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  GEF-CSO Consultation during 41st Council Meeting
A GEF Council-CSO consultation was organized on 7 Nov 2011 prior to the 41st GEF Council and was attended by more than 120 participants encompassing representatives from civil society, GEF Council members, GEF Agencies and GEF Secretariat. The highlights of the main discussions and panels are summarized below:



CSO Dialogue with Monique Barbut, GEF CEO
Moderator : Faizal Parish, Central Focal Point, GEF NGO Network
In her opening remarks and subsequent dialogue, Monique Barbut said she was proud to present the biggest GEF work program in this council meeting. She emphasized the importance of the Council to make decision on the environmental and social safeguard standards policy and suggested that further review can be made later. She commended the Network for its first report to the Council. She also thanked the CSOs for their active participation in the Expanded Constituency Workshops (ECWs) which were almost completed and called for the Network’s assistance in regions with low membership. She reiterated her support of the IPs-driven initiative in development of the GEF’s IPs Policy and thanked the Swiss Government for their financial support. She also expressed her appreciation to the Network for its input in the Public Involvement Guideline for CSOs. In the dialogue, a range of constraints and challenges faced by GEF and the GEF NGO network in bringing together the diverse CSOs together via the GEF programme, projects and activities was discussed.
Panel 1 – Revised Environmental and Social Safeguard Standards and Partnership with Private Sector
Moderator : Ermath Harrington (Caribbean Forest Conservation Association/ RFP Caribbean)
Panel: Andrew Velthaus (GEF Secretariat),  Helen Tugendhat (Forest Peoples Programme), Famark Hlawnching (Asian Indigenous Peoples Pacts, AIPP, Thailand), Dirk Joldersma (WWF-US/ RFP North America)
The panel explored the options for further strengthening the revised GEF’s environmental and social safeguards from the perspectives of CSOs, IPs, and GEF Sec. From the CSOs’ perspective, the revised policy still has some weaknesses which among others include lacking of clarity of key terms, no enforcement through suspension of accreditation to existing agencies, agencies can receive financing while not in compliance with the standards, and concerns on involuntary resettlement.  From the IPs’ perspective, they have significant concerns with free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) formulation in the policy. On council paper on engagement with private sector, the CSO expressed their concerns on the lack of purpose for such engagement and called for prioritisation on the engagement for global benefits (eg. appropriate technology, need supporting policy and where positive impact on community can be established). The GEFSEC representative briefly presented the mechanism as outlined in the strategy for engagement with private sector and reiterated that GEF is taking a cautious approach due to Counci;’s concern.
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Panel 2 – Issues for inclusion in the GEF policy on indigenous peoples
Moderator : Fiu Mataese Elisara (Ole Siosiomaga Society Incorporated, OLSSI, Samoa)
Panel: Herminia Minnie Degawan (Int. Alliance of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples of the Tropical Forests, Philippines), Jadder Mendoza Lewis (Universidad Regiones Autonoma del Caribe Nicaraguense),  Edna Kaptoya (Indigenous Information Network, Kenya), Katrine Siegwart (GEF Council member, Switzerland), Reginald Hernaus (GEF Council member, Netherlands), Gustavo Fonseca (GEF Secretariat)

In this panel, three representatives of indigenous Peoples raised the key issues in relation to indigenous peoples for inclusion in the GEF’s Policy on Indigenous Peoples. They have identified 5 key policy areas – Individual and collective rights to land, territories and resources; Free, prior and informed consents (FPIC); Full and effective participation; Traditional knowledge, innovations and practices; and lastly, Access and benefit sharing.A proposal was made for a mechanism for implementation of the policy which includes setting up of an Advisory Committee, a Desk Person at GEF Sec and establishment of direct access financing avenue for IPOs. A recourse mechanism was also proposed to deal with grievances. The Council Member from Switzerland reaffirmed the support from the Swiss Government in IPs engagement in the GEF while the Council Member from Netherlands emphasised the importance of keeping the Council abreast on the paper development and in influencing the Council for support. Netherlands will follow the development closely. The GEFSEC representative expressed his satisfaction with the process in the development of the IP issues paper and looked forward to the presentation of the draft IP policy in the next Council meeting in June 2012.




