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Mon, 12 Nov 2012
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Forty-third Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council

13-15 November 2012 | Washington, DC, United States of America

Summary of 43rd Meeting of the GEF Council


Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, speaking during opening session

GEF Council members consult prior to final day's opening session

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Forty-third Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council


Thursday, 15 November, 2012


On the third and final day of the 43rd Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, Council members completed their consideration of a number of agenda items and convened for the 13th meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund/Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF) Council. The Work Program adopted by the GEF Council amounts to US$174 million, and benefits 63 countries. The Work Program adopted by the LDCF/SCCF Council amounts 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.

On Thursday afternoon, the LDCF/SCCF and GEF Councils reviewed and approved the Joint Summary of the Chairs of the respective meetings. A Council member stressed that the highlights of the meeting should indicate that the Council had expressed its appreciation to the new CEO for her efforts to engage the Council and to renew the partnership on which the GEF was built, and that the Council found the Work Program to be well balanced, with projects that were innovative and scalable. CEO Ishii stressed that the meeting had accomplished the three goals she identified at the opening of the meeting: think of the future of the GEF; begin a new way of doing business to strengthen partnerships; and ensure that resources are effectively managed. She added that the GEF 2020 visioning exercise had been a highlight for her. CEO and Chairperson Ishii closed the meeting at 3:25 pm.

* Visit the web coverage for Thursday, 15 November 2012


Participants at the 43rd meeting of the GEF Council

Delegates from South Africa
Delegates from the US

Faizal Parish, Global Environment Centre, Malaysia
Josceline Wheatley, United Kingdom, and Annemarie Watt, Australia

Panel (L-R): Bonizella Biagini, Head of the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Operations, GEF Secretariat; Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson; and Co-Chair João Raimundo Lopes, Guinea-Bissau

Fishani Gondwe, Zambia
Alamir Sinna Toure, Mali

Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, and
Co-Chair João Raimundo Lopes, Guinea-Bissau
Zi Qian Liang, China


Wednesday, 14 November, 2012


On Wednesday, 14 November 2012, the 43rd meeting of the GEF Council discussed agenda items on, inter alia: progress report from the Director of the GEF Evaluation Office; annual thematic evaluations report 2012 and management report; annual impact report 2012 and management response; accreditation process for GEF project agencies; and the work program. They also received a briefing on the proposed process for the GEF-6 replenishment.

After hours of debate, the Council members adopted a decision on streamlining of the project cycle that also raises the ceiling on medium-sized projects, subject to streamlined procedures, to US$2 million. A lengthy debate on financial projections for GEF-5 programming options to deal with funding shortfalls did not result in a consensus and Council will return to this discussion on Thursday.

* Visit the web coverage for Wednesday, 14 November 2012


L-R: Robert van den Berg, Director, GEF Evaluation Office; Sekou Toure, GEF Secretariat; Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson; Co-Chair João Raimundo Lopes, Guinea-Bissau; and Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Secretariat

Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Secretariat
Paula Caballero, Colombia, and Jozef Buys, Belgium

Maria Leichner, GEF NGO Network, Uruguay

Mary Barton-Dock and Karin Shepardson, World Bank
Maryam Niamir-Fuller, UNEP


Tuesday, 13 November, 2012


On Tuesday, 13 November 2012, Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), opened the 43rd meeting of the GEF Council by underscoring the GEF’s potential and its important role. She outlined three areas of focus for the Council: looking ahead to the future of the GEF; taking decisions to strengthen GEF partnerships; and managing GEF resources prudently and effectively. The Council then elected João Raimundo Lopes (Council member for Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and The Gambia) to Co-Chair the meeting, and proceeded to address a number of agenda items. Council members offered their constituencies’ views on the vision for the GEF 2020, following a keynote address by Francisco Gaetani, Vice-Minister of Environment of Brazil. Braulio Ferreira de Sousa Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, and Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, offered statements, and Thomas Lovejoy, Chairperson of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), offered a report on the STAP’s activities. The Council also discussed relations with the conventions and other international institutions, the proposed framework for a financial mechanism for the future mercury convention and draft operational program for mercury, and financial projections for GEF-5 programming options.

* Visit the web coverage for Tuesday, 13 November 2012



Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank
Paula Caballero, Colombia

Jan McAlpine, Director, UN Forum on Forests (UNFF)
Margarita Perez, Mexico

Braulio Ferreira de Sousa Dias, CBD Executive Secretary
Jim Willis, Executive Secretary of the Basel,
Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions


GEF Council Consultation Meeting With Civil Society Organizations


Monday, 12 November, 2012


Faizal Parish, GEF NGO Network Central Focal Point, opened the Consultation on Monday, 12 November 2012, and noted that, while significant progress has been achieved in the 16 years since the NGO Network was formed, much more is needed.

