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  ECW Asia
Statement by
Civil Society Organizations Attending the GEF Expanded  Constituency Workshop for South and East Asia ; April 5-7, 2011; Da Lat, Viet Nam
CSO representatives from 12 countries attending the GEF Extended Constituency Workshop for South and East Asia on 5-7 April 2011 in Da Lat, Viet Nam discussed a range of issues relating to the development and implementation of GEF projects and programmes in the region.  These include: 
CSOs strongly welcome the range of reforms in GEF 5 which have provided additional opportunities for greater CSO engagement in the planning and implementation of GEF programmes including:
  • Support for CSO representatives to attended expanded GEF Constituency workshops;
  • Invitation of CSOs and other stakeholders to attend consultation meetings related to the development of national GEF portfolios at country level;
  • Annual Meetings in each country between CSOs and the GEF Operational Focal Point
  • Organisation of multi-stakeholder dialogues at country level;
  • Inclusion of section on Civil society engagement in GEF concept ( PIF) and Project document Formats;
  • Enhanced support for CSO representatives to attend GEF Council-CSO consultations;
  • Maintenance and enhancement of the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP);
  •  Involvement of CSOs in GEF Monitoring and evaluation process;
Nevertheless, CSOs at the meeting still had a number of concerns based on experience in the region:
·         Insufficient  guidance on specific opportunities and mechanisms for CSO engagement in GEF;
·         Reductions in the GEF 4 period in the level of funding for CSO-led projects in some countries; and
·         To date in some countries in the region, there has been relatively little strategic involvement of CSOs in the development of GEF country plans and projects
The CSO Representatives attending the meeting committed themselves to the following goal:
To actively work in partnership with the National GEF and Convention Focal points to enhance the engagement of Civil Society into GEF programme design,  implementation,  and monitoring & evaluation in the region.
A number of specific recommendations were made:
  1. CSOs should work together with the GEF Focal points, GEF Agencies and the GEF NGO Network to fully implement the GEF Public Involvement Policy in this region - In particular –
o   Engagement of CSOs in national and regional consultation and Portfolio development processes;
o   Development of clear guidelines for Civil society engagement – both generic and country specific;
o   Effective participation of civil society in project development,  formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation; and
o   Enhanced consideration of Gender and social issues
2      The networking and collaboration among CSOs in the region should be enhanced in the region through expansion of membership and strengthening of the work of the GEF NGO Network at regional and country level including the establishment of member groups at country level.
  1. There is a need for training for CSOs to help them effectively participate in GEF activities and help secure global environmental benefits.  It is proposed that GEF provide resources (such as through the development of a regional or sub regional proposal for CSO capacity development) to the GEF NGO Network and SGP for training activities (eg   GEF Policies, procedures and project implementation and monitoring and networking as well as successful approaches to civil society engagement). Such support can help build capacity of CSOs in the region to work effectively with GEF Focal Points and government agencies and help to better facilitate Civil society engagement in GEF activities.
  2. The GEF Secretariat should be requested to write formally to county Focal points to inform them of the recent GEF 5 reforms related to enhanced Civil society engagement in GEF project and programme planning. 
  3. Specific guidelines or tools/learning materials ( eg documentation of lessons learned and good practices for civil society engagement) should be developed to stimulate enhanced CSO engagement in GEF project and programme development in the region.
  4. CSOs and GEF Operational Focal Points should try to work together to develop options for CSO engagement in projects and programmes.
  5. GEF should develop as soon as possible a clear  Policy/ guidelines for engagement of, and respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as well as ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities, in accordance with the right to free prior and informed consent; and recognize the fundamental role and contribution of indigenous peoples’ traditional knowledge, innovations and practices.
  6. Recognising that the SGP can only meet a small percentage of CSO needs and requests due to the relatively limited funding level – Operational Focal Points are asked to support both provision of additional resources to SGP as well as supporting appropriate projects developed by CSOs to be funded as MSPs or FSPs.
  7. The level of CSO engagement in GEF project and programme development in the region should be documented and monitored by GEF NGO Network in conjunction with GEF Focal Points, Agencies and Secretariat; and  a report on progress and constraints to enhancing CSO engagement in GEF projects and programmes in the region should be prepared and submitted to future annual ECW meetings.

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