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  GEF-CSO Consultation Meeting during 51st GEF Council Meeting

(prepared by IISD with input from GEF-CSO Network; Photos by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon)


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council consultation meeting with civil society organizations (CSOs) took place on Monday, 24 October 2016, at World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC, US. The event gathered approximately 100 participants and include an one hour dialogue between civil society and the GEF CEO and panel sessions to discuss the GEF Public Involvement Policy, GEF-CSO Network and the visions for GEF 7 . The day-long CSO Consultation took place immediately before the 51st meeting of the GEF Council, which will convene at the same venue from 25-27 October 2016. Click here for the agenda.

Session 1: CSO Dialogue with GEF CEO and Chairperson


Essam Nada, GEF-CSO Network, opened the Consultation, noting recent changes in the Network, its current lack of financial resources and its engagement in the update of the GEF Public Involvement Policy (PIP). Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, highlighted two challenges facing the GEF in the coming months: helping countries integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement on climate change into more holistic national development plans; and catalyzing transformational change in key economic and social systems, such as energy, transport and cities. She also urged discussing with CSOs their role in GEF-7.

In response to questions from CSOs, Ishii: stressed the importance of bringing ministers together at the national level to work on GEF projects; addressed concerns about the GEF providing sufficient funding to the Small Grants Program (SGP); and noted that as the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is now up and running, the GEF can play a bigger role in developing pilots that the GCF can scale up.

Session 2: Strengthening CSO Engagement in GEF: Policies and Guidelines in Practice

This session included a panel discussion on the output and recommendations from the working group on the GEF PIP, co-moderated by Victor Kawanga, GEF-CSO Network, and Simone Lovera-Bilderbeek, Global Forest Coalition.

Bruce Jenkins, consultant, outlined the main recommendations of the PIP review, including: applying stakeholder engagement requirements to all GEF projects; requiring stakeholder engagement plans; facilitating and strengthening access to GEF project information; and developing a plan to revise the PIP.  (click here to view the presentation)

Lucy Mulenkei, Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group (IPAG), emphasized that the IPAG’s priority for the PIP is the identification of indigenous peoples as a separate group with rights. (click here to view the presentation)

Stefan Marco Schwager, Switzerland, noted that further information is needed to know whether relevant PIP guidelines also require updating. Tanyaradzwa Mundoga, Zimbabwe, said CSOs need to be reengineered to address representation and funding issues.

Geeta Batra, Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), urged that the updated PIP take into consideration IEO recommendations on gender and indigenous peoples.

Dominique Kayser, World Bank, outlined the Bank’s efforts to strengthen engagement with citizens for improved results. (click here to view the presentation)

Jean-Yves Pirot, IUCN, said the PIP should be more prescriptive and contain clear procedural guidance for the involvement of stakeholders. (click here to view the presentation)

Essam Nada, GEF-CSO Network, emphasized acceptance of the PIP by the entire GEF community.

In the ensuing discussion, participants addressed, inter alia: the need to empower local groups to directly manage and implement projects; adequate involvement of indigenous peoples; lack of tracking of meaningful public involvement; possible stakeholder participation in project steering committees; processes to ensure real-time stakeholder monitoring of project development; and the possible role of whistle blowers in project implementation.


Session 3: GEF-CSO Network and Vision of CSOs Role in GEF

On how the GEF can better facilitate the work of the Network, the groups highlighted that the work of the GEF-CSO Network should be a regular agenda item at GEF Council meetings, and that a GEF financial mechanism is needed to guarantee the overhead of the Network, for instance through designating a percentage of medium- and full-size GEF projects to CSOs.





Session 4: CSOs' Vision for GEF-7

This session was co-moderated by Robert Bakiika, EMLI, Uganda, and Priscilla Achakpa, RFP West Africa, GEF-CSO Network.


Ralph Sims, Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), presented on the status of the GEF-6 focal area strategies and emerging issues STAP is considering, including: black carbon; building resilience to climate change; security of food, energy and water supplies; urbanization; environmental security; and ocean governance. (click here to view the presentation)

Andrew Deutz, The Nature Conservancy, US, discussed possible biodiversity priorities for GEF-7, including: mainstreaming "nature’s solutions" to climate change mitigation and adaptation; greening gray infrastructure; growing green infrastructure; and addressing direct drivers such as freshwater biodiversity and wildlife trafficking. (click here to view the presentation)

Fiu Mutaese Elisara, Ole Siosiomaga Society, Inc. (OLSSI), Samoa, reflected on possible climate change priorities for GEF-7, including linkages with the SDGs, vulnerability indices for small island developing States (SIDS), the impact of trade agreements on the environment, and climate justice.

Bertrand Bhikarry, Environment Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago, discussed ideas for new GEF work on international waters, such as a global education program on the importance of oceans and a singular repository for all water-related data. (click here to view the presentation)

Bakiika called for GEF-7 to consider ways the GEF can leverage funds into the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund now under development by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

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