Panel 3 : GEF NGO Network’s Report
Moderator : Faizal Parish (Central Focal Point, GEF NGO Network)
Panel : Geerish Bucktowonsing (RFP Eastern Africa), Victor Kawanga (RFP Southern Africa), William Ehlers (GEF Secretariat)
Faizal Parish, the Central Focal Point of the GEF NGO Network presented the 2010 GEF NGO Network report to Council which highlighted 4 key issues and concerns including the review of Public Involvement Policy, IPs policy, selection of participants to GEF Council meeting and the NGO voluntary Fund. The two Regional Focal Points shared some of their experiences and constraints in promotion of GEF and GEF NGO Network in their regions. They also highlighted some of the problems and shortfalls in the implementation of the GEF-related meetings and projects in their region. The GEFSEC representative responded to some of the issues raised and also gave his recommendations on the contents for the next reporting.

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 GEF NGO Network Report to GEF Council, Faizal Parish


Panel 4 : Financing Requirement for Conventions Implementation
Moderator : Guenter Mitlacher (German NGO Forum Environment and Development/RFP Europe, Member of CBD Expert Group)
Panel on CBD : Ravi Sharma (CBD Secretariat), Mark Zimsky (GEF Secretariat), Mr. Hideaki Imamura (GEF Council member, Japan)
The panel discussed and reviewed the progress with regards to the CBD process to determine GEF-financing for biodiversity. The Council Member from Japan reiterated Japan’s support to continue the replenishment but emphasised on the importance of scientific evidence to back up their support for the benefit of its tax-payers.
Panel on Climate Change : Yolando Velasco (UNFCCC Representative), Kate Horner (Friends of the Earth US),Mr. Zaheer FAKIR (GEF Council Member, South Africa)
The panel discussed and reviewed the progress with regards to the Green Climate Fund from the perspective and views from the Convention Secretariat, CSO as well as the Council Member. The Council Member from South Africa raised the questions concerning the reasons behind the establishment of the Green Climate Fund which indicates misgiving about GEF and he called for certain reformations within GEF to address this.
Panel on Chemicals : Jack Weinberg (International POPs Elimination Network, IPEN)
The IPEN representative highlighted the importance of a toxic-free future and the need for global action on this. He also suggested options for future small scale projects based on IPEN’s success in implementing similar projects.  

Download the presentations here :

Financial Needs Assessments for GEF-6, Ravi Sharma, CBD Secretariat

Financing Convention Implementation, Kate Horner, Friends of the Earth

Working towards Toxics-free Future, Jack Weinberg, IPEN


In his closing remarks, Faizal Parish, Central Focal Point of the GEF NGO Network commended the GEF CEO for sharing her vision and being constructive and supportive in the Environmental and Social safeguards policy as well as in the development of the IPs policy. He was pleased with the consensus among the parties involved to address the barrier in finalising the Environmental and Social safeguard Policy. On the strategy on engagement with private sector, he expressed his hope that this last attempt will work but called for clear articulation of the strategy. He commended the IPs Task Force for making good effort in building the link for the GEF policy on IPs and suggested that the elements of the IP issues paper can be shared with the Council Members at the sideline of the meeting. He reiterated that the Network will set targets for the next Network report to the council but faces constraints such as budget. He emphasised the need for a cautionary approach to the proposed Environmental and Social Safeguard Policy, and urged GEF to allow further consultation and refinement of the policy. He called for all to work together to enhance the engagement of civil society in the future development and implementation of GEF programmes. On the financing requirements for conventions implementation, he pointed out that CBD has showed precedence for a good engagement with CSO with CSO representation in the Expert Group. While the dialogue on the climate change was very frank and an eye opening, the chemical is a neglected area. IPEN has presented a good model for cooperation and partnership which he hoped GEF can support.

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