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  GEF-CSO consultation meeting, 17 June 2013

A GEF Council-CSO consultation was organized on 17 June 2013 prior to the 44th GEF Council and was attended by more than 100 participants encompassing representatives from civil society, GEF Council members, GEF Agencies and GEF Secretariat. Click here for the agenda of the GEF Council-CSOs Consultation Meeting.


Faizal Parish, GEF NGO Network Central Focal Point, opened the GEF Council Consultation Meeting with Civil Society Organizations on Monday, 17 June 2013, noting this unique platform for dialogue and exchange of ideas for the long term planning and implementation of GEF policy and programmes.

CSO Dialogue with the GEF CEO and Chairperson
Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF, highlighted the need for a bold policy strategy embodied in, among other things, the GEF 2020 Strategy and the sixth replenishment of the GEF (GEF 6) to tackle the underlying drivers of global environmental degradation. She stressed strengthening partnerships with CSOs and other stakeholders, and underscored results- and knowledge-based management systems to enhance the work of the GEF.

Responding to questions, Ishii: noted that the time taken to engage CSOs is less compared to the past, but a lot remains to be done to fully engage the CSOs; stressed the importance of convincing governments to foster CSO involvement in national level implementation; and highlighted the role of cities in leading the dialogue on involving national governments in environmental protection, particularly between the period 2015-2020, when there is a potential climate change governance gap.

Session 1: The Road Towards GEF 6
This session was co-moderated by Pillar Barrera, GEF Secretariat, and Essam Nada, Regional Focal Point for North Africa. Participants heard from members of the GEF Secretariat dealing with seven focal areas: climate change mitigation, chemicals and wastes, climate change adaptation, biodiversity, international waters, land degradation, and sustainable forest management. The discussion focused on a range of issues, including: guidelines for CSO engagement in GEF projects; the advantages and disadvantages of multi-focal approaches to climate smart agriculture; the need for political will at the national level to involve CSOs in dealing with environmental degradation; the negative link between poverty alleviation and environmental degradation; the need for the GEF to engage at the convention-level, and also engage actors at the national and local levels; the GEF’s support for the Bamako Convention on the management of hazardous wastes in Africa; co-financing of sustainable forestry management projects; the integration of adaptation in all GEF focal areas; and the need for CSOs to be more proactive in providing input to national plans of implementation.

Robert van den Berg, Director, GEF Evaluation Office, then presented a sub-study on CSO involvement to be completed by October 2013, and participants suggested, inter alia, a section on the constraints to CSO engagement including resources.

To view the powerpoint presentations, click on the following panel speakers 

Chizuru Aoki (CCM),
Ibrahima Sow (Chemicals and Waste),
Mark Zimsky (BD),
Astrid Hillers (IW),
Ulrich Apel (LD),
Ian Gray (SFM)

Session 2: Interactive Dialogue on the Future Strategic Role of GEF
This session was co-moderated by Faizal Parish and Fiu Mataese Elisara, Regional Focal Point for the Pacific Region. Claus Astrup, Advisor to the GEF CEO, GEF Secretariat, presented the GEF 2020 Strategy, which underscores the need to: understand the drivers of global environmental degradation; engage proactively with partners; and strengthen the GEF as a knowledge institution.

Presenting on "CSO Perspectives on the Future of GEF," Maria Leichner, Regional Focal Point for South America, called for further understanding the links between civil society and the GEF in order to fortify partnerships. Victor Kawanga, Regional Focal Point for Southern Africa region, argued that CSOs posses specific skills resulting from operations on the ground. Click here to view their presentation material.

In the panel discussion, Ximena George-Nascimento, GEF Council Member Alternate, Chile, proposed better engagement with the operational focal points to promote a stronger information flow between the focal points and the CSOs. Maryam Naimir-Fuller, UN Environment Programme, noted calls for synergies within multilateral environmental agreements, and lauded the GEF’s move towards multi-focal activities. Matthew Kotchen, GEF Council Member, US, highlighted the technical assistance provided by the GEF, as well as the policy reform it engages in, noting that these institutional approaches are as important as the work on the ground. Delfin Ganapin, GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), noted that GEF 6 will see the SGP transform into a “grantmaker plus (+),” and scale up small projects to medium sized projects. Godwin Fishani Gondwe, GEF Council Member Alternate, Zambia, stressed understanding the drivers of unsustainable development in order to propose and implement helpful solutions for all three pillars of sustainable development.

Participants then discussed, inter alia; the role of the GEF in the emerging sustainable development goals; the need for disaggregated data showing the benefits of the SGP to Indigenous Peoples; the relationship between governments and CSOs;  scaling up GEF 2020; private sector engagement; and the role of the NGO Network  in shaping GEF policy.

Faizal Parish noted that implementation of the GEF 2020 will require resources from both the traditional donor governments and new partnerships, underscored the need to fully define “CSO engagement” in order to set targets to enhance it, and suggested that GEF 6 consider further involving CSOs in their signature programmes in order to foster greater public engagement. He closed the Consultation at 4:38pm.



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