In May 2011, under the provisions of paragraph 28 of the GEF Instrument, the GEF Council decided to broaden its partnerships by approving the policies, procedures, and criteria for a pilot on accrediting new institutions to serve as GEF Partners for the implementation of GEF projects. The expansion of the GEF Partnership aims at enhancing country ownership in the GEF operations and to give recipient countries greater choice in terms of agencies with which they work. Accreditation of national agencies will allow recipient countries to enhance their capacity in the GEF project implementation.
The new agencies to be accredited under this reform will be referred to as GEF Project Agencies. Upon accreditation, GEF Project Agencies will be entitled to work directly with the GEF Secretariat and Trustee to assist recipient countries in the preparation and implementation of GEF-financed projects, which will enable them to access resources from GEF-managed trust funds directly.
The following types of entities will be eligible for accreditation under rules for the GEF-5 pilot, as agreed by the Council:
- National institutions
- Regional organizations
- Civil society organizations/non-governmental organizations
- United Nations specialized agencies and programs
- Other international organizations.
Under the GEF-5 pilot, the GEF will be able to accredit up to ten (10) institutions to serve as GEF Project Agencies, with the goal of accrediting at least five national institutions. To ensure that applications from national institutions have priority in the accreditation process, until at least five applicant national institutions have been approved by the GEF Council (which will enable them to move forward to Stage II of the accreditation procedure - review by the GEF Accreditation Panel), the Secretariat will only review applications from national institutions, regional organizations, and civil society organizations/non-governmental organizations.
The GEF secretariat will not review applications from other types of organizations until that time. To be accredited as a GEF Project Agency, applicants will need to be able to document to the GEF Accreditation Panel that they can fully meet all of the GEF Fiduciary Standards without exception.
The Accreditation Pilot began in January 2012, after 16 agencies submitted Stage I applications to the GEF Secretariat by December 31, 2011, the deadline announced by the GEF Council for the first round.
The GEF Secretariat conducted Stage I Value-added reviews of these 16 applicants and the results were presented to the Council in the document Secretariat Recommendations of Project Agencies for Accreditation dated May 8, 2012.
The Council, at its 42nd meeting in June 2012, decided to approve 11 agencies to progress onto Stage II of the accreditation process and invited them to submit their Stage II applications to the GEF Secretariat for review by the independent GEF Accreditation Panel with regards to compliance with the GEF's minimum fiduciary and environmental and social safeguards standards, including gender mainstreaming. For more details on the Council decision, please refer to the Joint Summary of the Chairs.
Stage II reviews of these 11 applications began in June 2012. A Progress Report dated October 16, 2012 was presented to the Council at its 43rd meeting in November 2012. The Council further decided to postpone the consideration of a next round of accreditation until its June 2013 meeting. For more details on the Council decision, please refer to the Joint Summary of the Chairs.
At its 44th meeting in June 2013, the Council agreed to consider new applications only after the Accreditation Panel has completed the review of the current 11 first round applicants. For more details on this decision, please refer to the Joint Summary of the Chairs of this meeting. At this meeting, the Secretariat presented to the Council a Progress Report on the Accreditation Process and the independent GEF Accreditation Panel made a Technical Presentation on the Stage II Review Process, explaining the methodology and the steps involved in assessing the applicant agencies.
At its 45th meeting in November 2013, the GEF Council welcomed World Wildlife Fund, Inc. (WWF-US) and Conservation International (CI) to the GEF partnership as new GEF Project Agencies. For more details, refer to the Joint Summary of the Chairs of this meeting. At this meeting, the Secretariat presented to the Council a Progress Report on the Accreditation Process.
In May 2014, as presented to the GEF Council at its 46th meeting, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) received approval from the Accreditation Panel to progress to Stage III of the accreditation process, the final stage which involves signing of formal agreements. For more details, please refer to the Progress Report on the Pilot Accreditation of GEF Project Agencies and the Joint Summary of the Chairs.
At its 47th meeting In October 2014, the GEF Council welcomed the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA)and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to the GEF partnership as GEF Project Agencies; and the Council was informed that Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade (FUNBIO) was approved by the Accreditation Panel to progress from Stage II to Stage III. The Council also decided that the GEF Independent Evaluation Office would initiate an evaluation of the GEF accreditation process. For more details, refer to the Progress Report on the Pilot Accreditation of GEF Project Agencies & Timeline for Further Discussion of Accreditationand the Joint Summary of Chairs of this meeting.
At its 48th meeting in June 2015, the GEF Council welcomed Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade (FUNBIO) to the GEF partnership as a GEF Project Agency; and the Council was informed that Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Foreign Economic Cooperation Office, Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (FECO)and Banque Quest Africaine de Développement (BOAD) received approval from the Accreditation Panel to progress to Stage III and were in the process of drafting MOUs. For more details, please refer to the Progress Report on the Pilot Accreditation of GEF Project Agencies and the Joint Summary of Chairs of this meeting. The Council was also presented with the Evaluation of the Accreditation Process for Expansion of the GEF Partnership prepared by the GEF Independent Evaluation Office and the GEF Management Response to the evaluation report.
The Application Process
The first Stage of the application process consisted in presenting the following documents:
- A cover letter addressed to the GEF CEO from the chief executive officer of the applicant conveying required application materials listed below.
- A completed Agency Accreditation: Stage 1 Application Form Template , filled out according to the instructions contained in the Agency Accreditation: Preparation Guidelines for Stage 1 Application Form for Accreditation as a GEF Project Agency.
- Required supporting documents that provide evidence for the answers provided in the Stage I Application Form (as described in the Preparation Guidelines).
- A completed and signed GEF country Operational Focal Point Support Letter for GEF Project Agency Applications. This letter must include, as an attachment, the Project Idea Summary Note, as agreed between the applicant and the GEF country Operational Focal Point. The country Operational Focal Point and applicant should use the Preparation Guidelines for Operational Focal Point Support Letter for GEF Project Agency Applications.
If approved by Council, applicants moved forward to Stage II of the Accreditation Procedure - the GEF Accreditation Panel Review.
GEF Focal Points and entities wishing to pursue accreditation should read the following background documents:
- Broadening the GEF Partnership under Paragraph 28 of the GEF Instrument, GEF/C.40/09
- GEF Policy on Agency Minimum Standards on Environmental and Social Safeguards, GEF/C.40/10/Rev.1
- Procedure: Accreditation of GEF Project Agencies
- GEF Minimum Fiduciary Standards (GEF Policy)
- GEF Minimum Fiduciary Standards: Separation of Implementation and Execution Functions in GEF Partner Agencies
- GEF Policy on Gender Mainstreaming
- GEF Instrument
- Glossary of Terms and Descriptions Relating to the Accreditation of GEF Project Agencies
- Accreditation Brochure