Summary report, 5–7 June 2012

42nd Meeting of the GEF Council

The 42nd Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council convened in Washington, DC, US, from 5-7 June 2012, at World Bank headquarters. Over 200 representatives of governments, international organizations and civil society organizations (CSOs) attended the three-day meeting, which also included the Council meeting for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). The meeting was preceded by consultations with CSOs and an evening welcome reception on 4 June.

GEF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson Monique Barbut opened the Council meeting and introduced the full agenda. The Council elected Jozef Buys (Council member for Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Turkey) to Co-Chair the meeting.

Among other items, the Council heard messages from four convention secretariats and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP). Fernando Lugris, Chair, Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Mercury, also briefed Council members on the status of the mercury negotiations.

Council members discussed and approved the Work Program, the largest presented to the Council to date, with 84 stand-alone project concepts and two programmatic approaches amounting to US$667.26 million in GEF project grants, and the largest number of recipients included in a GEF Work Program.

GEF Council members also considered and adopted decisions on the annual performance report, the 2012 annual country portfolio evaluation report and management response, the Work Program and budget of the GEF Evaluation Office, broadening the GEF Partnership, project agencies for accreditation and the fee structure for Agencies.

On Thursday, 7 June, the Council unanimously appointed Naoko Ishii (Japan) as GEF CEO/Chairperson of the GEF for a four-year term, beginning 1 August 2012, and praised outgoing CEO/Chairperson Monique Barbut for her six years of service and pursuit of reforms.

The Least Developed Countries Fund/Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF) Council convened for its 12th meeting on the afternoon of 7 June, and approved decisions on the Joint Work Program for the LDCF/SCCF, the FY2012 Work Plan and Budget for the Evaluation Office under the LDCF and SCCF, and the Administrative Budget for the LDCF and SCCF for Fiscal Year 2013. Pledges and contributions were announced by Australia (AUS$15 million) and Finland (US$5 million).

The LDCF/SCCF and GEF Councils then reviewed and approved the Joint Summary of the Chairs of the respective meetings. Following a standing ovation for outgoing CEO and Chairperson Monique Barbut, Co-Chair Buys closed the meeting at 4:44 pm.

This summary highlights the discussions and decisions reached at the 42nd meeting of the GEF Council and the LDCF/SCCF Council meetings.


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was created in 1991 as a result of mounting concern in the preceding decade over global environmental problems and in an effort to formulate financing responses to address these problems. The GEF operated in a pilot phase until mid-1994. Negotiations to restructure the organization 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 Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel. The Evaluation Office was created in 2003. The GEF Assembly first met from 1-3 April 1998 in New Delhi, India, and then subsequently from 16-18 October 2002 in Beijing, China, 29-30 August 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa, and 25-26 May 2010, in Punta del Este, Uruguay. For IISD Reporting Services coverage of these meetings, see:

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 is comprised of 32 appointed Council members, each representing a constituency (i.e., a group of countries, including both donor and 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). GEF-5 covers GEF operations and activities for the four years from 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2014.

The GEF also administers the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), and provides secretariat services to the Adaptation Fund, established by the parties to the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The GEF serves as the financial mechanism for a number of multilateral environmental agreements: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UNFCCC, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. GEF work also focuses on sustainable forest management, international waters and ozone layer depletion.

Currently, GEF funding has been channeled to recipient countries through ten 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.

40th MEETING OF THE GEF COUNCIL: This meeting convened in Washington, DC, US, from 24-26 May 2011. At this meeting, among other decisions, Council members agreed to broaden the GEF Partnership under Paragraph 28 of the Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured GEF (GEF Instrument), which establishes criteria and accreditation procedures for allowing new entities into the Partnership during a pilot phase. Related to this decision, the Council agreed on provisional policies on environmental and social safeguards and a policy on gender mainstreaming. Council members also agreed to approve the arrangements for the operation of the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund, established based on a proposal and an initial contribution by Japan.

41st MEETING OF THE GEF COUNCIL: This meeting convened in Washington, DC, US, from 8-10 November 2011. Council members discussed options for engaging with the private sector, approved a revised strategy for programming GEF-5’s private sector funds, and requested the Secretariat, in consultation with the multilateral development banks, to present to the Council a detailed paper outlining clear operational modalities for private sector engagement. Council members also adopted the largest new Work Program to date, which reflected the needs and views of 99 beneficiary countries, the widest coverage achieved in a GEF Work Program. The Council requested the Secretariat to establish a working group to review the fee structure, including the corporate fee, with a view to decreasing total costs, and present a proposal for a new fee policy at the 42nd GEF Council meeting. Council members also adopted a decision asking the Secretariat to organize a meeting of biodiversity-related conventions with the Secretariat of the CBD to facilitate the coordination of priorities for inclusion in the GEF-6 programming strategy. The Council also approved provisions on how a policy on environmental and social safeguards should be applied to existing GEF Agencies and GEF Project Agencies.


