Summary report, 18–20 June 2013

44th Meeting of the GEF Council

The 44th meeting of the Council of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) convened from Tuesday, 18 June to Thursday, 20 June 2013 at the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. Over 230 participants, including 57 Council Members and their Alternates, convention secretariats and civil society organizations, attended the meeting.

The Council approved decisions on, among others: relations with conventions and other international institutions; the progress report from the Director of the GEF Evaluation Office; the annual monitoring review; the report of the selection and review committee; work programme and budget of the GEF Evaluation Office; the GEF Business Plan and Corporate Budget for the 2014 fiscal year; the Fifth Overall Performance Study and Management Response (OPS5); and the work programme, which amounts to US$369.82 million. The Council also accepted Mexico’s proposal to host the fifth Assembly of the GEF.

On Thursday, the 14th meeting of the Adaptation to Climate Change for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) convened. The LDCF/SCCF Council adopted decisions on, inter alia: the joint work program for the LDCF/SCCF; and the administrative budgets of the Funds. The Funds were bolstered by additional pledges, amounting to US$129 million for the LDCF and US$69.2 million for the SCCF.

Having adopted the Joint Summary of the Chairs reports for both meetings, the meeting closed at 2:54pm.


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 (STAP). The Evaluation Office was created in 2003. The GEF Assembly first met from 1-3 April 1998 in New Delhi, India, and then subsequently met 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.

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 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 to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Facility 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 (UNCCD). 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, Council members agreed to, inter alia, 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, which was 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 a Work Program that reflected the needs and views of 99 beneficiary countries. 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 CBD Secretariat 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.

42nd MEETING OF THE GEF COUNCIL: This meeting convened in Washington, DC, US, from 5-7 June 2012. The Work Program adopted at this meeting was 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. 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. In addition, the Council unanimously appointed Naoko Ishii (Japan) as CEO/Chairperson of the GEF for a four-year term, beginning 1 August 2012. The 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).

43rd MEETING OF THE GEF COUNCIL: The 43rd Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council convened in Washington, DC, from 13-15 November 2012, at International Monetary Fund (IMF) headquarters. The Council approved decisions on, inter alia: relations with conventions and other international institutions; proposed framework for a financial mechanism for the future mercury convention and draft operational program for mercury; the annual thematic evaluations report 2012 and management response; the annual impact report 2012 and management response; the annual monitoring review; streamlining of the project cycle; financial projections for GEF-5 programming options; and the Work Program, which amounts to US$174 million and benefits 63 countries.

The LDCF/SCCF Council convened for its 13th meeting on Thursday afternoon, 15 November, and adopted, inter alia, a work program amounting to US$28.544 million for the SCCF and US$1.87 million for the LDCF. Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden announced new contributions to the LDCF and SCCF amounting to US$80.8 million.

CSO CONSULTATION: The GEF Council Consultation Meeting with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) took place on Monday, 17 June 2013 in Washington, DC. During the Consultation, participants heard from members of the GEF Secretariat dealing with seven focal areas: climate change mitigation, chemicals and wastes, climate change adaptation, biodiversity, international waters, land degradation, and sustainable forest management. They discussed issues including, inter alia: guidelines for CSO engagement in GEF projects; the advantages and disadvantages of multi-focal approaches to climate smart agriculture; the need for political will at the national level to involve CSOs in dealing with environmental degradation; and the need for CSOs to be more proactive in providing input to national plans of implementation. They also engaged in an interactive dialogue on the future strategic role of the GEF, underscored the need to fully define “CSO engagement” in order to set targets to enhance it, and suggested that GEF-6 consider further involving CSOs in their signature programmes in order to foster greater public engagement.


On Tuesday, 18 June 2013, Naoko Ishii, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson, opened the forty-fourth meeting of the GEF governing Council. Ishii reflected on her first year at the helm of the GEF, stressing that unless the world takes bold action to tackle global environmental degradation, current and future achievements of sustainable development may be wiped out. Highlighting the ongoing work on the GEF 2020 Strategy, she called for a focus on the underlying aspects of environmental degradation. On partnerships, she described her efforts to engage with convention secretariats, world leaders, and the civil society among others, to ensure that “GEF has a seat at the table wherever key decisions on global environmental matters are being discussed.” She called for long term investments to equip the GEF with the best results-based and knowledge-based management systems and strategies to enhance the Facility’s impact.

The Council then nominated Josceline Wheatley (Council member for the UK) to Co-Chair the meeting. The Council then adopted the Provisional Agenda (GEF/C.44/01/Rev.01).


On Tuesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) for the 2012 Fiscal Year: Part II (GEF/C.44/05), noting that the first part of the AMR had been presented to the Council at its forty-third meeting, and highlighted the report’s focus on medium-term or completed projects. He underlined a key finding of the AMR was the catalytic role of the GEF in, inter alia, the scaling up and mainstreaming best practices and lessons learned.

In the discussion, some Council members requested further information on the means to monitor the implementation and impacts of multi-focal area projects, as well identify gaps where they exist. Many prioritized gender mainstreaming within many more of the projects, noting that only 54 of the 215 projects described in the report contained aspects related to gender. Others welcomed the inclusion of civil society organizations and Indigenous Peoples in the report. One member called for the report to include examples of the replication of lessons learned.

Council members raised other issues, including: satisfaction with the proposed mapping tools; reduction of civil society organizations (CSOs) participation in the execution of projects since GEF-3, particularly related to climate change and chemicals; and deadlines on project implementation reports (PIRs).

The Council then adopted the decision on the AMR.

Decision: The Council welcomed the report and decided to request the Secretariat to continue providing two AMR reports a year, one containing a quantitative overview of information on the portfolio under implementation and the other containing more in-depth analysis of outcomes, experiences, and lessons learned.


On Tuesday morning, Robert van den Berg, Director, GEF Evaluation Office, presented the First Report of the Fifth Overall Performance Study and Management Response (OPS5) (GEF/ME/C.44/01). He highlighted the environmental and financial trends the GEF must consider, notably the downward spiral in environmental trends, and the significant lack of finances available to address these alarming developments. He noted, inter alia: that out of the 281 projects sampled in the OPS5, 80% had satisfactory outcomes, with the potential of 70% positive local impact; the need for broader adoption strategies to enhance GEF’s impact; the challenges that multi-focal projects and programmes pose for monitoring and evaluation; and the difference between local impact and global impact in terms of measuring the success of a project.

Ishii welcomed the report, noting the value of the proposal for a cross-cutting, holistic programmatic approach in GEF’s operations, as well as the call for broader adoption of mainstreaming, replication, and scaling up of best practices to catalyze the Fund’s impact.

Council members then raised questions over, among other issues: whether the holistic approach embodied in GEF-6 signature programmes can harmonize with multi-focal area projects; how to prioritize projects if they are presented in a multi-focal programme framework; the difference between co-financing and leveraging finances; and the need to be aware of the capacity of the recipient countries to implement multi-focal projects. They also requested that the final report provide further details on the future direction of the GEF.

Decision: The Council requested the Evaluation Office to continue its work to finalize OPS5, taking into account comments made in the Council meeting, and requested the Secretariat to take the findings of OPS5 into account in preparing draft strategies for GEF-6.


On Tuesday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the update on GEF-5 programming (GEF/C.44/07), noting that due to timely payments by France, Germany and Japan the funding shortfall was reduced to US$184 million. He proposed that the Council decision on this matter include encouragement to other contributing countries to “continue to deliver on their pledges.” The Council supported the proposal.

Many Council members welcomed the payment of the deferred contributions by the three countries. One Council member reiterated his constituents’ commitment to paying their contributions on time. A few Council members requested clarification on whether all the funds would be incorporated into GEF-5 programming, and the Secretariat clarified that the small amount of funds that may not be programmed would be incorporated into the next replenishment. One member requested that, in addition to small island developing states (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs), countries with small allocations also be assisted to meet their obligations. Another called for accelerating the projects’ approval process. The Council then adopted the decision, as amended by the Secretariat.

Decision: The Council took note of the approach to future programming for a projected envelope of US$4,066 million for GEF-5, and appreciated all contributing participants that have delivered on their pledges in a timely manner and cleared their deferred contributions. It also agreed to the programming approach to be undertaken for the remainder of GEF-5, which maintains the balance among the original allocations in the GEF-5 replenishment decision, assists LDCs and SIDS in accessing resources, and supports core obligations to the conventions for which the GEF is a (or “the”) financial mechanism. Finally, the Council requested the Secretariat to report on the progress in programming at the next Council meeting, and urged all contributing participants to continue to deliver on the pledges.


On Tuesday morning, Johan Rockström, Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, discussed solid empirical evidence regarding significant geological changes at a global level that endanger human life. Noting that the present generation is the first to have bold scientific knowledge on the perverse effects of environmental degradation, he noted that decoupling extreme weather events from climate change is no longer plausible. He stressed that environmental degradation aggravates social instability and concluded by highlighting that development must respect the Earth’s limits.