CSO Dialogue with the GEF CEO and Chairperson
GEF CEO Naoko Ishii said that, since taking office, she has met with various stakeholders and observed how GEF-supported projects deliver results on the ground. In the process of these consultations, she said she has realized the significant challenge of how to strategically position the GEF in the development agenda. Declaring that incremental improvements are not enough, Ishii said the GEF needs to catalyze transformational change. She emphasized that such change calls for the GEF to articulate a long-term vision and strategy, and welcomed CSO input to that vision.

Responding to questions from GEF NGO Network participants, CEO Ishii said, inter alia: the present model of CSO involvement is not working, so how to improve the usefulness and effectiveness of CSO engagement should be considered; the GEF needs to consider how better to engage CSOs in transboundary, regional and global projects; the GEF would welcome having a role in realizing sustainable development goals (SDGs); the GEF’s relationship with the Rio Conventions should be interactive, not simply GEF receiving instructions from the COPs; the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and GEF are not competing, but rather are complementary; little can be done about the GEF-5 funding shortfall except to plan to maximize benefits from available funds, and to consider lessons learned that can be applied in the GEF-6 replenishment; the GEF-5 funding shortfall will not affect CSOs on small projects; and the GEF should contemplate how it can work with and facilitate the type of innovative coalitions of communities, municipalities and CSOs seen at Rio+20 workshops and side events.

Session I: Enhancing CSO Engagement in GEF
Fiu Mataese Elisara, Pacific GEF-NGO Network Regional Focal Point (RFP) , moderated this session. Faizal Parish introduced a report on CSO engagement in the GEF and highlighted, inter alia: including further efforts, such as reviewing experiences and lessons learned; gathering information on policies and practices of GEF agencies; developing guidance and best practice manuals; and conducting outreach, capacity development, implementation and review of policies.

Paula Caballero, GEF Council Member, Colombia, highlighted the importance of enhancing efforts to work across boundaries – from national boundaries to the artificial division between environment and development issues – and said the GEF offers a unique platform in this regard. Maryam Niamir-Fuller, UNEP, reviewed work to identify bottlenecks. She said a central focus was the project preparation phase, and involved considering ways to change the roles and responsibilities among the GEF Secretariat, the implementing agencies and countries, with the GEF concentrating on strategic issues, and the implementing agencies and countries focusing on technical issues.

Andrew Velthaus, GEF Secretariat, discussed the implementation status of GEF standards on environmental and social safeguards, noting the steps involved with translating standards to principles and policy documents. Victor Kawanga, RFP Southern Africa GEF-NGO Network, discussed ways to enhance civil society participation in GEF focal area strategies, and how CSOs can contribute to GEF projects, including by encouraging public participation, contributing cutting edge technologies, enhancing communication, and focusing on sustainable long-term change. Yoko Watanabe, GEF Secretariat, discussed principles and guidelines for engaging with indigenous peoples, and highlighted the 15 November 2012 deadline for self-selection to the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group. Johnson Cerda, Alternate IPFP Americas GEF-NGO Network, emphasized the role of free prior informed consent. Delfin Ganapin, GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), reviewed the 20-year history of the SGP and lessons learned, such as: the importance of community-based approaches; adaptive management and learning-by-doing; the need to integrate environmental initiatives with those aimed at sustainable livelihoods; and the necessity of investing in management support systems.

In subsequent discussion, GEF NGO Network participants urged higher priority for the SGP, and called for more Council members to attend the CSO Consultation and engage in a real dialogue.

Session 2: Global Financing Needs for the Environment
Maria Leichner, RFPfor South America, moderated the panel on climate financing and financing the biodiversity agenda.

Günter Mitlacher, CBD Expert Team and RFP for Europe, presented the results of an assessment of GEF-6 funding needs in order to implement the incremental costs of the CBD Strategic Plan 2011-2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. He said the assessment suggested that, assuming the GEF’s current co-financing ratio of 1:4 is maintained, US$7-17 billion will be required in GEF-6. A Council member praised the CBD needs assessment, noting that all Rio Conventions are supposed to do likewise, but urged everyone to recognize the realities that: the GEF will never meet all the financing needs; the replenishment will depend on what donors are willing to provide; and domestic funding will be important for the biodiversity agenda.

Alejandro Kilpatrick, UNFCCC Secretariat, provided an overview of climate financing developments in 2012. Karen Orenstein, Friends of the Earth (FoE), US, provided FoE's view of the scale, sources and channels of international climate finance, urging, inter alia, that the GCF consider lessons from the GEF in setting up its relations with CSOs and policies on gender, social safeguards and community engagement. Samuel Dotse, RFP for West Africa, urged developed countries to meet their commitments to provide new and additional funding. Chris Whaley, Alternative Council Member, UK, posed questions for the 2020 vision exercise, including: what should be the GEF’s role vis-a-vis GCF operationalization; should the GEF broaden the POPs focal point to include other chemicals work and the implications this would have for other focal areas; and what sort of cross-focal area projects should the GEF engage in?