On Tuesday, 5 June 2012, Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), opened the 42nd meeting of the GEF Council by underscoring that the Council would deliberate on many important topics, including a new Work Program for US$667.26 million in GEF project grants in 22 of the 33 GEF-5 goals. She stressed the importance of systematically involving all stakeholders, particularly indigenous peoples. She highlighted proposals to add 11 new Project Agencies and to revise the fee structure for Agencies, and a document submitted for Council discussion on an operational program for mercury. Noting that this Council would be her last as CEO, she thanked Council members for their support in reforming the GEF and called for considering how best the GEF would be able to realize its full potential.

The Council then elected Jozef Buys (Council member for Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Turkey) to Co-Chair the meeting.

In response to member suggestions, the Provisional Agenda (GEF/C.42/01/Rev.02) was amended to include discussion of: GEF/C.42/Inf.12, Options for Strengthening GEF Systems: Addressing the Findings and Recommendations of the Independent Review of the GEF Systems under Agenda Item 14, Business Plan FY 13-14 and Budget, FY13; and GEF/C.42/Info.09, Concept Paper: GEF-5 Ozone, Climate and Chemicals Program, and GEF/C.42/Inf.10, Operational Program for Mercury and Options for a Financial Mechanism under Agenda Item 19, Other Business.

The Council was also informed that the Secretariat had prepared, as an input to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also known as Rio+20), a book titled From Rio to Rio: A 20-Year Journey to Green the World’s Economies. Each of the book’s 20 chapters describes a selected GEF project. The book will be launched at Rio+20.  STATEMENTS BY THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARIES OF THE CONVENTIONS

On Tuesday, the GEF Council heard statements from four convention secretariats.

James Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, reported on the results of the 2011 Conferences of the Parties (COPs) and steps taken to implement their decisions regarding synergies, including the integration of the three Secretariats and a proposal to hold the next COPs back-to-back in 2013. He said such actions will bring millions in cost savings that will be used in technical assistance to Parties.

Paul Horwitz, Deputy Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat, noted Montreal Protocol Meeting of Parties (MOP) decisions on scientific panels, destruction technologies and controls on hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and discussion of possible Protocol coverage of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). He said his Secretariat welcomed the Council discussion of GEF/C.42/Inf.09, Concept Paper: GEF-5 Ozone, Climate and Chemicals Program.

Alejandro Kilpatrick, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat, on behalf of Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres, outlined the results of the Durban COP and its guidance given to the GEF on the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and on support for adaptation, deforestation and capacity-building projects.

CEO Barbut stressed the importance of briefing the Council on what has been done to make the GCF operational. The GEF Secretariat’s GCF core team then discussed the joint GEF-UNFCCC steering committee and preparations for the first GCF board meeting. They stressed that the GEF Trust Fund needs to be reimbursed for expenses already incurred, and asked for contributions to an intermediary fund the World Bank has set up for that purpose.

Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), discussed the UNCCD’s reporting system, called the Performance Review and Assessment of Implementation System (PRAIS). He said the last reporting exercise was supported by the GEF, although fewer than 50% of countries have requested the available financial support, and emphasized a role for capacity building in improving this situation. In relation to Rio+20, he expressed hope that the event would emphasize the importance of zero net land degradation.


On Agenda Item 5, the Council considered document GEF/C.42/03, Relations with the Conventions and Other International Institutions on Tuesday. The discussion included a comment related to the importance of capacity building, a question regarding the role of countries in identifying projects under the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF), and suggestions regarding the need for better communication on the types of projects that would be appropriate under that Fund.

Decision:The Council adopted a decision requesting the GEF network to continue working with recipient countries to reflect the guidance and national priorities in their respective GEF programming and activities.


On Agenda Item 6, Report by the Chairperson of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), Thomas Lovejoy reported on the STAP’s activities on Tuesday, and highlighted, inter alia, an advisory project regarding experimental project designs, which seeks to identify how capacity building can be increased in the process of implementing GEF projects. He said STAP products in progress relate to marine spatial planning, marine debris, a climate change scientific assessment for the GEF, and a methodology for calculating greenhouse gas reductions. He noted that some Arctic monitoring stations have recently recorded carbon dioxide levels of 400 parts per million and said that 2 degrees is going to be too much for some ecosystems, which he said requires thinking differently about GEF projects going forward.

With regard to Rio+20, he said sustainability was primarily viewed through an environmental lens during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, while going into Rio+20, sustainability is viewed through a development, economic and governance lens. He stressed that the environmental component should not be overlooked, and suggested addressing topics, such as urbanization, zero carbon buildings and transport, ecosystem restoration at a planetary scale, and global concentrated efforts to reduce short-lived climate forcers.

Questions raised during the discussion related to, inter alia, whether there could be ecosystem restoration at a planetary scale and the quality of project termination. Lovejoy noted the need to know more about blue carbon in reference to the former, and said STAP is developing a joint work program with the GEF Evaluation Office (EO), which will incorporate issues related to the latter. The importance of outreach and dissemination of STAP materials to civil society organizations (CSOs) was also noted. 