Naoko Ishii gave an update on GEF 2020, noting the pivotal role the GEF has in catalyzing action to address degradation. She stressed the need to tackle the drivers of degradation including food production, buildings, power, and transportation in order to have the greatest impact. Ishii prioritized strategic partnerships with recipient countries, implementing agencies, CSOs and the private sector, and drew attention to the GEF-6 signature programmes as new way of doing business by assisting governments in valuing natural capital in their planning processes.

In the ensuing discussion, the Council raised questions on: innovative ways to raise funds, calling for private sector engagement; the respect of key principles such as national ownership when designing policies and implementing projects; ways to cope with the impact of the increase in demand for food production; and translation of GEF 2020 into languages other than English. Noting the rapid rates of urbanization and its impact on natural resources, CSOs proposed a stronger partnership between the GEF and International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). Rockström recalled the role of GEF as active and not reactive, and drawing attention to the positive impact of the GEF-funded Global Environment Outlook (GEO) saying it can influence the shift to a “greener” future.


Via video message on Tuesday afternoon, Helen Clark, Administrator, UN Development Programme, reaffirmed the unique role of the GEF as a multi-convention, multi-partner and multi-trust fund. The Secretariat presented the Report on GEF-6 Replenishment (GEF/C.44/Inf.03). The Council approved India as the host country for the next meeting on the replenishment, which will take place in September 2013.

A number of developing country members raised concerns regarding a suggestion to adjust contributions from middle-income countries to reflect their enhanced economic capacities. While some suggested the need to redefine the role of the GEF, especially regarding its allocation system, others cautioned against attempts to fully reinvent the GEF’s role, which has achieved important milestones in environmental conservation over the last 20 years. Civil society organizations (CSOs) recalled commitments to double total biodiversity-related international financial resource flows during the eleventh Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP11) and noted that GEF-6 requires between US$5 and $29 billion (depending on the applied co-financing ratio) to support the biodiversity focal area, a number significantly higher than the US$3 billion allocated in the last 20 years.


On Wednesday, the Council heard a Report on the pilot accreditation of GEF project agencies (GEF/C.44/09), recalling that in May 2011 the Council had agreed to launch a pilot programme to accredit “up to ten” new agencies, to be called GEF Project Agencies, to assist countries in implementing GEF-financed projects. The Secretariat reported that, since June 2012, the independent GEF Accreditation Panel has been conducting Stage II reviews of the applicants to verify their degree of compliance with GEF’s Fiduciary Standards as well as its Environmental and Social Safeguards including Gender Mainstreaming. He also reported that two applicants, WWF and Conservation International, have cleared Stage II approval and will now complete their accreditation by negotiating MoUs with the GEF Secretariat and Financial Procedures Agreements (FPAs) with the GEF Trustee.

Council Members largely agreed that a second round of accreditation should only take place after the conclusion of the pilot experience and were pleased with the robust and rigorous scrutiny of applicants, as well as with the fact that new agencies are subject to the same level of rigor as existing ones.

Decision: The Council adopted the report acknowledging that all Stage II initial desk reviews are expected to be completed by June 2013 and decided to consider the possibility of a second round of accreditation only after all Stage II reviews are completed. It also requested the Secretariat to continue reporting on accreditation matters at every Council meeting.


On Wednesday morning, Co-Chair Wheatley introduced the session, requesting the Executive Secretaries to comment on the GEF’s role in assisting convention secretariats to create, maintain and strengthen synergies.

Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), stated that the GEF is in a unique position to be a “synergy broker.” Commenting on synergies, he drew attention to the adverse effects of hazardous chemicals on land, noting the importance of joint work on these issues among the relevant conventions. He also noted that governments’ investment in climate change mitigation is diminishing. Urging for new sources of funding, he concluded noting the positive contributions of GEF funds for monitoring, such as the UNCCD’s performance review and assessment of implementation system (PRAIS), and encouraged governments to promote enabling conditions for environmental conservation.

Jim Willis, Executive Secretary, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, stressed that for synergies to be successful they must be country-driven. He highlighted that the success of the synergies process within the BRS Conventions is due in large part to countries providing clear guidance to the joint secretariat on the actions to be taken. Stating that the BRS model is not “one-size-fits-all,” he proposed that the GEF consider ways to work with multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) secretariats to improve services to countries, including through engaging the various convention focal points at the national level.

Braulio Dias, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), affirmed that mainstreaming biodiversity into policy making at the national level is the only way to achieve the Aichi targets on biodiversity. He said GEF’s role is to be a catalyst in promoting integrated approaches, noting that times of financial crisis represent opportunities to do business differently. He concluded by arguing that upscaling is crucial to achieve globally agreed targets.

