DateDecember 16-19, 2019
Preston Auditorium

The Council, the GEF's main governing body, comprises 32 members appointed by constituencies of GEF member countries (14 from developed countries, 16 from developing countries and 2 from economies in transition). Council members rotate every three years or until the constituency appoints a new member. The Council, which meets twice annually, develops, adopts and evaluates the operational policies and programs for GEF-financed activities. It also reviews and approves the work program (projects submitted for approval), making decisions by consensus.

IISD Daily Summaries

Council Members selected the topics for discussion during the next GEF Council Consultations with civil society: “The Application of Traditional Knowledge by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, Stewards of the Global Environment," to be discussed at the 58th meeting of the Council in June 2020, and “Enhancing Climate Resilience and the Role of Civil Society, Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples,” to be discussed at the 59th meeting of the Council in December 2020.

GEF Council Members also convened as the 27th meeting of the Council of the LDCF/SCCF, and adopted an LDCF Work Program comprising nine projects, with resources amounting to $59.95 million for the LDCF, including project grants and Agency fees.

During a pledging session for the LDCF, Dirk Wouters, Belgian Ambassador to the US, announced his country’s pledge of EUR 15 million to the Fund for new projects. Council Members from Sweden, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany reaffirmed their governments’ pledges made earlier in 2019.

Visit IISD Reporting Services for more event coverage and photos from December 19

On Wednesday morning the GEF Secretariat presented the Work Program, amounting to $588.5 million, including two Impact Programs on sustainable cities and on food systems, land use and restoration, as well as the first three Non-Grant Instruments and the first dedicated GEF-funded initiative that will focus entirely on indigenous peoples. The Secretariat noted that the Work Program will almost fully achieve GEF-7 targets regarding marine protected areas and land restoration and will contribute substantially to meeting targets regarding emissions of greenhouse gases and persistent organic pollutants.

After seeking a number of clarifications and offering comments about specific elements and projects, Council Members approved the Work Program, which will benefit 87 recipient countries, including 25 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and 24 small island developing States (SIDS).

Visit IISD Reporting Services for more event coverage and photos from December 18

Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, opened the 57th meeting of the GEF Council, highlighting the GEF’s role in “navigating” the needed “massive, unprecedented” systems change, underpinned by scientific findings and economic benefits. Warning about the “huge costs of inaction,” she called for a multi-stakeholder coalition of national and subnational governments, businesses and citizens to transform the energy, food and city systems. She also suggested using “super year 2020” to set a nature target, similar to the 1.5°C climate goal, and identifying ways to achieve it.

Visit IISD Reporting Services for more event coverage and photos from December 17

The GEF Council Consultation with Civil Society Organizations is organized in collaboration with the GEF-CSO Network, the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group (IPAG), and the GEF-funded Global Wildlife Program (GWP) led by the World Bank.

This year's consultations featured a CSO dialogue with GEF CEO and chairperson Naoko Ishii, and discussions on how the GEF's proposed Private Sector Engagement Strategy can enable deeper engagement within the GEF architecture. Stakeholders also engaged in multiple discussions and roundtables on the critical role of civil society in combating illegal wildlife trade, including rural communities and indigenous peoples, to identify and support solutions along the value chain – from supply to trafficking to demand.

Visit IISD Reporting Services for more event coverage and photos from December 16

Side Event

Multilateral Environmental Agreements Dialogue


On December 16, 2019, at the margins of the 57nd GEF Council, the GEF held the Fifth Informal Dialogue with Secretariats of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). The dialogue was chaired by Ms. Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, and attended by the following representatives from the MEA Secretariats:

  • Ms. Elizabeth Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • Ms. Rossana Silva-Repetto, Executive Secretary, Minamata Convention on Mercury
  • Mr. Franck Moser, Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm (via video)

Mr. Basile van Havre, co-chair of the Open-ended Intersessional Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework also participated in the panel discussion. Other participants included various GEF Council Members and country representatives, as well as representatives from the GEF Secretariat and GEF Agencies.