The discussion on Tuesday morning on this topic was based on documents GEF/ME/C.42/01, Annual Performance Report 2011, and GEF/ME/C.42/02, Management Response to the Annual Performance Report 2011. The GEF Secretariat noted that 82% of completed projects were rated through terminal evaluations (TEs) as “mostly satisfactory” or above, a decline from the prior year, but she suggested this did not necessarily represent a trend given the size differences between the two cohorts. The GEF EO noted that only 18% of projects reported on how Operational Focal Points (OFPs) are involved in the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities, a new minimum requirement for GEF Agency M&E reporting. The EO suggested calling for Agencies to continue to enhance their efforts to specify how OFPs will be engaged, when feasible and relevant, in project or program M&E.

In the ensuing discussion, one member inquired about the reasons for delays in TE reporting, a second asked for recommendations on how to improve the sustainability ratings for projects, and a third suggested linking the quality ratings on entry with those on exit for projects. Several members agreed that a common definition of co-financing needs to be agreed, while one member noted the problems small island developing States (SIDS) face in participating in co-financing. One member suggested more capacity building on M&E for OFPs, but another asked who would bear the costs of such training.

The GEF EO responded that TE submissions are delayed for a variety of reasons, such as changes in national political or economic circumstances. He said that the EO would take into account suggestions on assessing impact, comparing entry and exit quality ratings and developing recommendations on sustainability. He agreed the co-financing issue is very important and would be included in the Fifth Overall Performance Study (OPS5).

Decision:The Council noted that GEF Agencies are starting to involve OFPs in a more systematic manner in M&E, and requested them to continue enhancing their efforts to specify how OFPs will be engaged, when feasible and relevant, in project or program M&E.


Delegates considered Agenda Item 8, Annual Country Portfolio Evaluation Report 2012 and Management Response, on Tuesday morning. In connection with this item, the Council considered GEF/ME/C.41/03, Annual Country Portfolio Evaluation Report 2012, as well as GEF/ME/C.42/04, Management Response to the Annual Country Portfolio Evaluation Report 2012, which presents the Management’s conclusions on the report prepared by the EO. The former was noted to demonstrate shifts indicating greater country ownership of the evaluations, which were reported to be increasingly undertaken with national teams that work independently from the government. The recommended decision was drafted based on conclusions from the report and Management response. During the discussion, participants considered trade-offs that would be made in accepting the recommendations, and if anything would be lost if the tracking requirements were made more flexible for multi-focal areas.

Decision:The Council approved a decision that requests the Secretariat to: consider ways to make project approval and implementation in SIDS more flexible and context-specific; reduce the burden of monitoring requirements of multi-focal area projects to a level comparable to that of single focal area projects; and enable South-South cooperation activities as components of national, regional and/or global projects where opportunities for exchange of technology, capacity development and/or sharing of best practices exist.


On Tuesday afternoon, the EO presented document GEF/ME/C.42/05, Terms of Reference and Budget for the Fifth Overall Performance Study of the GEF. He explained that OPS5 would be done in two stages: an initial report at the start of the evaluation, drawing upon existing GEF evaluations; and a final report, due at the end of 2013 or early 2014, updating the initial report and including the findings of additional studies, which would look at such issues as the GEF’s ability to mobilize sufficient funding for a meaningful role in focal areas, and the extent to which the GEF reform process has achieved enhanced country ownership and improved effectiveness and efficiency. He said the EO proposed a budget of US$1.075 million for OPS5, around a US$1 million savings compared to earlier OPS.

Many Council members praised the terms of reference, and stressed the importance of OPS5 and honoring the proposed timetable so the final report can inform decisions in the next replenishment. Several suggested additional emphases for OPS5, including requirements for multi-focal areas, an examination of how GEF projects can have cross-cutting effects on climate change, an assessment of donor performance, success factors for scaling up and replicating GEF projects, and the anticipated impact of GEF-5. The EO agreed to take these observations into account.

Decision:The Council decided to approve the proposed terms of reference and budget for OPS5 and to request the EO to implement OPS5 to provide the first and final reports to the Replenishment process and to the Council according to the schedule proposed by the EO.


On Agenda Item 10, Work Program and Budget of the GEF Evaluation Office, the discussion on Tuesday was informed by document GEF/ME/C.42/06, Work Program and Budget of the GEF Evaluation Office. The Council was informed that, for the annual budget, zero growth is proposed by FY13. Due to a number of upcoming evaluations, including OPS5 and the mid-term evaluation of the System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR), the request for the multi-annual budget is US$3 million, which is US$1 million higher than last year’s request.

Decision: The Council approved the annual budget for the EO for FY 2013 for a total of US$2.74 million. The multi-annual budget for the evaluation program of the GEF EO was approved for US$3 million for evaluations carried out in FY 2013 and for those continuing into FY 2014. This amount includes the funding approved by the Council for OPS5 and the mid-term evaluations for STAR and the National Portfolio Formulation Exercises/Country Support Program related activities of the GEF, as requested by Council.


On Agenda Item 11, Broadening the GEF Partnership: Clarification of Responsibilities, the discussion on Tuesday was informed by GEF/C.42/04, Clarifying the Responsibilities of the GEF’s Key Actors with Respect to the Use of GEF Resources. The World Bank as Trustee discussed a number of issues related to direct access to funds and emphasized the importance of developing, in advance, clear policies for misuse of funds. Council members inquired about whether there were examples of misused funds in the past and what appropriate penalties would be, among other issues. One suggested specifying that an Agency’s status could be suspended in the case of misuse of funds. Another Council member suggested identifying best practices, while another called for capacity building for new Agencies to assist them in proper implementation. One speaker suggested that there should be a dynamic process that could adjust to identify abuse that is not currently imagined.

