Organization

The GEF has a unique governing structure organized around an Assembly, the Council, the Secretariat, 18 Agencies, a Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) and the Evaluation Office. It serves as a financial mechanism for several environmental conventions.

The GEF Assembly is composed of all 183 member countries, or Participants. It meets every three to four years at the ministerial level to review general policies; review and evaluate the GEF’s operation based on reports submitted to Council; review the membership of the Facility; and consider, for approval by consensus, amendments to the Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured Global Environment Facility on the basis of recommendations by the Council.

The Council, the GEF's main governing body, comprises 32 Members appointed by constituencies of GEF member countries (14 from developed countries, 16 from developing countries and 2 from economies in transition). Council Members rotate every three years or until the constituency appoints a new Member. The Council, which meets twice annually, develops, adopts and evaluates the operational policies and programs for GEF-financed activities. It also reviews and approves the work program (projects submitted for approval), making decisions by consensus.

The Secretariat, which coordinates overall implementation of GEF activities, is led by a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)-Chairperson, who is appointed for a four-year term by the Council (renewable for one additional term). The Secretariat implements decisions of the Assembly and the Council. Among other responsibilities, it coordinates and oversees programs; ensures policies are implemented in consultation with the GEF Agencies; chairs interagency group meetings to ensure effective collaboration among the GEF Agencies; coordinates with Secretariats of the Conventions, among others.

The Independent Evaluation Office reports directly to the Council. It is headed by a Director, appointed by the Council, who coordinates a team of specialized evaluators. It works with the Secretariat and the GEF Agencies to share lessons learned and best practices. The Office undertakes independent evaluations of GEF impact and effectiveness. These are typically on focal areas, institutional issues or cross-cutting themes.

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) provides the GEF with scientific and technical advice on policies, operational strategies, programs and projects. The Panel consists of six members, who are internationally recognized experts in the GEF’s key areas of work. They are supported by a global network of experts and institutions. In addition, the STAP interacts with other relevant scientific and technical bodies, particularly with the subsidiary bodies of the CBD, the UNFCCC, the UNCCD and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which hosts the STAP Secretariat, acts as its liaison with the GEF.

The GEF Agencies are the operational arm of the GEF. They work closely with project proponents — government agencies, civil society organizations and other stakeholders — to design, develop and implement GEF-funded projects and programs.

The World Bank serves as the GEF Trustee, administering the GEF Trust Fund (contributions by donors). Among its responsibilities, it helps mobilize resources for the Trust Fund; disburses funds to GEF Agencies; prepares financial reports on investments and use of resources; and monitors application of budgetary and project funds.

The GEF provides funding to assist developing countries in meeting the objectives of international environmental conventions. The GEF serves as "financial mechanism" to five conventions, which are Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and Minamata Convention on Mercury. 

The conventions, for which the GEF serve as financial mechanism, provide broad strategic guidance to the GEF. The GEF Council converts this broad guidance into operational criteria (guidelines) for GEF projects. Read more

The Instrument refers to GEF member countries as Participants and they include both donors and recipient countries.

Each of the GEF member countries has designated government officials responsible for GEF activities and they serve as the liaison with the Secretariat and the GEF Agencies.

There are two types of GEF Focal Points: political and operational. All of the GEF member countries have Political Focal Points, while only recipient countries eligible for GEF support have Operational Focal Points.

GEF Political Focal Points focus mainly on governance, including policies and decisions, and relations between member countries within their constituencies. Usually, they are the ones who follow the Council discussions and represent their countries at the Assembly.

GEF Operational Focal Points are responsible for operations of GEF activities within their countries. This includes reviewing and endorsing project proposals to ensure

The Commissioner works directly with member countries, GEF Agencies and affected stakeholders to help resolve disputes and address complaints and other issues relevant to GEF operations. Through the Commissioner, the CEO aims to expand feedback and respond more quickly to issues and concerns that may arise in GEF-funded projects.The Commissioner reports directly to the CEO. Read more