Accreditation of GEF Project Agencies

The GEF Council at its June 2012 meeting decided to approve eleven 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 GEF Accreditation Panel. The result of the first round of Stage I applications are presented in the Council document Secretariat Recommendations of Project Agencies for Accreditation dated May 8, 2012.

Stage II reviews of these applications began in June 2012. A Progress Report dated October 16, 2012 was presented to the GEF Council at its November 2012 meeting. 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 refer to the Joint Summary of the Chairs 

At its 44th meeting in June 2013, the GEF 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, refer to the Joint Summary of the Chairs of this meeting. At this meeting, GEFSEC presented to the Council a Progress Report on the Accreditation Process and the Accreditation Panel made a Technical Presentation on the Stage II Review Process, explaining the methodology and the steps involved in assessing the applicant agencies.


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 within the GEF and to give recipient countries greater choice in terms of agencies with which they work. Accreditation of national agencies as GEF Project Agencies will also allow them to enhance their capacity in terms of 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 agencies will be eligible for accreditation under rules for the GEF-5 pilot, as agreed by the GEF Council:

  • National institutions
  • Regional organizations
  • Civil society organizations/non-governmental organizations
  • United Nations specialized agencies and programs and
  • Other international organizations.

The Council decided that bilateral agencies will not be eligible for accreditation but that the Council will consider their participation in the pilot at its first meeting in 2013.

GEF-5 Pilot on Accrediting GEF Project Agencies

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 terms of accreditation, until at least five applicant national institutions have been approved by the GEF Council (which will enable them to move forward for review by the GEF Accreditation Panel, or Stage 2 of the Accreditation Procedure), the GEF 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.

How to apply

The GEF Council decided that it will review applications for accreditation at the Spring 2012 and Fall 2012 Council meetings only. Interested applicants will need to submit complete Stage 1 Applications to the GEF secretariat according to the following schedule.

  • For Spring 2012: Applications must be submitted by December 31, 2011.
  • For Fall 2012: Applications must be submitted by June 30, 2012.

A Stage 1 Application consists of the following four elements:

  1. A cover letter addressed to the GEF CEO from the chief executive officer of the applicant conveying required application materials listed below.
  2. 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.
  3. Required supporting documents that provide evidence for the answers provided in the Stage 1 Application Form (as described in the Preparation Guidelines).
  4. 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.

All documents shall be sent via email to accreditation@thegef.org.

For further information, please contact Yasemin Biro ybiro@thegef.org.

If approved by Council, applicants will be able to move forward to Stage 2 of the Accreditation Procedure - the GEF Accreditation Panel Review. Applicants will need to pay an accreditation fee of $25,000 prior to commencement of Stage 2. This fee will not be refunded, even if the applicant fails to be accredited.


A Stage 2 Application can be found below:

  1. Stage 2 Application Form Template for Accreditation as a GEF Project Agency

Background Documents

GEF Focal Points and entities wishing to pursue accreditation should read the following background documents: