Project types and Programmatic Approach

Latest Update Jan.30, 2013


GEF provides grants to various types of projects ranging from several thousand dollars to several million dollars. These are Full-Sized projects, Medium-Sized Projects, Programmatic Approaches and Enabling Activities, and are defined below.

Full-Sized (FSPs) and Medium-Sized Projects (MSPs)

FSPs - Over $2 million - Project concepts may be developed by governments, non-governmental organizations, communities, the private sector, or other civil society entities, and must respond to both national priorities and GEF focal area /LDCF/SCCF strategies and objectives, and must satisfy eligibility requirements under the Conventions. Project proponents work closely with national GEF Operational Focal Points (who formally endorse project concepts) and the GEF Agency, to develop concepts and move through the project cycle. FSPs are subject to [link;node/1736 text=project review criteria;] and are approved by the GEF Council.

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 and follow expedited procedures for their approval. Funding such projects increases GEF flexibility in allocating its resources and encourages a wide range of stakeholders to propose and develop project concepts. MSPs are limited to a maximum of $2 million in GEF, SCCF and LDCF funds. Their approval is delegated by the Council to the CEO, and it is subject to Project Review Criteria , similar to FSPs. Following CEO approval, the project document will be approved by the Agency following its own procedures, followed by the start of project implementation.

Enabling Activities (EAs)

The GEF finances Enabling Activities related to the conventions on biodiversity, climate change, and persistent organic pollutants, to help countries prepare national inventories, strategies, action plans, and reports under these conventions (see Operational Guidance for Enabling Activities for operational guidance). They represent a basic building block of GEF assistance to countries. For additional guidance on the threshold limits guiding the processing of EAs, please refer to the note “Processing of Enabling Activities”. EAs that go beyond the threshold are considered non-expedited, and follow the procedures for processing full-sized projects. 

Programmatic Approach (PA)

Programmatic Approaches represent a partnership between country/ies, the GEF and other interested stakeholders, such as the private sector, donors and/or the scientific community. This approach secures larger-scale and sustainable impact on the global environment, than a single FSP or MSP, through integrating global environmental objectives into national or regional strategies and plans using partnerships.

 A program usually contains several projects that are linked through common objective/s of the program aimed to foster increased horizontal and vertical integration of global environmental issues into the country(ies) development agenda.

The project cycle paper submitted to Council in June 2010 outlined two approaches proposed for refining the programmatic approaches.

The first type of approach largely adopts the current programmatic approach processing methodology From Projects to Programs: Clarifying the Programmatic Approach in the GEF Portfolio with minor modifications to introduce budget (in case of multi-agency programs) for the Program Coordination Agency.

The second type of approach, proposed for GEF Agencies that meet criteria for a delegation of authority to approve projects as outlined in Annex 1 [link:node 3225]

Refer to corresponding Joint Summaries for additional information on Council decisions in the respective meetings C38/Joint Summary of the ChairsC33/Joint Summary of the Chairs:.

Climate Change Adaptation Projects

Projects that fall under the area of Adaptation of the Climate Change focal area can apply for funds available:

  1. Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF)
  2. Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) 
  3. Adaptation Fund

Small Grants Programme (SGP)

Up to $ 50,000 - Funded by GEF as a corporate programme, SGP is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on behalf of the GEF partnership, and is executed by the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS). The SGP supports non-governmental and community organizations, providing small grants for community-based projects in the GEF focal areas.

With presence in 126 developing countries and having provided more than 14,500 grants worldwide by 2012, GEF SGP’s cumulative experience and results have demonstrated that supporting communities in their efforts to achieve more sustainable livelihoods is not only possible, but necessary for achieving global environmental benefits. To know more about SGP and how potential grantees can apply for a grant, visit the SGP page.