Decision:The Council approved the approach presented in the paper to strengthen Financial Procedures Agreements (FPAs), requested the Trustee and the Implementing and Executing Agencies to prepare amendments to the existing FPAs to include appropriate provisions, and asked that the Trustee include similar provisions in any new FPAs with GEF Partner Agencies.


On Tuesday afternoon, the EO recalled that in May 2011, the Council requested the EO to split the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) into two parts: an initial report to the fall Council meeting focusing on data already in the Secretariat database, such as portfolio review and resources programmed; and a more in-depth analysis submitted to the spring Council meeting regarding focal area results, lessons learned and best practices. He presented the first annual version of the Part II report in document GEF/C.42/05/Rev.01.

Council members congratulated the EO on the report, but asked for a summary of results for the next Part II report, more analysis on how well cumulative results match replenishment targets, and a discussion of whether knowledge gained in projects is being learned and applied by Agencies. The EO agreed to take these observations into account.

Decision: The Council requested the EO to continue providing the AMR in two parts, and supported a Secretariat recommendation to include, in AMR Parts I and II, information on enabling activities, programmatic approaches and the Small Grants Programme, the influence of the National Portfolio Formulation Exercise process and products on GEF-5 programming, and to reflect on cumulative results against replenishment targets.


On Agenda Item 13, Work Program, the Secretariat presented on Wednesday GEF/C.42/06, Work Program, and highlighted that it represents the largest program presented to the Council to date, with 84 stand-alone project concepts and two programmatic approaches, amounting to US$667.26 million in GEF project grants and Agency fees of US$59.88 million. The Secretariat further reported that: the Work Program includes the largest number of recipients included in a GEF Work Program; each dollar in the Program is matched by approximately US$7 in co-financing; 54 recipient countries have made use of STAR allocations; 44% of target allocations under GEF-5 will be programmed with the approval of this Work Program; and four global and twelve regional projects are included in the Program.

During the discussion, many Council members noted their overall satisfaction with the Work Program. A number of speakers highlighted the importance of specific projects or inquired about potential projects, including for the East Asian Seas and the Mano River in West Africa. Several speakers stressed the importance of the international waters category and said there should be more engagement in the future.

Some Council members indicated they had concerns with specific projects, including regarding whether they could be achieved in the proposed timeframe and that they should be more closely tied to achieving the objectives of the related multilateral environmental agreements. A comment regarding the identification and mechanism for civil society involvement in projects was raised. Speakers also welcomed projects with innovative approaches, including those under the public-private partnership modality, although they cautioned that these projects need to meet global environmental benefits and respect environmental and social safeguards.

A number of Council members highlighted the need for several projects to be complementary with the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) that is being developed under the UNFCCC. Questions regarding standards for co-financing and how Agency fees are calculated were raised. The Council was presented with decision language through which the Council would confirm that the GEF stands ready to support the operationalization of the CTCN and that the related projects would seek to collaborate with the future CTCN to be set up in the framework of the UNFCCC.

Decision:The Council approved the Work Program, which includes 84 new stand-alone projects (25 of them multi-focal) and two programmatic approaches, subject to comments made during the Council meeting and additional comments that may be submitted by 21 June 2012. Thirteen project concepts associated with previously approved programmatic approaches were also approved. The total resources for the Work Program amount to US$667.26 million, including GEF project grants and Agency fees.

The 23 biodiversity-related projects include those on marine protected areas, invasive species, biodiversity in landscapes impacted by mining and ecosystem services management. The 25 climate-related projects include public-private partnerships for scaling up renewable energy. Other projects include one to support 47 Asian, African and Latin American countries with their National Action Programs (NAPs) on land degradation as part of their commitments under the UNCCD, and a regional project for Caribbean SIDS focused on integrated water management and wastewater treatment. The decision also includes provisions regarding three projects related to the CTCN and the GEF’s readiness to support CTCN operationalization.


On Wednesday, 6 June, the Council deliberated on this agenda item, and considered documents GEF/C.42/07/Rev.01, Business Plan FY13-14 and Budget FY13, and GEF/C.42/Inf.12, Options for Strengthening GEF Systems: Addressing the Findings and Recommendations of the Independent Review of the GEF Systems. On the former, some members questioned the proposed increase for the Trustee for non-core functions and repeated the request from the 40th Council for transparent figures on these costs. Others posed questions regarding budget proposals for the STAP and the NPIF.

Regarding the GEF Systems, the Trustee’s Office presented the recommendations arising from the independent assessment of GEF Systems completed in FY11 at the request of the Council, with a focus on the four options for changing the Project Management Information System (PMIS). The GEF Secretariat expressed its preference for Option 3, estimated to cost US$600,000, which would move the back-end of PMIS functionality into an SAP platform and enhance the PMIS front-end. Many Council members expressed preference for Option 4, estimated to cost US$1 million, where PMIS functionality would become part of the World Bank’s updated corporate systems serving many trust funds, since this would increase efficiencies and meet many concerns expressed by the auditor of the GEF Trust Fund.

