The GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP), implemented by the UNDP, provides financial and technical support to communities and CSOs to meet the overall objective of “global environmental benefits secured through community-based initiatives and actions”.
SGP funds “small grants” up to a maximum of US$50,000. In practice, the average grant is US$20,000 to US$25,000. In addition, a “strategic projects” provides funds up to a maximum of US$150,000. These “larger” small projects allow for scaling up and cover a large number of communities within a critical landscape or seascape.
Launched in 1992, with 33 participating countries in the Pilot Phase, the GEF SGP has expanded to provide assistance to 132 countries. We believe that community-driven and civil society-led initiatives can generate environmental benefits, while supporting sustainable livelihoods and local empowerment. This is one of the most effective ways to address global environmental challenges.
Although GEF SGP funding is modest, it enables communities to take measured risks. A poor and vulnerable community, for example, can use a small grant to develop capacity for a larger project. Once a community has proven the effectiveness of an innovative idea or strategy on the ground, it can often scale up impact through networking with other communities and partner organizations. These results, in turn, usually attract additional donors and government support for wider application.