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Forty-first Meeting of the Global Environment Facility Council

7-10 November 2011 | Washington, DC, United States of America

Summary Highlights of the Meeting
GEF
Chair Monique Barbut, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO
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Biodiversity Policy & Practice
On Monday, 7 November 2011, a reception took place at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, US, to welcome the participants to the 41st Global Environment Facility Council Meeting.

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See more photographs from the reception.
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The 41st meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council was opened by Monique Barbut, CEO/Chairperson of the Facility, who underscored the need for efficiency, transparency and sharing of results. She emphasized the GEF’s new Work Program demonstrates real country ownership, with 90 % of all projects co-financed with resources outside of the GEF. She called attention to decisions to be taken on the Revised Strategy for Enhancing Engagement with the Private Sector and the GEF Policy on Agency Minimum Standards on Environmental and Social Safeguards.

The Council then elected Claudia Grayeb-Bayata (Mexico) as Co-Chair of the meeting, adopted the agenda for its three-day meeting and worked through its first full day of deliberations.

Melchiade Bukuru, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) reported that the GEF was invited to consider increasing its allocation to land degradation by the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UNCCD. Ravi Sharma, UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), highlighted a CBD assessment report on funding needs and workshops on biodiversity and finance organized in conjunction with the GEF. John Scanlon, Secretary-General, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is not a convention for which GEF is a financing mechanism, noted that if GEF were to become CITES’ financial mechanism it would enhance the Convention’s financial and programmatic coherence and the immediate threats to biodiversity loss as a result of illegal or unsustainable trade could be addressed.

Thomas Lovejoy, Chair, GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), highlighted several recent initiatives on the quality at entry and impact of GEF projects, experimental design and climate resilience in GEF projects, and upcoming initiatives, such as the focus on protecting GEF investments.

During the first day, the GEF Council also considered agenda items on: the Progress Report from the Director of the GEF Evaluation Office; the Annual Thematic Evaluations Report - 2011 and Management Response; the Annual Monitoring Report.

GEF Council Members engaged in a lengthy discussion on the Revised Strategy for Enhancing Engagement with the Private Sector that ended with a significantly reformulated decision in response to several Council members' concerns. The GEF Council concluded the day by considering the agenda item on GEF Minimum Fiduciary Standards: Separation of Implementation and Execution Functions in GEF Partner Agencies.

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Visit the web coverage for Tuesday, 8 November 2011.
GEF
Co-Chair Monique Barbut, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO
Co-Chair Claudia Grayeb-Bayata, Mexico
Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, Ethiopia
Frank Fass-Metz, Germany
Melchiade Bukuru, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Ravi Sharma, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
John Scanlon, Secretary-General, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
Jozef Buys, Belgium
Thomas E. Lovejoy, Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel
Thomas E. Lovejoy’s presentation
Ibrahima Sow, Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Dima Reda, Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council
Anna Birgitta Viggh’s presentation
Anna Birgitta Viggh, Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council
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Zaheer Fakir, South Africa
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Jinkang Wu, China

The 41st meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council continued its work on Wednesday. In the morning, the Council discussed the GEF Minimum Fiduciary Standards: Separation of Implementation and Execution functions in GEF Partner Agencies and asked clarifications about legal responsibility in the case of direct access to GEF funds; practical arrangements within the GEF agencies to implement the separation of functions; and the terminology, as “implementation” and “execution” have very similar meaning. Later in the morning they reviewed the Work Program, recognizing the importance of: mainstreaming climate adaptation in project design; co-financing of projects through private business participation; small-grants programmes; transparency; and greater non-governmental organizations' (NGOs) participation.

In the afternoon the Council discussed Criteria for the Establishment of Trust Funds within the GEF, with some members expressing support for the standing fund with multiple windows under strict criteria, and several others questioning the establishment of such a fund. They also discussed and welcomed the adoption of a new Policy on Agency Minimum Standards on Environmental and Social Safeguards, with many members recognizing that the Policy should be a “living document” that will have to change and adapt over time. Many members welcomed the opportunity to mainstream safeguards into GEF projects as more agencies are involved. An NGO representative welcomed the Policy but lamented that minimum standards such as Involuntary Resettlement might be inapplicable under some circumstances.

The day ended with a discussion on GEF Administrative Expenses. The report, introduced in the morning, provoked an intense and lengthy discussion with 24 Council Members intervening and three Implementing Agencies (IAs) making statements. All Members supported the need for efficiency, with some emphasizing maintaining the value of the services provided by the IAs while striving for cost reduction. Several Members noted that the 60% increase in the new replenishment would justify a cut in the corporate activities fees. The Council requested the Secretariat to establish a working group comprised of Council Members, the GEF Secretariat and GEF agencies, to review the fee structure with a view to decreasing the total costs and presenting a proposal for a new fee policy at the June 2012 Council meeting.

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Visit the web coverage for Wednesday, 9 November 2011.
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The dais during the morning session.
Hideaki Imamura, Japan
Nuritdin R. Inamov, Russian Federation
Gregoire Nkeoua, Congo
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Leander Treppel, Austria
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Javed Talat, Pakistan
Silvia Merega, Argentina
Anton Hilber, Switzerland
Asa Andrae, Sweden
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Daniel J. Gustafson (left), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
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L-R: Lucia Senofonte, Italy, and Co-Chair Monique Barbut, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO, during informal consultations.
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Paul Samson, Canada
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Beatriz Escolar (left), Spain
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Tatiana Degai Raipon (left), Indigenous Peoples representative

The 41st meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council completed its deliberations on Thursday. In the morning, the World Bank introduced a report on the Rules regarding GEF Constituencies, with members deciding to keep it under review.

The Trustee, then, provided an update on the independent review of systems in the GEF-5 replenishment process, proposing an “implementation proposal” that addresses the recommendations in the review.

Among other decisions, the GEF Council also decided to hold the 42nd Council on 5-7 June 2012, in view of the change of dates of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20). After receiving the Joint Summary of the Chairs, Council Members reviewed and approved the decisions and commented, inter alia, on the Work Program and the Establishment of Trust Funds.

During the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF)/Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) Council meeting, Council members reviewed and approved the joint Work Program and the Monitoring and Evaluation Policy. With respect to the Evaluation of the SCCF, the LDCF/SSCF Council noted the impacts of the funding levels and requested the Secretariat to prepare proposals to ensure transparency of the project pre-selection process, dissemination of good practices, and visibility of the fund.

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Visit the web coverage for Thursday, 10 November 2011.
GEF
Group photograph at the end of the Council meeting.
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The dais during the morning session.
N.H. Ravindranath, Indian Institute of Science
N.H. Ravindranath’s presentation
Bonizella Biagini, Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Maurizio Ragazzi, World Bank
Jonathan Caldicott, Trustee
Frank Fass-Metz, Germany
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Council members during the meeting.
Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Related Links
GEF resources
*Forty-first meeting of the GEF Council documents
*Forty-first meeting of the GEF Council provisional annotated agenda
*C.41 work program submitted for Council approval

IISD RS resources
*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
*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
*African Regional Coverage
*Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage
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