Categories Events, ICCA on the international level, International events, Key policies, Newsflash, Private sector standards and safeguards

53rd GEF Council Meeting and CSO Consultation

First published on 11/27/2017, and last updated on 03/20/2018

The ICCA Consortium joined over 30 Global Environmental Facility (GEF) CSO Network members, including the Global Forest Coalition (GFC), participating in the 53rd GEF Council meeting and CSO Consultation (Washington D.C., 27 – 30 November, 2017).

CSO Consultation with the GEF Council (27 November)

The Council meeting was preceded by a CSO Consultation, including over 100 representatives from civil society, GEF Council and Agencies, and the GEF Secretariat. Discussion topics included the following:

  • Dialogue with the GEF CEO and Chairperson, Naoko Ishii, including on GEF’s relationships with other funds and Multilateral Environmental Agreements and the expanding role of the private sector in GEF funding and activities. CSOs raised questions and discussion points about, inter alia, strengthening roles and support for civil society engagement in GEF and developing guidance on private sector engagement.
  • Presentation and discussion on GEF-7 (the next funding cycle), including the proposed programming directions. These include proposed Impact Programs on land use, food systems and restoration; sustainable cities; and sustainable forest management. CSOs raised, among other things, the need to fully fund and support the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP). (See below regarding next steps).
  • Presentation and discussion of the Updated Vision to Enhance Civil Society Engagement with the GEF, as well as several of the policies, which were subsequently approved during the Council meeting (see above).

53rd GEF Council Meeting (28 – 30 Nov)

Agenda items of interest for the ICCA Consortium and its members during the GEF Counsel Meeting (28 to 30 November) included the following:

  • Discussion and Council approval of a new GEF Policy on Stakeholder Engagement (Annex 1 of GEF/C.53/05/Rev.01), which “sets out the core principles and mandatory requirements for Stakeholder Engagement … with a view to promoting transparency, accountability, integrity, effective participation and inclusion” (Para 3). Compared with the former GEF Public Involvement Policy, the new Policy clarifies and strengthens Agency and Secretariat mandates for stakeholder engagement in GEF-financed activities, including regarding documentation, monitoring, and reporting on such engagement. The Policy, developed through a two-year multi-stakeholder process, will be effective July 2018 for new GEF-financed activities. The Secretariat will develop implementation guidance with the Working Group on Public Involvement.
  • Discussion and Council approval of an updated GEF Policy on Gender Equality (Annex 1 of GEF/C.53/04), which “sets out the guiding principles and mandatory requirements for Mainstreaming Gender …with a view to promoting Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls in support of the GEF’s mandate” (Para 6). Among other things, the policy formalizes and clarifies “the mandatory requirement for …. gender analysis or equivalent socio-economic assessment” for GEF-financed activities (Para 14b). The GEF Secretariat will develop and disseminate guidelines and action plans for implementation within six months, “in consultation with Agencies and other relevant stakeholders and expert organizations” (Para 17).
  • Discussion and Council approval of the Updated Policy on Ethics and Conflict of Interest for Council Members, Alternates, and Advisers (Annex 1) as well as the Terms of Reference for the Ethics Committee (Annex II) (GEF/C.53/11). The CSO Network welcomed this policy, and recommended that GEF develop a broader policy on ethics in the future, including a code of conduct.
  • Discussion and Council approval of an Updated Vision to Enhance Civil Society Engagement with the GEF (GEF/C.53/10) which highlights, among other things, the need for civil society engagement throughout GEF project phases. Recommendations of the Ad Hoc Council Working Group included revising the selection process for sponsored CSO participation at Council meetings, structuring CSO meetings to better inform Council proceedings, and including CSO interventions throughout Council sessions. The CSO Network raised concerns, including regarding the revised CSO representative selection process, but supported the Updated Vision overall. The GEF Secretariat will report on implementation of the Vision at the 55th Council meeting.
  • Discussion and Council approval of the final GEF-6 Work Program (GEF/C.53/13), which emphasizes Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. The CSO Network recommended that, inter alia, GEF Work Programs “include appropriate recognition of and support for territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (sometimes referred to as ICCAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures (as recognized in the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011- 2020, Aichi Target 11).”

Going forward…

Key opportunities for engagement in GEF going forward include:

  • Next meeting on the GEF-7 Replenishment (23-25 January 2018, Brasilia, Brazil). This will be an opportunity to learn about and further contribute to the developing GEF-7 Program.
  • GEF CSO Forum (26 June), Assembly (27-28 June), and 54th Council Meeting (24-26 June) (Da Nang, Vietnam). The CSO Forum will include opportunities for CSOs and other rights-holders and stakeholders to share their experience and work. Watch for forthcoming information here.
  • Forthcoming policy and guidance development, including review and update of GEF’s Social and Environmental Safeguards, further development of GEF’s proposed Policy on Access to Information, and guidance to be developed on the updated policies on Gender and Stakeholder Engagement (see above).

For more information…

Sources: IISD summary, GEF CSO Network summary, GEF documents, and participant notes.