What We Do
Since its inception, the GEF has supported capacity development at all levels within regular programs and projects. In 1999, in response to demand from developing countries, we also began helping recipients build capacity to meet their commitments under the Rio Conventions and MEAs.
Through National Capacity Self-Assessments (NCSAs), countries can understand their weaknesses and develop strategic approaches to address any gaps. Some common needs for capacity development include public awareness and education; information management and sharing; policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks; organizational mandates and structures; and economic and financial sustainability. By the end of GEF-5 (2010-2014), the GEF had funded NCSA projects in 153 countries, most of which had been completed. Read more+
Our strategy for NCAs in GEF-6 (2014-2018) builds on our experiences and lessons learned. We continue to build capacity in individual focal areas, but also look for ways to build synergies between the Rio Conventions and other MEAs.
In particular, we emphasize projects that allow countries to take a whole-of-government approach. This enables key departments such as finance, agriculture, industry, energy and planning to integrate global environmental concerns into their work. We also expect these national-level stakeholders to engage coherently with local stakeholders, including women.
Ultimately, we want projects to mainstream MEAs into the national and subnational policy, legal and planning agenda. But more than that, we want environmental sustainability to be integrated across key development sectors and across various actors, including government, civil society and the private sector.
Our program targets five objectives:
- Integrate global environmental needs into management information systems
- Strengthen consultative and management structures and mechanism
- Integrate MEAs within national policy, legislative and regulatory frameworks
- Pilot innovative and financial tools
- Update NCSAs
In 2013, the GEF assessed the impact of its support for cross-cutting capacity development in 23 medium-sized projects (known as the CB2 portfolio). These projects had sought to address recommendations from their NCSAs. Their success or failure, then, would reflect on the value of the NCSAs themselves. Evidence suggests that the CB2 portfolio has been very relevant to address capacity gaps of GEF recipient countries identified in their NCSAs. The projects were also judged to be highly relevant for implementation of MEAs. Read more+
The Belize project sought to create synergies among natural resource and environmental policies to support national implementation of the three Rio Conventions. The GEF’s 2013 evaluation found the project helped the government develop its capacity to coordinate and mainstream Rio Convention activities into national processes. Among other results, it strengthened the Policy Coordination and Policy Unit, allowing it to become a single point of entry for convention-related activities. Results of the project were also used to form an integrated water resource authority.