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Types of Projects

The GEF provides financing to various types of projects ranging from several thousands to several million dollars from the GEF Trust Fund (GEFTF), Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) and Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF).

There are four types of projects: full-sized projects, medium-sized projects, enabling activities and programmatic approaches, briefly described below. Additional details in the review and approval of these projects can be found under the policies and guidelines on the Project Cycle and under Templates and Guidelines.

Full-sized Projects (FSPs) - More than US$2 million

The GEF provides funding for FSPs only to governments. Governments then decide on the executing agency (e.g. civil society organizations, private sector companies, research institutions). The GEF Council approves FSP concepts, which are then fully developed over 18 months. The GEF CEO endorses the fully developed FSP for subsequent approval by the GEF Partner Agency to start project implementation.

Medium-sized Projects (MSPs) - Up to US$2 million

MSPs offer opportunities for a broad range of programming that is typically smaller in scale than full-sized projects. The approval process is simpler, allowing them to be designed and executed more quickly and efficiently. These projects increase the GEF’s flexibility in allocating its resources: a wide range of stakeholders can propose and develop project concepts. The GEF Council delegates approval of MSPs to the GEF CEO. Following CEO approval, the GEF Partner Agency approves the MSP to start project implementation.

Enabling Activities (EAs) - Up to $1 million

EAs represent a basic building block of GEF assistance to countries. EAs are means of fulfilling essential reports to conventions. They provide a basic level of information to enable policy and strategic decisions, or help identify priority activities within a country. The GEF Council delegates approval of EAs to the GEF CEO. Either the country or the GEF Agency can access funds directly. EAs that go beyond their funding threshold are considered non-expedited, and would then follow the procedures for processing full-sized projects. 

Direct Access for NPFEs and Covention Reports

The GEF provides resources directly to the countries for the National Portfolio Formulation Exercises (NPFEs) and the drafting of the Convention Reports that are undertaken as obligations of the countries to the conventions. The two initiatives are both on a voluntary basis, and countries can opt to access GEF resources directly from the GEF Secretariat, or, in the case of the Convention Reports, they can opt to use the existing procedures for accessing GEF resources through a GEF Agency:

  1. National Portfolio Formulation Exercises (NPFE)
  2. Direct Access for Enabling Activities to prepare Convention Reports

Programmatic Approaches (PAs)

Programs are a strategic combination of FSPs and MSPs with a common focus to build upon or complement one another. In this way, they can produce results not possible through a single project. Programs maximize the impact of GEF resources by securing a larger scale and sustained impact on the global environment. They do this by implementing medium- to long-term strategies for achieving specific global environmental objectives consistent with the national or regional strategies and plans of recipient countries. There are two types of programs that may be implemented under the programmatic approach modality: thematic programs and geographical programs (country or regional).