GEF Agencies are responsible for creating project proposals and for managing GEF projects. The GEF Agencies play a key role in managing GEF projects on the ground; more specifically, GEF Agencies assist eligible governments and NGOs in the development, implementation, and management of GEF projects.
Through collaboration with these Agencies, the GEF project portfolio has quickly grown and diversified serving the developing world, Eastern Europe, and the Russian Federation. Moreover, such partnership reinforces the individual agency's efforts to mainstream or incorporate global environment concerns into the agency's internal policies, programs and projects.
GEF Agencies are requested to focus their involvement in GEF project activities within their respective comparative advantages. In specific cases of integrated projects that include components where the expertise and experience of a GEF Agency is lacking or weak, the Agency is invited to partner with another agency and to establish clear complementary roles so that all aspects of the project can be well managed (GEF Instrument, Paragraph 28).
The list below describes the GEF Agencies that currently operating and their comparative advantage:
- Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s comparative advantage for the GEF includes investment projects at the country and multi-country level in Asia as well as the ability to incorporate capacity building and technical assistance into its projects. The ADB has strong experience in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy, adaptation to climate change and natural resources management including water and sustainable land management.
- African Development Bank (AFDB)'s comparative advantage for the GEF lies in its capacity as a regional development bank. The AFDB is, however, in the initial stages of tackling global environmental issues. Its environmental policy has only recently been approved and is in the process of being integrated into operations. The AFDB will focus on establishing a track record for environmental projects related to the GEF focal areas of Climate Change (adaptation, renewable energy and energy efficiency), Land Degradation (deforestation, desertification) and International Waters (water management and fisheries).
- Conservation International (CI) CI works globally with governments and engages with all sectors of society to achieve the ultimate goal of improved human well-being, particularly focusing on the essential services that nature provides. As a GEF Project Agency, they leverage their science, experience in innovative finance and community-based solutions as well as their network of corporate, multilateral, civil society, national and local government partnerships to implement effective and innovative programs in the focal areas of Biodiversity, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Land Degradation and International Waters.
- Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) provides sustainable infrastructure project preparation, finance and implementation support in selected African markets to improve the quality of life of people, accelerating the sustainable reduction of poverty and inequity and promoting broad-based economic growth and regional economic integration. The primary sectors of focus to the DBSA are water, energy, ICT and transport. The DBSA offers secondary services at the local leve, in the health, education and housing sectors.
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)'s comparative advantage for the GEF lies in its experience and track record in market creation and transformation; and ensuring sustainability through private sector (including small and medium-sized enterprises) and municipal environmental infrastructure projects at the country and regional level in the countries of eastern and central Europe and central Asia, particularly in the fields of energy efficiency, mainstreaming of biodiversity and water management.
- Food and Agriculture Organizaton of the United Nations (FAO)'s comparative advantage for the GEF is its technical capacity and experience in fisheries, forestry, agriculture, and natural resources management. The FAO has strong experience in sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity, bioenergy, biosafety, sustainable development in production landscapes, and integrated pest and pesticides management.
- Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)'s comparative advantage for the GEF includes investment projects at the country and regional level in Latin America and the Caribbean. IDB finances operations related to the following GEF focal areas: Biodiversity (protected areas, marine resources, forestry biotechnology), Climate Change (including biofuels), International Waters (watershed management), Land Degradation (erosion control), and POPs (pest management).
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s comparative advantage for the GEF lies in its work related to land degradation, rural sustainable development, integrated land management, and its role in the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. IFAD has been working intensively in marginal lands, degraded ecosystems and in post-conflict situations.
- International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) centers its work, at the global and local levels, on the conservation of biodiversity as a means to addressing some of the world's greatest challenges such as climate change, sustainable deveopment and food security.
- United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s comparative advantage for the GEF lies in its global network of country offices, its experience in integrated policy development, human resources development, institutional strengthening, and non-governmental and community participation. UNDP assists countries in promoting, designing and implementing activities consistent with both the GEF mandate and national sustainable development plans. UNDP also has extensive inter-country programming experience.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s comparative advantage for the GEF is related to its being the only United Nations organization with a mandate derived from the General Assembly to coordinate the work of the United Nations in the area of environment for which the core business is the field of environment. UNEP’s comparative strength is in providing the GEF with a range of relevant experiences, proof of concept, testing of ideas, and the best available science and knowledge upon which it can base its investments. It also serves as the Secretariat to three of the MEAs, for which GEF is the/a financial mechanism. UNEP’s comparative advantage also includes its ability to serve as a broker in multi-stakeholder consultations.
- United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)’s comparative advantage for the GEF is that it can involve the industrial sector in GEF projects in the following areas: industrial energy efficiency, renewable energy services, water management, chemicals management (including POP and ODS), and biotechnology. UNIDO also has extensive knowledge of small and medium enterprises (SME’s) in developing and transition economy countries.
- The World Bank’s comparative advantage for the GEF is as a leading international financial institution at the global scale in a number of sectors, similar to the comparative advantage of the regional development banks. The World Bank has strong experience in investment lending focusing on institution building, infrastructure development and policy reform across all the focal areas of the GEF.
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US) At the first United Nations Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, WWF was an active participant in the international negotiations to establish the GEF. WWF has since been a ceaseless supporter of its policies and operations, participating in the design or execution of more than 100 GEF programs and projects. A new milestone in this partnership was reached when the GEF Council welcomed WWF as a GEF Project Agency. As a leading international conservation organization, WWF has significant expertise in financing action for environmental management. Our strong, active relationships with national and local governments, combined with our deep roots in the civil society of the places we work, give WWF the knowledge necessary to tailor projects to countries’ specific needs.