Co-Chair Wheatley requested the Council to reflect on how to promote greater awareness on synergies. The Council raised issues, including: the effective use of the GEF’s national portfolio formulation exercises (NPFEs) to bring a greater number of actors to the table; the need for synergies to be perceived as having global benefits; the absence of synergies from the current discussion of the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change; and the use of GEF-6 signature programmes to promote synergies. The Council also discussed: the finances available through the GEF to tackle an increased number of Protocols and elements for implementation; the importance of private sector engagement; multi-focal area programming as a means to galvanize synergies; the need to scale-up instruments like PRAIS; and the utility of public-private partnerships to further strengthen synergies.

Further, Council members and the Executive Secretaries considered, inter alia: the danger of unintended consequences when implementing convention mandates; linking synergies in MEAs with national economic growth; promoting national-level synergies among conventions’ focal points; and the need to streamline definitions among conventions to streamline reporting. The Council noted the need to enhance synergies not only amongst conventions but also on funding sources. One Council member suggested more feedback from UN representatives regarding GEF’s performance, which has been praised in the Rio+20 outcome document, “The Future We Want.”


On Wednesday morning, Thomas Lovejoy, outgoing Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) Chairperson, provided an overview of the work of the Panel, which was followed by questions from the Council. In his final address to the Council, Lovejoy highlighted several STAP achievements, including the review of over 400 projects and the publication of 17 reports. He discussed the difficulties in upscaling scientific solutions, for example carbon restoration, due to the extremely high costs of specialized technology. He underscored that to successfully innovate, the GEF should concentrate on extracting information and knowledge from previous success and further disseminating its knowledge in the public sphere.

The Council, with Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme, through a video message, commended Lovejoy’s work of and welcomed the incoming STAP Chairperson, Rosina Bierbaum, who ensured the Council of her commitment to strengthening’s the GEF’s science component.

Ishii said that GEF’s strength is this “in-house scientific arm.”


The Council considered this issue contained in GEF/C.44/03 on Wednesday morning. Many Council members commended the GEF’s work for providing clear updates, particularly on forest financing and Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs), and raised several questions, such as: the degree of efficiency of resources to support the ratification process of the Nagoya Protocol; the GEF’s collaboration with the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN); and the need to foster further implementation of the Stockholm Convention. The Secretariat noted that 30 countries are being supported to accelerate the process of ratification of the Nagoya Protocol, and Dias drew attention to Aichi Target 12 (on species conservation) which, he said, is enhancing synergies between CBD and CITES. The Council then adopted the draft decision.

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.

UPDATE ON MERCURY CONVENTION NEGOTIATIONS: On Wednesday morning, the Secretariat introduced the document and decision on preparing the GEF to serve as the financial mechanism of the Minamata Convention on Mercury upon entry into force (GEF/C.44/04). He noted that the Convention will be open for signature in October 2013, highlighting that the GEF is requested to fund activities in the interim period between signature and entry into force, including in the immediate period after the Diplomatic Conference to be held in Minamata, Japan, in October 2013. He explained that the draft decision allocates US$10 million to fund an early action pre-ratification programme for the Convention during the remainder of GEF-5.

Noting that the GEF has been called upon to provide financial and technical assistance to enable developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet their obligations, Fernando Lugris, Chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Mercury, appealed to the Council to consider and agree on ways to provide “new, additional, adequate and predictable” financial support to the Minamata Convention, both in the interim period and throughout implementation.

While many Council members supported the allocation of US$10 million for pre-ratification activities, some cautioned that the funds not be taken from projects that have already been programmed under GEF-5. Others requested guidelines for the disbursement of the funds, suggesting that signatories be prioritized. Others still expressed concern that the allocation was inadequate to fund all concerned developing countries. Responding to questions, the Secretariat clarified that the amount had been calculated through joint efforts by the mercury “non-bureau,” the interim Secretariat for the Minamata Convention, and the GEF Secretariat. One Council member requested that the decision emphasize the GEF as “the” financial mechanism for the Minamata Convention. Some others reminded the Council that the GEF was to serve as financial mechanism alongside a special international programme. One other Council member requested clarification on the formal steps to be taken in order to be the Convention’s financial mechanism. Council members then discussed referring to the GEF as “the financial mechanism” or “a key financial mechanism” and agreed to refer to the GEF as a “key element of the Financial Mechanism of the Minamata Convention.” The Council adopted the draft decision.
Decision: The Council: welcomed the invitation from the INC on Mercury to be the key element of the Financial Mechanism of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which will be submitted for adoption and opened for signature in October 2013; authorized the use of up to US$10 million for the funding of an early action pre-ratification programme for the Minamata Convention to be programmed during the remainder of the GEF-5, upon request by eligible signatory countries; and requested the Secretariat to develop initial guidelines consistent with the final resolutions of the diplomatic Conference for enabling activities and pre-ratification projects, in consultation with the interim Secretariat of the Convention.


