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  GEF-CSO Strategic Plan (August 2008)
Update: The GEF-CSO Network Two Year Operational Action Plan (2008 - 2010) can be viewed here.

The GEF NGO Network - Strategic Plan Overview, Aug 2008
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This webpage is abstracted from the document "THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY GEF-CSO NETWORK - STRATEGIC PLAN OVERVIEW",  Prepared by The GEF-CSO Network, Central and Regional Focal Points, August 2008, Washington, DC


This document describes the strategic road map for the Global Environment Facility Non Government Organization Network (GEF-CSO Network) over the next ten years. It is tabled in support of the preparation of a path to adding contributory value to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) The NGO Network of the Global Environment Facility was established in May 1995 following the GEF Council’s decision to establish a formal dialogue between the NGO’s and the GEF Secretariat, Council Assembly and partner agencies. The Network was established to group together those non-profit organizations accredited to the GEF.

This plan adopts a strategic approach that is aligned and congruent to the strategic intentions of the GEF and demonstrates the value that the GEF Network will add to the GEF and international civil society. This overall strategic process agenda also includes a comprehensive operational plan with clear delineation of activities, responsibilities, initiatives, performance measures and indicators to operationalize the broad strategy focus areas over the period of four years. The rationale for this plan is as follows:

  • To define the parameters for engagement and partnership with the GEF Family[1]
  • To add value to the work and operations of GEF
  • To articulate the GEF-CSO Network modus operandi

The context for the articulation of this plan is the GEF-CSO Network Vision and Mission statements which are respectively:


A dynamic civil society influencing policies and actions at all levels to safeguard the global
  environment and promote sustainable development

The civil society impact is critical with the emphasis on empowerment of endogenous and local communities in defense of their rights over natural resources and valuing their endogenous knowledge


To strengthen civil society partnership with GEF by enhancing participation, 
  contributing to policy and stimulating action

These areas immediately speak to the issue of full partnership, recognition and legitimacy for the NGO Network in its relations with the GEF, partner organizations and constituency groupings. As such a major pre-requisite for enabling the Network to successfully pursue its programmatic agenda is the support in terms of resources from the GEFSEC and the ability to engage the Council on a much more equitable footing. 


The GEF established in 1991, is a mechanism for international cooperation for the purpose of providing new, and additional grant and concessional funding to meet the agreed incremental costs of measures to achieve agreed global environmental benefits in the areas of biological diversity, climate change, international waters and ozone layer depletion. Land degradation issues, primarily desertification and deforestation, as they relate to the four focal areas are also addressed. The GEF is not just a funding mechanism; it is also a facility to leverage the international system to support the global environment.


The GEF-CSO network has adopted a new structure in April 2008 to enhance its capacity and ability to effectively undertake its work.

The structure comprises the following elements


Currently 600 organisations have been accredited by GEF and form the current membership of the network. This includes local, national and international NGOs and CSOs. Members are being empowered to participate actively in policy, outreach and implementation activities of the Network and GEF family. The membership database is being currently enhanced and a membership drive will be undertaken to enhance participation in key regions.

Regional Focal Points

The Regional Focal points or RFPs are elected periodically from among the members in a particular region. The main role of the RFPs is to coordinate and stimulate the activities of the Network at the regional and country level. In regions with many members Country contact points may be appointed to support the RFPs. The RFPs develop annual programmes of activities in the repsctive region and enhance communication and cooperation with the members. They also appoint representatives to participate in the overall governance of the organization.

Indigenous Peoples Organizations

Indigenous peoples organizations are actively involved in the network in facilitating links to IPO activities and promoting the effective partnership between GEF and Indigenous groups. They appoint through their internal selection processes three regional (Asia, Africa and Americas) representatives to the overall governing body.

Central Focal Point

The central focal point is elected from among the RFPs to serve as the central coordination point for network activities especially at the global level including the effective liaison with the GEFSEC and agencies.