In subsequent discussion, GEF NGO Network members and GEF Council members raised questions about how the GCF’s creation and the sunsetting of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) will affect the GEF, and what the GCF can learn from CSO engagement models used in the GEF and CIF.

Session 3: Enhancing Convention Implementation
Günter Mitlacher, CBD Expert Team and RFP for Europe, moderated a panel on emerging issues from the CBD COP-11 and UNCCD COP-10.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza, CBD Executive Secretary, reported on the COP-11 results. He stressed that without a substantial increase in funding, the Aichi Targets will not be realized, and underscored the challenges of scaling up, mainstreaming biodiversity into the sustainable development agenda, and turning more attention to oceans. Mark Zimsky, GEF Secretariat, emphasized that COP-11 did not set priorities among the Aichi Targets nor do any agreed indicators exist, which pose significant challenges for the GEF. He said the Secretariat is working with the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to discern: which elements of the CBD Strategic Plan are critical to tackle first; and which ones will have knock-on effects, and enable and leverage achievement of the other elements. Jozef Buys, GEF Council Member, Belgium, lamented that COP-11 did not set priorities nor provide better guidance for the GEF, but expressed the hope that during the GEF-6 replenishment, the GEF and CBD Secretariats would establish a “technical advisory group” to guide the process.

Responding to questions from GEF NGO Network members, Zimsky explained that in considering how to fund implementation of the CBD Strategic Plan and Aichi Targets, the GEF must consider not only the scale of resources required, but also how best to allocate and implement them. He also suggested that the UNFCCC, CBD and UNCCD would benefit from working together to take a more synergistic approach. Tanveer Arif, RFP South Asia, discussed the benefits of CSO involvement in dealing with land degradation, and recommended that both the GEF and the UNCCD enhance and formalize CSO engagement in this area, and increase CSO access to medium-and full-sized projects. Melchiade Bukuru, UNCCD Secretariat, stressed that combatting land degradation is central to achieving goals in other areas, such as biodiversity, climate change, deforestation, water and food security. He also noted the Rio+20 call for a land degradation neutral world and monitoring the status of land degradation globally. He urged that the forthcoming SDGs include zero net land degradation as one of the goals. Mohamed Iman Bakarr, GEF Secretariat, noted challenges involved in increasing GEF involvement in sustainable land management (SLM), such as: Ministries that resist changes in land use and community rights policies; and lack of understanding among many governments about how to design a good SLM focal project.

Faizal Parish, GEF NGO Network Central Focal Point, briefly summarized the day’s discussions and closed the meeting at 5:50 pm.

* Visit the web coverage for Monday, 12 November 2012


Panel (L-R): William Ehlers, GEF; Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson; and Faizal Parish, GEF-NGO Network, Central Focal Point

Paula Caballero, Colombia
Fiu Mataese Elisara, Moderator, GEF-NGO Network, Pacific Regional Focal Point

Sana Taktak Keskes, Tunisia
Raul Pinedo, Panama

Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, greets audience at the reception


Related Links
GEF resources
*Forty-third Meeting of the GEF Council website and documents
*Forty-third Meeting of the GEF Council provisional annotated agenda
*Thirteenth LDCF/SCCF Council Meeting documents
*Thirteenth LDCF/SCCF Council Meeting provisional annotated agenda

IISD RS resources
*IISD RS coverage of the Forty-second Meeting of the GEF Council, 5-7 June 2012, Washington, DC, United States of America
*IISD RS coverage of the Forty-first Meeting of the GEF Council, 7-10 November 2011, Washington, DC, United States of America
*IISD RS coverage of the Fortieth Meeting of the GEF Council, 24-26 May 2011, Washington, DC, United States of America
*IISD RS coverage of the Fourth GEF Assembly, 24-28 May 2010, Punta del Este, Uruguay
*IISD RS coverage of the Third GEF Assembly, 29-30 August 2006, Cape Town, South Africa
*IISD RS coverage of the Second GEF Assembly, 16-18 October 2002, Beijing, China
*IISD RS coverage of the First GEF Assembly, 1-3 April 1998, New Delhi, India
*Biodiversity Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing International Biodiversity Policy
*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development
*SIDS Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
*Climate Change Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Activities Addressing Global Climate Change Policy
*Sustainable Energy Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of Sustainable Energy Activities
*Sustainable Water Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of Activities Addressing Sustainable Water and Sanitation Policy and Practice
*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
*African Regional Coverage
*Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage
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