On Tuesday afternoon, Mexico offered to host the fifth Assembly of the GEF, and Council members agreed. CSOs urged the Council, the Secretariat and the future host country to continue providing support for strengthening multi-stakeholder engagement with the GEF.
Decision: The Council accepted Mexico’s offer to host the fifth Assembly of the GEF from 28-30 May 2014. The Council also requested the Secretariat to prepare a progress report on this matter for consideration at its next meeting.


The Secretariat presented the Work Program (GEF/C.44/08), noting the total GEF resources presented to the Council for approval covers 67 countries and amounts to US$369.82 million, including US$339.72 million in GEF grants and US$31.54 million in agency fees. He noted that co-financing associated with the proposed Work Program amounts to US$2 billion, which represents a record ratio of 1:6 in co-financing.

The Council discussed several specific projects contained in the document, with many requesting more information on a project in Russia “Save the Source: Catalyzing Market Transformation of Breweries from a Major Natural Resource Consuming Industry to a Pro-active Steward for Resource Efficient Cleaner Production.” Some Council members called for lessons learned from other projects in the Socotra Archipelago before approving a GEF project in the same region. Some expressed concern that some projects, particularly those implemented by the World Bank, did not always use the Project Identification Forms (PIFs). Others expressed concern about the additional steps for the approval of a project, noting that this could delay the start of vital projects.

Many Council members expressed concern that the Work Program only allocated 14% to projects in Africa. Responding to concerns about not submitting projects for consideration under this work plan, the African Development Bank reiterated their commitment to work as an implementing agency, and highlighted projects in the pipeline.

One member lauded the number of projects looking into persistent organic pollutants. CSOs expressed concern over a decrease in their involvement in the projects contained in the Work Program. They also noted the importance of free, prior informed consent for projects involving Indigenous Peoples. One member said that the project in India on improving rural energy access in deficit states lacks global environmental benefits. Another member called for further gender mainstreaming in the projects.

In responding to questions, the Secretariat noted that there were time-constraints on the project on NAMA projects, in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Tunisia, but that more work would be done to revise the project. Naoko Ishii noted that the cumulative share for Africa is actually 31% of the GEF-5 replenishment.

The Secretariat then submitted a revised Work Program, and the Council adopted it on Thursday.

Decision: The Council approved 48 project concepts and two programmatic approaches, subject to comments by Council members before 5 July 2013, and seven project concepts associated with current and previously approved programmatic approaches, and approved US$371.27 million for the work program.


On Wednesday afternoon, the Secretariat introduced the GEF Business Plan and Corporate Budget for the 2014 Fiscal Year, noting the amount to be approved by the Council was US$29.606 million, due to an addition of US$750,000 for the planning of the fifth GEF Assembly meeting. He said the allocation for the GEF Secretariat represented zero nominal increase compared to the previous budget. One Council member raised several issues, including on the: increase of the 2013 fiscal year budget by over 7% due to the cost of an external audit of the GEF Trust Fund; US$324,000 allocated to special initiatives; and the US$1 million allocated to the external consortium preparing the GEF 2020 Strategy.

On the latter, a number of Council members called for more information on why the cost was so high. Ishii explained that the contracting process had been rigorous, and assured the Council that the investment into the long-term planning of the GEF’s programmes and approaches would pay off. In response to queries, the Trustee (the World Bank) explained that the external audit costs had doubled as the company contracted had performed audits for two financial years at the same time. He also noted that US$624,000 allocated to special initiatives would cover, among other things, the travel and related costs of the Secretariat, as well as non-donor recipient invitees to all meetings leading up to and including the fifth GEF Assembly.

Responding to a question regarding the headcount of the GEF in relation to gender and diversity, Ishii informed the Council of progress in the number of women on staff: from 44% in 2009 to 50% in 2013; an increase in staff hires from the developing world from 47% to 49% in the same period; and an increase in staff members from Africa from eight to ten. One council member requested that the budget for the Evaluation Office be separated from the core budget.

The Council adopted a decision, reflecting a separated budget, on Thursday.

