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  GEF 38th Council Meeting

The 38th GEF Council Meeting was held in Washington DC from 29 June - 2 July 2010. This meeting was important as it discussed some of the key reforms for the new phase of GEF funding (GEF5). One of the key elements of the GEF 5 reforms is an agreement to review jointly with the GEF NGO Network the experience with the effectiveness of GEFs policies and procedures to engage civil society (download the Highlights and Summary).

Another key element of the reforms to be confirmed at the council will be the establishment of new mechanisms for planning of the use of national allocations for GEF 5 (in GEF 5 each country will have its own individual allocation). It is anticipated that many countries will undertake a national portfolio formulation excercise to identify priority projects for GEF support. It has been proposed that civil society organisations will have at least one representative to participate in such a process.


Summary report of GEF NGO Network Activity and Achievement –
38th GEF Council Meeting June 2010

GEF NGO Network organized a range of meetings in Washington DC in association with the 38th GEF Council as follows:

24th June Meeting between Network Central Focal Point and GEF Secretariat and GEF CEO
The meeting clarified aspects of the procedure for Network coordination with the GEF Secretariat, resolved to operationalize the NGO Voluntary Fund and developed a new procedure for providing support for CSO attendance at GEF Council-CSO consultations – to provide more time for travel and visa arrangements and preparation of network positions.

25-26 June Meeting of GEF NGO Network Coordination Committee
The meeting was attended by eleven out of thirteen currently elected Coordination Committee members and discussed a range of matters including the status and development of network membership, the revised network rules and procedures, strengthening the Regional Focal points, enhancing engagement of membership at country level, strengthening the engagement of international NGOs and Indigenous peoples’ organisations in the Network, development of draft position papers for GEF council and the strategy for review of the participation of Civil society in the GEF.

27th June Preparatory meeting for the GEF-CSO consultation
This meeting was attended by 25 representatives from CSOs and the GEF Secretariat and focused on two key issues – Review of the key policy papers for consideration at the 38th GEF Council and development and refinement of the draft network position papers; and discussion on the priorities and process for the proposed review on strengthening Civil society engagement in GEF which was approved as a result of Network interventions during the GEF 5 replenishment process.

28th June GEF Council-CSO Consultation
This meeting was attended by more than 50 representatives from civil society, GEF Council members GEF Agencies and the GEF Secretariat. The meeting included a one hour dialogue between civil society and the GEF CEO and four panel sessions to debate key issues related to enhancing engagement of Civil society in the GEF-5 period. Focus was placed on strengthening the role of Indigenous peoples in working with GEF, review of the GEF Public Involvement Policy, enhancing CSO access to GEF finances and improving the opportunities for CSO engagement at the country level. A summary report of the meetings is available together with the presentations here.

29th June-1st July 38th GEF Council Meeting
20 CSO representatives observed the GEF Council sessions by rotation and five formal network position statements were presented to the council on the relevant agenda item on the GEF project cycle, broadening of the agencies, direct access, the country support program and the STAR. A paper on the SGP was also circulated. The statements are available here. The perspectives of the Network were echoed by several of the council members and highlighted in the record of the meeting available here.

Key council decisions related to civil society included:

  1. Further streamlining of the project cycle for Full sized projects to 18 months and Medium sized projects to 12 months from approval of concept to approval of detailed proposal and promotion and streamlining of the programmatic approach.
  2. Approval of direct access for countries for resources for National portfolio identification exercises and enabling activities – which will be a first trial of direct access for GEF.
  3. Approval of the broadening of GEF agencies to include appropriately qualified CSOs and establishment of a procedure for review and approval of such agencies. Approval of agencies will depend on their compliance with GEF fiduciary (fund management) requirements, proven track record on implementing relevant projects and the formal support from their respective government focal points.
  4. Guidelines for the implementation of the STAR and provision of information on the allocation of resources to countries. In GEF 5 all countries will receive a minimum allocation of $4 million for the period 2010-2014.
  5. Approval of new arrangements for the Country Support Program with an increased budget of $26 million to support a range of consultations at country and sub-regional level to enhance the engagement of stakeholders (including CSOs) in the GEF planning and decision making process.

The full text of the council decisions is available here.

The next council meeting will be held as follows:

  • GEF CSO Preparation Meeting 14 November 2010
  • GEF Council CSO Consultation 15 November 2010
  • GEF Council Meeting 16-18 November 2010


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