Decision:The Council took note of the business plan and approved a FY12 corporate budget of US$30.278 million, comprising: US$18.525 million for the GEF Secretariat; US$2.311 million for the STAP; US$5.74 million for the EO; US$2.74 million for the EO core annual budget; US$3 million to cover the costs of multi-year evaluations; US$1 million for the Trustee special initiative to reform the GEF Systems; and US$3.202 million for the Trustee’s core budget and the cost of external audits. The Council also approved US$218,000 for the Secretariat and US$76,000 for the Trustee as reimbursement of expenses incurred for NPIF administration since its inception through June 30, 2012, and allocated US$345,000 for the Secretariat and US$72,300 for the Trustee for such costs in FY13.


Discussion on Agenda Item 15, Fee Structure for Agencies: Part I & Part II, opened on Wednesday with the Secretariat presenting document GEF/C.42/08, Fee Structure for Agencies: Part I & II, which proposed a new fee policy with a view to decrease the total cost of the full fee structure. The document outlines the results of the review undertaken by the Fee Working Group, which was comprised of four Council members, the GEF Secretariat and GEF Agencies. 

A statement, delivered on behalf of all 10 GEF Agencies, noted the Agencies’ support for the objective to achieve greater financial effectiveness and for fee reduction if accompanied by cost savings and gains, but indicated that they did not believe the current proposal achieves that goal and suggested that it be revised. An Agency also indicated that the decision might mean there would not be a financially viable model for its continued involvement as an implementing Agency.

Council members generally supported the recommendations of the Working Group, with some indicating they would have preferred a recommendation for greater cuts. Some Council members suggested that the reduction could lead to greater involvement and capacity building at the national level, as well as additional funding available for projects. Some speakers emphasized the importance of partnership with the Agencies in addition to their support for the Working Group’s recommendations. Council members debated whether implementation of the decision should begin on 1 July 2012, as proposed by the Working Group, or 1 January 2013, to provide time to take into account further information on possible streamlining and cost cutting, which many delegates called for by the next Council meeting. Council members also said the annexes to the document should not be included in the decision.

Delegates continued discussing the draft decision on Thursday, 7 June, focusing on when the fee reduction would become effective. Some Council members preferred 1 July 2012, and emphasized that the decision should be implemented immediately as they were concerned that the decision could be reversed if it were delayed. Other Council members preferred 1 January 2013, noting that the preparation of the November work program should not be disrupted and there should be time to develop a constructive response on how reductions would be made. They confirmed that they were committed to the decision to reduce fees and gave assurances no reversal would occur. The GEF Agency representatives indicated they were committed to achieving cost savings. Delegates discussed additional text to incorporate their concerns, and added text “welcoming” the Agencies’ commitment to implement the approved fee structure and indicating that a working group would propose streamlining measures “at least commensurate” with the approved fee structure. One Council member expressed an interest in participating in the working group, and the CEO requested interested participants to notify her of their interest by the end of June.

Decision:In the decision on Fee Structure for Agencies: Part I, the Council, inter alia: accepted the fee structure as proposed by the Fee Working Group; welcomed the commitments of Agencies to implement the approved fee structure; confirmed that annexes A, B and C are not associated with the decision; requested a working group to propose at the November 2012 meeting detailed streamlining measures and cost savings; and requested the Secretariat to begin implementation of the new fee structure beginning 1 January 2013.

In relation to Fee Structure for Agencies: Part II, the Council confirmed that the fees provided along with GEF grants to the GEF Agencies are all inclusive and cover the costs of all implementing services provided by the Agencies to recipient countries. If GEF Agencies also provide execution services, these services will need to be stipulated and costed in the project management budget of the Project Identification Form.


Discussion on this topic began on Wednesday afternoon and concluded on Thursday morning. The Secretariat introduced document GEF/C.42/09/Rev.01, Secretariat Recommendations of Project Agencies for Accreditation, reviewing the two-stage screening process to be followed during 2012, in which during Stage I, entities are screened for their possible value-added to the GEF, and those approved by the Council are passed on to Stage II, where an external panel reviews their compliance with GEF standards and policies.

She explained that 11 agencies received passing scores in Stage I: five national, two regional and four CSOs. She said that, while the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) did not receive an overall passing score, the GEF Secretariat recommended providing capacity building for one year and allowing them to reapply in 2013. She also noted that one applicant, Russia’s VTB Bank, had not received an overall passing score, but has since submitted supplementary information that might have changed one of their ratings, so the Secretariat sought Council guidance on how to address the situation. She observed that, if all 11 applicants passing Stage I were approved for and then passed Stage II, the initial Council target of 10 entities would be exceeded, so the Secretariat wished Council guidance on whether to take on additional Stage I evaluations.