Decision: The Council took note of the business plan and approved a corporate budget from the GEF Trust Fund for the 2014 fiscal year of US$25.426 million, with US$19.575 million for the GEF Secretariat, US$2.311 million for the STAP, and US$3.54 million for the Trustee. The Council also approved, for the 2014 fiscal year, US$4.18 million for the Evaluation Office.


On Tuesday afternoon, the Evaluation Office introduced the work program and budget of the GEF Evaluation Office (GEF/ME/C.44/05), describing the link between the annual budget covering recurrent costs and the operational budget, and noting efforts to maintain a zero percent increase in the budget for the 2014 and 2015 fiscal years. He highlighted that the GEF allocates 0.45% of its budget to evaluation activities, but informed the Council that the Office had been denied access to two GEF-funded project sites. He also explained the proposal to delink the budget of the Evaluation Office from the core GEF budget.

Many supported the work program and budget, as well as the proposal to delink the two budgets. Some Council members raised questions concerning the utility and cost-effectiveness of consultants in the Evaluation Office. Other discussed the importance of access to project sites for the Evaluation Office, and two Council members requested more information on the staffing structure of the GEF with regards to gender and diversity. The Council then adopted the draft decision.

Decision: The Council approved the budget for the GEF Evaluation Office amounting to US$4.18 million. It noted that several GEF Agencies are incorporating legal requirements in contractual arrangements to provide the Evaluation Office with access to ongoing and completed GEF funded projects, and requested the Evaluation Office to interact with the GEF Agencies on this issue and report back to the Council. The Council also requested the Evaluation Office to prepare proposals for the replenishment negotiations for the GEF-6 phase, and noted with interest that a peer review of the evaluation function in the GEF will take place in 2014, and looked forward to receive the findings and recommendations at its June 2014 meeting.


The Council met in Executive Session on Thursday to consider the Report of the Selection and Review Committee (SRC) (GEF/C.44/10). The Joint Summary of the Co-Chairs from the 44th meeting of the GEF Council notes the decision taken by the Executive Session.

Decision: The Council confirms the appointment of the GEF CEO and Chairperson for the remainder of her term, requests the SRC Chair to communicate this decision to the World Bank Human Resources, and provides the GEF CEO and Chairperson with a 4% salary increase.


On Thursday morning, Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, opened the 14th Council meeting of the Adaptation to Climate Change for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), highlighting grave environmental challenges in the most vulnerable countries, particularly as the world faces the 4̊ C increase in temperature. Listing elements key to adaptation in LDCs and SIDS, she highlighted: mainstreaming adaptation into development policies; investing in resilient infrastructure; leveraging multi-stakeholder partnerships; and capacity building encouraging female participation.

Arjun Kant Mainali, Nepal, for the Chair of the LDC Group, expressed contentment with the achievements of the Funds and progress of LDCs made on the implementation of National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs), underscoring that cumulative pledges to the LDCF have increased from US$66 million to US$604.75 million in May 2013. He concluded by commending the work of implementing agencies, the GEF and the UNFCCC.

The meeting adopted the provisional agenda (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.14/01/Rev.01), and approved Josceline Wheatley, UK, as the Co-Chair of the LDCF/SCCF Council Meeting.


The Council then heard an update on the programming strategy meeting for the LDCF/SCCF. The Secretariat recalled that this strategy refers to the period 2014-2018, but does not affect the GEF-6 replenishment process, as contributions are voluntary.


The Secretariat provided an overview of the achievements of the LDCF/SCCF. She noted that the amount of pledges disbursed within the LDCF was US$605.13 million, with 70% in Sub-Saharan Africa, 30% in Asia Pacific, and 20% to LDC SIDS.

Regarding SCCF, she said that total cumulative pledges, as of 30 April 2013 were US$258.86 million, and noted the regional distribution of the LDCF, including 30% of projects in the Asia Pacific, 27% in Africa and 8% in SIDS. She concluded, stating that LDCs in particular have showed concrete results, but drew attention to data collection challenges, as well as coordination constraints to further scaling up.

During discussions, the Council questioned how these funds interact with Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), and encouraged this modality of reporting exercise and the inclusion of further information on the methodology. CSOs highlighted that, despite advancements, the allocated funds remain insufficient to cope with climate vulnerability in Africa, particularly connected to land degradation.

Decision: The LDCF/SCCF Council welcomed the report and took note with appreciation of the progress made under the LDCF and the SCCF.


The Secretariat introduced the Joint Work Program for the LDCF and SCCF (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.14/04/Rev.01), noting that there was a shortfall in the LDCF/SCCF, and calling on donor countries to continue to support the Funds.