The event discussed the “2020 super year”, where institutions stand and what can be done to deliver on its promises. It highlighted the challenges and opportunities of creating a coherent political momentum across MEAs to spur unprecedented collective action to address the climate, biodiversity and sustainable development crises. Stressing that 2020 was an opportunity for all international environmental regimes, it explored ways to improve collaboration and enhance synergies across conventions and to deliver on a new deal for nature and people.

Good Practice Briefs

The Good Practice Briefs were produced by the GEF Secretariat in collaboration with relevant GEF Agencies. Shared at the 57th Council meeting, this pilot series identifies good practice examples from the GEF project portfolio, in line with key GEF2020 strategic priorities and GEF-7 programming directions and policy recommendations.

Number Title Document Summary Documents
GEF/C.57/Highlights Highlights
GEF/C.57/JointSummary Joint Summary of the Chairs
IEO Information Documents
Number Title Document Summary Documents
GEF/ME/C.57/inf.01 The IEO Stakeholder Engagement and Knowledge Needs Assessment: Survey Results

Wrapup Video

Full Video Playlist

GEF Live

GEF Live is a partnership between the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank Group’s Connect4Climate global partnership program. The interactive media hub was in session throughout the 57th GEF Council at the World Bank Group HQ in Washington, DC, from December 16-19, 2019. GEF Live is an opportunity for Council participants and invitees to engage in conversation with a global online audience and share ideas and solutions to some of our planet’s most urgent environmental problems.

Through Connect4Climate’s online platforms, GEF Live hosted a series of live-streamed interviews on Facebook and Twitter during the four-day event. The program included GEF’s government partners, agency representatives, civil society leaders, and GEF specialists on climate change, oceans, biodiversity, illegal wildlife trade, and more.

You can follow the event on Twitter by using the hashtag #GEFLive.

Monday, December 16

  • 10:00 - Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, with Noreyana Fernando
  • 10:30 - Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC, with GEF biodiversity specialist Jaime Cavelier
  • 11:00 - Kaddu Sebunya, CEO of Africa Wildlife Foundation, with GEF partnerships coordinator Pilar Barrera

Tuesday, December 17

  • 12:00 - Kevin Rabinovitch, VP of Sustainability at Mars, Incorporated, with Melinda Wood
  • 12:30 - Helen Crowley, Conservation International Fellow, with Melinda Wood
  • 13:00 - Laure Katz, Blue Nature Senior Director and Technical Director for the Ocean Fund, Center for Oceans at Conservation International, with Melinda Wood
  • 13:30 - Lucy Mulenkei, Executive Director of Indigenous Information Network, with the GEF’s Sarah Wyatt
  • 14:00 - Giovanni Reyes, President of the Philippine ICCA Consortium, with the GEF's Sarah Wyatt
  • 14:30 - Elizabeth Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary for the Convention on Biological Diversity, with Melinda Wood

Wednesday, December 18

  • 13:30 - Lauren Gisnas, Senior Advisor at Norad and GEF Council Member for Norway, with Noreyana Fernando
  • 14:00 - Rosina Bierbaum, Head of the GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), with Noreyana Fernando
  • 14:30 - Rossana Silva Repetto, Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, with Noreyana Fernando
  • 14:45 - Julio Inglês Ferreira, Advisor to the Minister of the Environment of Angola, with Noreyana Fernando
  • 15:00 - Carola van Rijnsoever, Director, Inclusive Green Growth and Ambassador, Sustainable Development for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, with Noreyana Fernando

Thursday, December 19

  • 12:00 - Juha I. Uitto, Director, GEF Independent Evaluation Office, with Noreyana Fernando
  • 12:30 - Aloke Barnwal, Lead of GEF Sustainable Cities Impact Program, with Noreyana Fernando
  • 13:30 - Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Director of Programs, with Noreyana Fernando 
  • 14:00 - Francoise Clottes, GEF Director of Strategy and Operations, with Noreyana Fernando