Some members expressed support for helping SPREP become a project Agency after receiving capacity building, but others cautioned about the possible precedent of providing capacity building to Agency applicants. CEO Barbut stressed that the Secretariat is not advocating a special capacity-building project for SPREP, but rather working with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on a normal GEF project that would involve SPREP and include capacity building designed in a way that would prepare them to become a GEF Agency in GEF-6.

Several Council members said that, given the supplementary information circulated to members, they would support permitting VTB Bank to proceed to Stage II.

Several members insisted that no exceptions should be made to the screening standards, so as to set high expectations of applicant agencies, and some even suggested that all candidates should pass on all criteria. CEO Barbut suggested some flexibility should be allowed, while maintaining an overall high bar in Stage I, since this was a pilot exercise. One Council member suggested changing the criteria to give national agencies a better chance to qualify. Barbut stressed that the Council had set the criteria for the pilot and they could not be changed until the pilot was completed and their utility assessed based on results. Another member questioned the use of an independent panel to assess Stage II. Barbut said that this has been standard practice in assessing GEF Agencies. When one member insisted that the Council be kept informed of the Stage II assessments in the interest of transparency, Barbut responded that the Council would receive a detailed report once completed and that if any member had a serious concern about one of the results, it could be discussed with the Secretariat.

Two members expressed concern that, given the number of applicants being proposed for the Stage II assessment in the first round, other agencies might not have an opportunity to apply. Some members suggested that a second round might not be appropriate. One suggested no further applicants should be considered until the results of the Stage II assessment for the first round was over.

Decision:The Council approved 11 agencies to proceed to Stage II of the accreditation process: the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA); the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO); China’s Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO); Peru’s National Environment Fund (FONAM); Russia’s VTB Bank; the Latin American Development Bank (CAF); the West African Development Bank (BOAD); World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Inc. – US; Conservation International (CI); the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC). The Council requested the CEO to report by mail on the results of Stage II reviews, and agreed to postpone consideration of the next round of accreditation until its November 2012 session.


On Thursday morning, 7 June, Co-Chair Buys summarized the closed executive session of the GEF Council, which had reviewed document GEF/C.42/10, Report of the Selection and Review Committee of GEF CEO/Chairperson, and its recommendation of three candidates. The Council then unanimously appointed Naoko Ishii (Japan) for a four-year term, beginning on 1 August 2012.

Incoming CEO Ishii thanked the Council for her appointment, saying she had very big shoes to fill by succeeding Monique Barbut. She stressed that she has worked on the frontline of development, where problems can look very different than they do in the boardrooms where projects are approved, and she promised to dedicate herself to the frontline and always to serve developing countries in fulfillment of the GEF mandate. She pledged to listen, advocate and act. She said accelerated action is needed and will depend on the leadership of developing countries, but with support from the GEF, and its Secretariat, CEO and Council.

All members spoke in turn, welcoming incoming CEO Ishii and pledging their cooperation, and praising outgoing CEO Barbut for her six years of service and pursuit of reforms. Council members also praised the Selection and Review Committee on its work. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) representative read a farewell letter to Barbut from Executive Director Achim Steiner. In closing its discussion of this agenda item, the Council gave Barbut a standing ovation.


On Wednesday morning, Fernando Lugris, Chair, Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Mercury, briefed the Council about the status of the negotiations for an international agreement on mercury, including a recent expert group meeting in Hungary to discuss which items under the agreement would require financing and what sorts of financing may be available. He noted the GEF is one of the options under consideration, as is the model of the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund. Lugris stressed that decisions on financing forms must await decisions on what functions the future financing mechanism must provide, which will be discussed at INC4. He suggested that GEF/C.42/Inf.10, Operational Program for Mercury and Options for a Financial Mechanism, could serve as a tool for Council member discussions with INC negotiators. In response to a Council member’s question, he noted a request that the INC discuss possible synergies between the mercury instrument and the three existing chemicals conventions.

The Secretariat then introduced GEF/C.42/Info.09, Concept Paper: GEF-5 Ozone, Climate and Chemicals Program, and GEF/C.42/Inf.10. He said the former document explained how the GEF is developing programmatic strategies to bring about co-benefits on chemicals and climate change. He explained that the latter document responds to a Council decision and describes current pilot programs and three options for the GEF to serve as the agreement’s financing mechanism: merging mercury into the existing GEF focal area on chemicals; a Mercury Fund modeled after the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF); or creating a Fund similar to the Adaptation Fund, with its own board.

Members expressed appreciation for GEF/C.42/Info.09. Responding to a member question, the Secretariat assured that no additional funding was involved in realizing the strategies outlined.

On mercury, while some members indicated initial preference for integrating mercury into the chemicals focal area, it was generally agreed that it would be more appropriate to discuss options in depth at the autumn GEF Council after INC4, when functions needed might be clearer and after members have had a chance to submit written comments. They asked for a new document that takes into account, not only INC4 results, but also the UNEP consultations regarding financing options for chemicals and waste and the desire of many countries to promote synergies. They also requested a comparison of all expenses involved in the various GEF options identified.