Coordinating Committee

The coordinating committee is the overall governance body of the network and comprises the RFPs CFP and the reps from IPOs. It meets twice a year prior to each GEF council meeting. It has established a number of Sub committees to assist its work including on Governance, outreach, Strategy and Technical issues. The sub committees facilitate inputs from member organizations to policy making and implementation action. The leadership of the subcommittees is distributed to members of the Coordinating committee with relevant expertise.


Based on a review of the earlier strategy and an examination of the strengths and weaknesses of the network and the future needs and opportunities for the network as a result of the GEF reforms it was proposed the objectives were reformulated as follows:

1. To enhance the role of civil society in safeguarding the global environment

Civil society has a critical role to play in directly contributing to the safeguarding of the global environment. Increases in knowledge and capabilities has empowered Civil Society to be strategic partner to the GEF in achieving global environmental benefits

2. To strengthen global environmental policy development through enhanced partnership between Civil Society and the GEF

This objective builds on the important historical role of the network to contribute and provide feedback to GEF policy making primarily through the GEF Council and GEF Assembly and feedback on project implementation as well as the pursuit of advocacy to continuously highlight the issues affecting all Civil Society stakeholders

3. To Strengthen the GEF-CSO Network Capacity

In order to deliver the new objectives and strategies the GEF-CSO Network needs to enhance its capacity. As such a complimentary capacity building agenda will be developed alongside the roll out of the objectives and strategies identified. 


For each of the objectives a number of strategies have been identified.

Strategic Objective 1. To enhance the role of civil society in safeguarding the global environment


  • Support outreach and awareness on global environment issues
  • Document and disseminate experience and best practice to address global environment issues
  • Encourage civil society contributions to the negotiation and implementation of Conventions.
  • Strengthen capacity of civil society to address global environment issues through engagement in policy making dialog at the national, regional and global level

Strategic Objective 2. To strengthen GEF Program implementation through enhanced partnership with Civil Society


  • Support the promotion of GEF and its programs and activities to Civil Society
  • Enhance Civil Society involvement in GEF Country, regional and Global Projects
  • Support the effective access of local communities and civil society organizations to GEF resources through the SGP
  • Provide strategic input to GEF policy making, planning and reviews

Strategic Objective 3. To maintain and enhance the capacity of the GEF-CSO Network

  • Enhance Governance capability of the GEF Network
  • Promote active membership
  • Improve the NGO Network Communication and procurement of funding


The key elements of the envisaged strategies are elaborated in more detail below.

Strategic Objective 1:  To enhance the role of civil society in safeguarding the global environment

Strategy 1.1 Support outreach and awareness on global environment issues

  • Undertake outreach programs and campaigns to raise awareness on key global environment issues in partnership with Network members and other NGO/IP Networks.

Strategy 1.2 Document and disseminate experience and best practice to address global environment issues

  • Develop a knowledge exchange platform on the role of Civil Society in safeguarding the global environment
  • Collate and disseminate results and lessons learned through GEF and non-GEF related activities to address key environmental challenges.

Strategy 1.3 Encourage civil society contributions to the negotiation and implementation of Conventions.

  • To promote and support involvement of civil society organizations in negotiation and implementation of environmental conventions.
  • Organize regular dialogues at convention meetings in partnership with GEF Secretariat and Agencies, network members and other partners.
  • Channel ground level experiences from GEF programmes with civil society to convention meetings and implementation processes.

Strategy 1.4 Strengthen capacity of civil society to address global environment issues through engagement in policy making dialog at the national, regional and global level

  • Organize network expertise and capability to support capacity building programs and facilitate involvement in design and implementation for GEF projects
  • Organize periodic training and other capacity building activities for NGOs/IPs and other civil society organizations in partnership with GEF agencies and projects.