In the discussion, many Council members welcomed the work program. One member noted the importance of the implementation of a Ridge-to-Reef project in the Pacific, particularly because it is multi-trust fund project. Another noted the need for a clearer indication on the use of the funds earmarked for technology transfer and adaptation. CSOs called for a stronger donor support to SIDS.

The Council approved the work program, with the understanding that additional comments on the program were to be accepted until 5 July 2013.

Decision: The LDCF/SCCF Council approved the Joint Work Program for the LDCF and SCCF comprising four project concepts and two programmatic approaches, and requested total resources of US$19.80 million for the SCCF and US$25.03 million for the LDCF.


The Secretariat introduced the FY 2012 AMR for the LDFC and SCCF (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.14/05/Rev.02), noting that the AMR consists of four project concepts and two programmatic approaches requesting US$19.80 million and US$25.03 million in SCCF and LDCF project grants and Agency fees, respectively.

In the discussion, Council members supported the AMR, with one lauding the efforts to include gender considerations in 25 of the 37 projects considered. Another requested that future AMRs include aggregate indicators for particular vulnerable sector. The Council approved the decision.

Decision: The Council welcomed the progress the LDCF and the SCCF had made in reporting portfolio results.


The Secretariat introduced the document on operationalizing support to the preparation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process in response to guidance from the UNFCCC COP (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.14/06), noting that the proposal considers the specific situations of developing countries and, thus, presents flexible options.

Many Council members cautioned that work on the NAPs not take precedence over work on national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs), and called for the funds to be directed to LDCs as they are most vulnerable. Others called for the report to closely follow the guidelines given by the COP. The Council then adopted the decision.

Decision: The LDCF/SCCF Council endorsed this document as an operational basis for supporting the NAP process in eligible developing countries.


Various donor countries pledged additional resources to the LDCF and the SCCF, including Switzerland, Germany, the US, Norway and Germany. Finland and Denmark also indicated their intention to contribute. In total, the additional pledges amounted to US$129 million for the LDCF, and US$69.2 million for the SCCF. Ishii noted that the cumulative amount of the two funds had now reached US$1 billion. Many non-donor recipient countries, with Ishii, expressed appreciation to the donors, and called for increased efforts to produce tangible results on the ground.


After a brief introduction of the LDCF/SCCF budget (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.14/07/Rev.01) the Council approved the budget decision.

Decision: The LDCF/SCCF Council approved the proposed budget for the GEF Secretariat, STAP, the Trustee and the GEF Evaluation Office, allocating the LDCF with US$990,720 for GEF Secretariat functions, US$115,000 for STAP, US$279,000 for the Trustee function, and $40,000 for the GEF Evaluation Office. The Council allocated US$490,168 for GEF Secretariat functions, US$115,000 for the STAP, US$161,000 for the Trustee, and US$30,000 for the GEF Evaluation Office.


The Evaluation Office presented the progress report and FY 2014 work program and budget for the Evaluation Office under the LDCF and the SCCF (GEF/LDCF.SCCF.14/ME/01/Rev.01), highlighting the Office’s focus on integrating adaptation issues into the OPS5. He reported that the management action record, which tracks follow-up actions on decisions of the Council, has recorded a high level of adoption, especially on the project pre-selection project. The Council then adopted the decision.

Decision: The Council approved a budget for the Evaluation Office of US$70,000 for the 2014 fiscal year to cover the cost of implementing the proposed work program.


On Thursday, one Council Member requested the Secretariat to provide an update on the ongoing process regarding the Pilot Accreditation of GEF Project Agencies at the next Council meeting.

In the final session on Thursday, the Council discussed the Joint Summary of the Chairs of the 44th GEF Council Meeting, and the Joint Summary of the Chairs of the 14th LDCF/SCCF Council Meeting and approved both documents with minor editorial changes related to the correction of a project’s title and the acceleration of a deadline to arrange for Council members to receive the final Program Framework Document that responds to the Council comments and to the STAP advisory.


In her closing remarks, Ishii stressed the GEF’s unique capability to work across boundaries in the face of the unprecedented degree of environmental challenges.

Co-Chair Wheatley closed the meeting at 2:54pm.