On Thursday, the GEF-NGO Network reported on its activities and plans, and encouraged donors to contribute to their voluntary fund. Indigenous peoples looked forward to working with the new CEO, and expressed disappointment that the GEF was developing guidelines on indigenous peoples rather than a policy. REPORT OF THE LDCF/SCCF COUNCIL MEETING

On Thursday afternoon, 7 June, GEF CEO and Chairperson Monique Barbut opened the 12th meeting of the LDCF/SCCF. She noted that the SCCF is gaining a good reputation and attributed it to getting results and being innovative.

Pa Ousman Jarju, Chair of the LDC Group, addressed the Council and noted that 47 national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs) with over 540 projects have been completed, and 42 countries have received approval for LDCF financing for their NAPA implementation projects. He reported that about 64 projects have already been approved. He said the Group is working with the GEF to further specify each element of the LDC work programme, other than NAPAs. He expressed appreciation, on behalf of the LDCs, for the assistance of the LDCF.

The LDCF/SCCF Council then adopted the provisional agenda (GEF/LCDF.SCCF.10/1/Rev.3) without amendment.


A Joint LDCF/SCCF work program containing three stand-alone SCCF-A Full-Sized Projects, one stand-alone SCCF-B Full-Sized Project and four Multi-Trust Fund Projects was circulated to Council Members as document GEF/LDCF.SCCF.12/3.

Decision:The LCDF/SCCF Council approved the work program comprising eight projects subject to comments made during the Council meeting and additional comments that may be submitted in writing to the Secretariat by 7 July 2012. Regarding the Pilot African Climate Technology Finance Center and Network, the Regional Climate Technology Transfer Center for Europe and Central Asia, and the Climate Technology Transfer Mechanisms and Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Council reaffirmed that the GEF stands ready to continue to support the operationalization and activities of the CTCN in response to UNFCCC Decision 2/CP.17, and in line with GEF procedures. The Council also specified that it approved these three regional projects with the understanding that they will seek, as appropriate, to collaborate with the future Climate Technology Centre to be set up in the UNFCCC framework.


The Secretariat introduced Agenda Item 4 and FY2011 Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) for the LDCF and SCCF (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.12/04). She noted that the document contains an overview of the portfolios of the funds since their inception, performance information on LDCF and SCCF projects under implementation, and management effectiveness and efficiency indicators and lessons learned.

A Council member expressed concern with the low rating of the projects and asked the Secretariat to provide the next LDCF/SCCF Council meeting with information on why projects are not achieving their objectives and how they can be achieved. The Secretariat agreed to provide more information at the next Council meeting, but indicated that many project ratings improve as the projects are implemented, and specific episodes, such as procurement problems, have resulted in low ratings. A Council member expressed support for the inclusion of gender indicators in the report. The Council was invited to approve the AMR and welcome progress in reporting portfolio results.

Decision:The decision notes that the LDCF/SCCF Council reviewed and approved the AMR. 


The EO introduced Agenda Item 5 and FY2013 Work Plan and Budget for the Evaluation Office under the LDCF/SCCF (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.12/ME/01). The EO noted that it proposes further work on evaluations that have already been done, to update the findings. Council members highlighted the value of evaluation of adaptation and identifying what is and what is not working, and adopted the decision.

Decision:The decision notes that the LDCF/SCCF Council reviewed the Work Plan and budget of the EO under the LDCF and SCCF, and approved it.


The Secretariat introduced the Administrative Budget for the LDCF and SCCF for FY 2013 (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.12/05/Rev.01), which proposes an administrative budget to cover the costs of the Secretariat, the Trustee and the EO in managing the LDCF and the SCCF for FY2013. It was noted that the decision had been revised to include an increase from US$50,000 to US$100,000 for the Trustee Special Initiative, which was agreed to on Wednesday, and the decision was adopted.

Decision:The decision notes that the LDCF/SCCF Council reviewed the Administrative Budget, and that the modification regarding contributions from the LDCF to the Trustee Special Initiative, marking an increase from US$50,000 to US$100,000, was reflected in the approved Council decision. 


Following adoption of the LDCF/SCCF decisions, announcements regarding pledges and contributions were offered. Australia indicated her country will publish a scorecard on multilateral development efforts, and will increase its contribution by AUS$15 million. Finland pledged US$5 million.


On Thursday afternoon, 7 June, 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. Council Members reviewed each paragraph, but no comments were offered. They agreed to hold the fall 2012 Council meeting from 13-15 November 2012, and to set the dates for the spring 2013 Council meeting for 18-20 June 2013.

Andre Laperriere, GEF Deputy CEO, expressed the GEF Secretariat staff’s appreciation for CEO Barbut’s leadership over her six-year tenure. A video was then shown, which included interviews with staff, convention executive secretaries and others discussing the achievements of the GEF during Barbut’s tenure.

Barbut followed with a farewell address that summarized the accomplishments of the 42nd meeting of the GEF Council, including embarking on the process of bringing new Agencies into the GEF System, new policies on fees and the election of a new CEO/Chairperson. She said each and every Council meeting during her six-year tenure had brought about important steps toward improving the GEF, and she expected that process to continue under the new CEO. In the future, she said the GEF will have to open the network to a greater number of national-level agencies, cut costs and further improve efficiency, and mobilize new resources in an innovative manner. Following a standing ovation for Barbut, Co-Chair Buys closed the meeting at 4:44 pm.