Strategic Objective 2: To strengthen GEF Program implementation through enhanced partnership with Civil Society

Strategy 2.1 Support promotion of GEF programs and activities to Civil Society

  • Disseminate information materials on GEF programmes to civil society in partnership with GEFSEC and Agencies
  • Document Civil Society involvement with GEF activities for use in information and outreach programs
  • Collaborate with GEFSEC in the implementation of the GEF communication strategy

Strategy 2.2 Enhance Civil Society involvement in GEF Country, regional and global Projects

  • Work with GEF Focal points and GEF Agencies to identify opportunities for civil society involvement in the preparation and implementation of GEF projects and programs.
  • Promote and facilitate the inclusion of Civil ociety representatives in country program consultations and GEF project and program governance mechanisms.

Strategy 2.3 Support the effective access of local communities and civil society organizations to GEF resources through the SGP

  • Strengthen the collaboration between the GEF-CSO Network and the GEF Small Grants Program

  • Support consultations with Civil Society on the SGP Country Program graduation process.
  • Jointly document and disseminate experience and lessons learned from SGP and other GEF and non-GEF related support to communities.

Strategy 2.4 Provide strategic input to GEF policy making, planning and reviews

  • Maintain regular contact with network members to solicit feedback on specific and /or general policy and programs of the GEF
  • Collate experience and lessons learned from Network members and other civil society organizations on GEF programme implementation
  • Undertake policy analysis and review in relation to the key technical, managerial and governance issues related to the operation of the GEF through operation of task forces on focal areas and conventions.
  • Facilitate input to the GEF through input to council, constituency and technical meetings.
  • Establish effective and formal linkages between the Network and the GEF Independent Evaluation Office to contribute to the evaluation of projects distill best practices and make the evaluation process more transparent and accountable to public.

Strategic Objective 3: To Strengthen The GEF-CSO Network Capacity

Strategy 3.1 Enhance Governance capability of the GEF-CSO Network

  • Enhance Network activities at the national levels
  • Strenghen communication between the RFPs and their constituency
  • Enhance focus and activities at the regional and country levels to assess GEF activities and implementation of projects.
  • Prepare a financial management framework including budgeting process to manage and administer NGO Network funds and budget

Strategy 3.2 To promote active membership

  • Maintain and strengthen membership base
  • Strengthen communication within and across local regional and international levels

Strategy 3.3 To improve the NGO Network Communication and Procurement of Funding

  • Develop a communication channel between the various stakeholders and the regional/ country/ SGP / and Central Focal Points and also with the GEF SEC.
  • Developing and building up Communication and Network resources for the GEF-CSO network.
  • Establish and support a communication strategy to ensure that all global regions have adequate representation at Council meetings
  • Assess opportunities and activities to utilize capacity of the GEF-CSO Network members
  • To secure adequate resources for the network from international donors

It is through the fulfillment of these responsibilities that the GEF-CSO Network will provide the value adding support to the GEF in a spirit of partnership. Further the GEF-CSO network has a repository of best practices on environmental issues to which the SGP can avail itself. Through its successful engagement with GEF over the years, the GEF-CSO Network has demonstrated commitment to support the work of GEF going forward from the bottom up.

The success of these strategies will be contingent on the clear delineation of the strategies of the GEF into which these areas of focus, that will form the thrust of the NGO Network’s work, will operate. There will be a need for the GEF to support by provision of enabling resources these strategies as we partner to achieve the desired global environmental benefits.

 GEF-NGO Proposed Business Model (Aug 2008)

GEF-NGO: The Strategic Map (Aug 2008)




The new GEF reform has triggered the need for a framework to engage effectively with GEF. The GEF-CSO Network is committed to the effective realization of its stated strategic intent as outlined in the foregoing. It is firmly committed to working with the GEF as a value-adding partner in support of the GEF’s purpose of facilitating tangible and demonstrated global environmental benefits. It has the ability, expertise and more importantly the commitment to create the capability, with the continued support of the GEF, to act meaningfully in articulating its mandate and therefore play the critical role in bridging and cementing the links between international civil society and the GEF, from the ground up in driving success in the strategic focal areas agenda of the GEF.

“Service to the environment is the rent humanity pays
                         for the enjoyment of its existence on earth”

[1] GEF Family is defined as GEF Secretariat, GEF Council, GEF Agencies, Trustees, Political and Operational Focal Points and the GEF-CSO Network



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