Fourth Workshop on Adaptation to Climate Change in Transboundary Basins: Adaptation Serving Multiple Purposes: This workshop is organized under the leadership of the Governments of the Netherlands and Switzerland, with the support of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Secretariat. It is organized in partnership with the International Network of Basin Organizations (INBO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:LEARN). The workshop is taking place back-to-back with the sixth meeting of the Task Force on Water and Climate on 27 June 2013. Convened during the International Year of Water Cooperation, the workshop will highlight examples of successful cooperation among stakeholders, sectors and countries in adaptation to climate change. The workshop will bring together professionals from all over the world working on adaptation to climate variability and change especially -but not only- in transboundary basins. dates: 25-26 June 2013 location: Geneva, Switzerland contact: UNECE Secretariat fax: + 41 22 917 0621 e-mail: www:

21st 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: 3-4 July 2013 location: Bonn, Germany contact: Jeannette Jin Yu Lee phone: +1 (202) 473-7499 fax: +1 (202) 522-2720 e-mail: www:

Second Meeting of the Sixth Replenishment of the GEF: The second meeting of the negotiations for the sixth replenishment of the GEF is set to take place in India in September. Representatives from donor countries, non-donor recipient countries, civil society, GEF agencies, the Trustee, STAP, Evaluation Office are set to attend. dates: 10-12 September 2013 location: India contact: GEF Secretariat phone: +1- 202-473-0508 fax: +1-202-522-3240 email: www:

UNCCD COP 11: At the opening of the eleventh meeting of the Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC 11), Deputy Minister for Environment and Tourism of Namibia Pohamba Shifeta announced that the Republic of Namibia has offered to host the eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). dates: 16-27 September 2013 location: Windhoek, Namibia contact: UNCCD Secretariat phone: +49 228 815 2800 fax: +49 228 815 2898/99 e-mail: www:

Diplomatic Plenipotentiary Conference on Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury: The Conference will adopt the Minamata Convention on Mercury and a final act that addresses: how to promote and prepare for the early implementation of the Convention; arrangements for the interim period between the signing of the instrument and its entry into force, including arrangements for financial and technical assistance during that period; and secretariat arrangements. A preparatory session will be held on 7-8 October, opening ceremonies on 9 October, and the full Conference on 10-11 October 2013. dates: 7-11 October 2013 location: Kumamoto, Japan contact: UNEP Mercury Programme phone: +41-22-917- 8192/8232 fax: +41-22-797-3460 email: www:

Third Global Green Growth Forum: The third Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) aims to be a platform for developing new or enhancing existing public-private partnerships for promoting green growth and will be hosted by the Danish Government in partnership with the Governments of China, Kenya, Korea, Mexico and Qatar. With an overall focus on improving resource efficiencies in the value chain, the event will also focus on the following thematic areas: energy, water, food and greening the value chain. It will also provide an opportunity for green growth leaders to discuss ways to finance green growth, create demand for green growth and enhance economic incentives for the transition to a green economy. dates: 21-22 October 2013 location: Copenhagen, Denmark contact: 3GF Secretariat phone: +45 3392 00 00 e-mail: www:

25th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol: MOP 25 is scheduled to consider a number of issues, including nominations for critical- and essential-use exemptions. dates: 21-25 October 2013 location: Bangkok, Thailand contact: Ozone Secretariat phone: +254-20-762-3851 fax: +254-20-762-4691 email: www:

GEF 45th Council Meeting: The GEF Council meets twice per 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: 5-7 November 2013 location: Washington, DC, USA contact: GEF Secretariat phone: +1- 202-473-0508 fax: +1-202-522-3240 email: www:

19th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC: UNFCCC COP 19 and CMP 9 and the subsidiary bodies will convene in Warsaw, Poland. dates: 11-22 November 2013 location: Warsaw, Poland contact: UNFCCC Secretariat phone: 49-228-815-1000 fax: 49-228-815-1999 e-mail: www:

UNEP Finance Initiative 2013 Global Roundtable: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Finance Initiative (FI) 2013 Global Roundtable will convene under the theme “Financing the Future We Want: China, Emerging Markets and the World Economy,” and will be attended by high-level representatives from financial institutions, governments, regulators, civil society, academia and the scientific community to galvanize action on sustainable finance. dates: 12-13 November 2013 location: Beijing, China contact: Mengqi Cai e-mail: www:

GEF 46th Council Meeting: The GEF Council meets twice per year to approve new projects with global environmental benefits in the GEF’s focal areas, and provide guidance to the GEF Secretariat and agencies. This meeting is scheduled to meet back-to-back with the fifth GEF Assembly. dates: 26-27 May 2014 location: Mexico contact: GEF Secretariat phone: +1- 202-473-0508 fax: +1-202-522-3240 email: www:

Fifth GEF Assembly: The GEF Assembly meets every four years and is responsible for reviewing and evaluating the GEF’s general policies, the operation of the GEF, and its membership. dates: 28-30 May 2014 location: Mexico contact: GEF Secretariat phone: +1- 202-473-0508 fax: +1-202-522-3240 email: www:

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