Third PrepCom for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD): This meeting will take place in Brazil prior to the UNCSD. dates: 13-15 June 2012 location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil contact: UNCSD Secretariat email: www:

Rio Conventions Pavilion at Rio+20: This event is a collaborative outreach activity of the Secretariats of the Rio Conventions (UNFCCC, UNCCD and CBD), the GEF, and 25 other international, national and local partners. dates: 13-22 June 2012 location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil contact: Rio Conventions Pavilion phone: +1-514-288-6588 fax: +1-514-288-6588 email: www:

Sustainable Development Dialogues: Organized by the Government of Brazil with the support of the UN, this civil society forum will be held in the context of the UNCSD. dates: 16-19 June 2012 location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil email: www:

UNCSD (Rio+20): The UNCSD will mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit), which convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. dates: 20-22 June 2012 location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil contact: UNCSD Secretariat email: www:

18th 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: 21-22 June 2012 venue: UNFCCC Secretariat location: Bonn, Germany contact: Marcia Levaggi phone: +1 (202) 473-6390 e-mail: www:

First Meeting of the Green Climate Fund Board: The first meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board of the UNFCCC is to consider the six offers from countries to host the Fund, including Germany, Mexico, Namibia, Poland, the Republic of Korea and Switzerland. dates: 25-29 June 2012 [tentative] location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49 228 815 1000 fax: +49 228 815 1999 e-mail: www:

Fourth Session of the INC to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury: This meeting is scheduled to be the fourth of five Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) meetings to negotiate a legally binding instrument on mercury. dates: 27 June-2 July 2012 venue: Conrad Punta del Este Resort and Casino location: Punta del Este, Uruguay phone: +41-22-917-8183 fax: +41-22-797-3460 e-mail: www:

Additional Sessions of the UNFCCC Ad Hoc Working Groups: This meeting will include sessions of the: Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP); Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA); and Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP). dates: 30 August-5 September 2012 location: Bangkok, Thailand contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: +49-228-815-1000 fax: +49-228-815-1999 e-mail: www:

Third Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM3): This meeting is expected to consider, inter alia: adding nanotechnology and hazardous substances within the lifecycle of electrical and electronic products to the Strategic Approach to International Chemical Management (SAICM) Global Plan of Action (GPA); adding endocrine disruptors and persistent pharmaceutical pollutants to the emerging issues; and the future of financing SAICM implementation after the expiration of the Quick Start Programme (QSP). dates: 17-21 September 2012 location: Nairobi (Nairobi Area), Kenya contact: Secretariat phone: +41-22-917-8532 fax: +41-22-797-3460 e-mail: www:

CBD COP 11: The 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the CBD is organized by the CBD Secretariat. The provisional agenda includes consideration of: the status of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilization; implementation of the Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets; issues related to financial resources and the financial mechanism; issues related to cooperation, outreach and the UN Decade on Biodiversity; in-depth review of the programme of work on island biodiversity; ways and means to support ecosystem restoration; and biodiversity and climate change. dates: 8-19 October 2012 location: Hyderabad, India contact: CBD Secretariat phone: +1-514-288-2220 fax: +1-514-288-6588 e-mail: www:

POPRC 8: The Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) is a subsidiary body to the Stockholm Convention established for reviewing chemicals proposed for listing in Annex A, Annex B and/or Annex C. dates: 15-19 October 2012 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: Secretariat phone: +41-22-917-8729 fax: +41-22-917-8098 e-mail: www:

ECOWAS High-Level Forum: Paving the Way for Sustainable Energy for All in West Africa through Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency: This high-level forum is organized by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the Global Forum for Sustainable Energy (GFSE) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). ECOWAS Energy Ministers at the High-Level Forum are expected to, inter alia: host the Steering Committee of the energy component of the Strategic Programme for West Africa of the GEF. dates: 29-31 October 2012 location: Accra, Ghana contact: ECREEE Secretariat phone: +238-260-4630 fax: +238-262-4614 e-mail: www:

24th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol: The 24th session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP 24) is scheduled to take place in Geneva, Switzerland. dates: 12-16 November 2012 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: Secretariat phone: +254-20-762-3851 fax: +254-20-762-4691 e-mail: www:

43rd Meeting of the GEF Council: The GEF Council will hold its 43rd Meeting from 13-15 November 2012. Among other things, it will consider the accreditation of additional executing Agencies. In addition, the 13th Meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council will convene on 15 November. dates: 13-15 November 2012 location: Washington, DC, USA contact: Secretariat phone: +1-202-473-0508 fax: +1-202-522-3240 www:

The GEF Council Bulletin is a publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) <>, publishers of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <>. This issue was written and edited by Keith Ripley and Lynn Wagner, Ph.D. The Digital Editor is Dan Birchall. The Editor is Leila Mead <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <>. Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). IISD can be contacted at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada; tel: +1-204-958-7700; fax: +1-204-958-7710. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in other publications with appropriate academic citation. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists (in HTML and PDF format) and can be found on the Linkages WWW-server at <>. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, New York 10022, United States of America.