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Biodiversity Policy & Practice
Forty-second Meeting of the Global Environment Facility Council (GEF)

5-7 June 2012 | Washington, DC, United States of America

Summary of Highlights
GEF
The 42nd meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council convened from 5-7 June 2012, in Washington, DC, US. The meeting was preceded by consultations with civil society organizations and an evening welcome reception on 4 June. The Council considered agenda items, including: relations with conventions and other international institutions; the annual performance report 2011 and management response; the annual country portfolio evaluation report and management response; the work program and budget for the GEF Evaluation Office; Clarifying the Responsibilities of the GEF’s Key Actors with respect to the Use of GEF Resources; the Work Program; the Business Plan FY13-14 and Budget FY13; the Fee Structure for Agencies; and the Secretariat Recommendations of Project Agencies for Accreditation. The Work Program consists of the allocation of US$667.26 million for 84 new stand-alone projects, two conceptual programmatic approaches, and 13 revisions to previously approved projects. In addition, the Council unanimously decided to appoint Naoko Ishii (Japan) as 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.
Group Photo
Council members posed for a group photo after Tuesday's meeting.
Daily web coverage (click on the following links to see our daily web pages)
Highlights for Monday, 4 June 2012

On Monday, 4 June 2012, a reception took place at the World Bank in Washington, DC, US, to welcome the participants to the 42nd Global Environment Facility Council Meeting.

See more photographs from the reception.

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Highlights for Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Monique Barbut, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), opened the 42nd meeting of the GEF Council on 5 June 2012. She underscored that the Council, which is meeting from 5-7 June 2012, at World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC, US, 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 fifth GEF replenishment (GEF-5) goals. Noting that this Council would be her last as CEO, she thanked Council members for their support in reforming the GEF.

The GEF Council also heard messages 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. He said the Bureaus had just finalized their agreement to hold their next COPs back-to-back in 2013, and underscored such actions will bring millions in cost savings that will be used for technical assistance to Parties instead. Paul Horwitz, Deputy Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat, noted decisions by the Montreal Protocol Meeting of Parties (MOP) on scientific panels, destruction technologies and controls on hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and discussion of possible Protocol coverage of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). 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. 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.

Thomas Lovejoy, Chairperson of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), reported on the STAP's activities 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.

The Council then turned to a number of agenda items, including relations with the Conventions and other international institutions, the annual performance report, the 2012 annual country portfolio evaluation report and management response, the work program and budget of the GEF Evaluation Office, and broadening the GEF Partnership.

Full web coverage available here: 5 June

Paul Akiwumi, Monique Barbut and Jozef Buys

L-R: Council Secretary Paul Akiwumi, GEF CEO and Chairperson Monique Barbut and 42nd GEF Council Co-Chair Jozef Buys, Belgium

Karine Siegwart
Karine Siegwart, Switzerland
James Willis
James Willis, Joint Executive Secretary of the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions
Luc Gnacadja
Luc Gnacadja, Executive Secretary, UNCCD
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Highlights for Wednesday, 6 June 2012

At the opening of the second day of the 42nd meeting of the GEF Council, Fernando Lugris, Chair, Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Mercury, briefed Council members on the status of the mercury negotiations. The Council also discussed two information documents on chemicals: one regarding strategies to realize co-benefits on chemicals and climate change, the other discussing possible options for the GEF to serve as the financing mechanism for the mercury agreement.

Council members also discussed and ultimately approved the Work Program, which they were told represents the largest program presented to the Council to date, with 84 stand-alone project concepts and two programmatic approaches amounting to US$667.38 million in GEF project grants, and the largest number of recipients included in a GEF Work Program.

The Council reviewed proposals for the FY13-14 business plan and FY13 budget, but decided to wait for requested cost figures from the Trustee before giving final approval. The Council also reviewed options for changing the Project Management Information System (PMIS). Members expressed preference for the option whereby PMIS functionality would become part of the World Bank’s updated corporate systems serving many trust funds, with many noting this would increase efficiencies and meet many concerns expressed by the auditor of the GEF Trust Fund.

On the agenda item on Fee Structure for Agencies, Council members generally supported the recommendations of the Fee Working Group, with some indicating they would have preferred a recommendation for greater cuts. They debated whether implementation of the decision should begin on 1 July 2012, as proposed by the Working Group, or on 1 January 2013, to allow time to take into account further information on possible streamlining and cost cutting. A revised draft decision was circulated and will be considered Thursday.

During the final half hour of discussion, the Council initiated discussions on the two-stage screening of applicants to become new project agencies, with 11 agencies—five national, two regional and four civil society organizations—rated with overall passing scores and eligible for stage-two assessment of their compliance with GEF policies and standards. At the close of the day, the Council hosted a reception in honor of outgoing GEF CEO and Chairperson Monique Barbut.

Full web coverage available here: 6 June

Paul Akiwumi, Monique Barbut and Jozef Buys

L-R: Council Secretary Paul Akiwumi, GEF CEO and Chairperson Monique Barbut and 42nd GEF Council Co-Chair Jozef Buys, Belgium

Libran Cabactulan
Libran Cabactulan, Philippines
Annemarie Watt
Annemarie Watt, Australia
Bella Tonkonogy, US
Bella Tonkonogy, US
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Highlights for Thursday, 7 June 2012

On the third and final day of the 42nd meeting of the GEF Council, the Council unanimously decided to appoint Naoko Ishii (Japan) as CEO/Chairperson of the GEF for a four-year term, beginning 1 August 2012. Ishii thanked the Council, and said 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 board rooms 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. Council members welcomed incoming CEO Ishii and pledged their cooperation, praised outgoing CEO Barbut for her six years of service and pursuit of reforms, and gave Barbut a standing ovation.

The Council proceeded to complete its consideration of its agenda, adopting recommendations of project agencies for accreditation and a decision on the fee structure for Agencies.

The Least Developed Countries Fund/Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF) Council convened for its 12th meeting in the afternoon, and heard 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. The Council approved 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.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Andre Laperriere, GEF Deputy CEO, expressed the GEF Secretariat staff’s appreciation for Monique Barbut’s leadership, and Council members viewed a video that presented her accomplishments. Barbut offered farewell remarks, and said that each and every Council meeting during her six-year tenure had brought about important steps in improving the GEF, which she expected would continue under the new CEO.

Full web coverage available here: 7 June

Paul Akiwumi, Monique Barbut, Jozef Buys and Naoko Ishii

L-R: Council Secretary Paul Akiwumi, GEF CEO and Chairperson Monique Barbut, 42nd GEF Council Co-Chair Jozef Buys, Belgium, and incoming CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii

Naoko Ishii
Naoko Ishii, incoming GEF CEO and Chairperson
Javed Talat
Javed Talat, Pakistan
Mina Setra
Mina Setra, Indigenous Peoples
IISDRS Team Photo
Your IISD Reporting Services team for the 42nd GEF Council: Keith Ripley, Writer; Lynn Wagner, Team Leader; Dan Birchall, Digital Editor
GEF resources
*Forty-second meeting of the GEF Council documents
*Forty-second meeting of the GEF Council provisional annotated agenda

IISD RS resources
*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-L - A mailing list for news on biodiversity and wildlife policy
*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 and 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
*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
*African Regional Coverage
*Latin America and Caribbean Regional Coverage
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