDP and executed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), assists developing countries to reduce the transfer of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens in ships’ ballast water and implement the IMO Ballast Water Management (BWM) Convention. The R&D Forum is to discuss an IMO study of the implementation of the ballast water performance standard, and approval and implementation of ballast water management systems. dates: 14-16 October 2015 location: Canada contact: Aïcha Cherif, Project Officer phone: 44-20-7463-4215 email: www:

POPRC11: The eleventh meeting of the Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC11) will review possible listing under the Convention for short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), dicofol and decaBDE, and may consider the issue of including HCBD in Annex C of the Convention. dates: 19-23 October 2015 location: Rome, Italy contact: BRS Secretariat phone: +41-22-917-8729 fax: +41-22-917-8098 email: www:

49th Meeting of the GEF Council: The GEF Council meets twice a year to approve new projects with global environmental benefits in the GEF’s focal areas, and provide guidance to the GEF Secretariat and Agencies. dates: 20-22 October 2015 location: Washington, DC, US contact: GEF Secretariat phone: +1-202-473-0508 fax: +1-202-522-3240 e-mail: www:

50th Meeting of the GEF Council: As announced at the close of the 48th meeting of the GEF Council, the 50th meeting will take place from 7-9 June 2016. dates: 7-9 June 2016 location: Washington, DC, US contact: GEF Secretariat phone: +1-202-473-0508 fax: +1-202-522-3240 e-mail: www:

51st Meeting of the GEF Council: As announced at the close of the 48th meeting of the GEF Council, the 51st meeting will take place from 25-27 October 2016. dates: 25-27 October 2016 location: Washington, DC, US contact: GEF Secretariat phone: +1-202-473-0508 fax: +1-202-522-3240 e-mail: www:

For additional meetings, see

Further information

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