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FAQ on GEF funding of enabling activities for UNCCD reporting


1) What is the purpose of GEF financing for Enabling Activities under the UNCCD?

GEF Financing for Enabling Activities under the UNCCD is an important milestone in funding the Convention implementation.  This is the first time ever the financing is being provided to eligible Parties under this Convention, and this is intended to support Parties in implementing specific activities that help them fulfill obligations under the Convention. Parties at CRIC 9 identified two immediate priorities for Enabling Activities financing:

  • Alignment of national action programs (NAPs) with The Strategy, and
  • Reporting process.


2) What is the maximum amount accessible by each country for Enabling Activity?

An approved ceiling of USD 150,000 per country can be accessed through the Land Degradation Focal Area. This amount is outside individual country allocations under the System for a Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR), and is therefore not an allocation. The ceiling per country is for the entire GEF-5 phase (2010-2014), which means no additional GEF resources will be available for Enabling Activities during this period.  In keeping with GEF principle for financing, the GEF amount is provided on the principle that it is a contribution, and not to cover 100% of the costs needed. A country can choose how to utilize the GEF financing for one or both Enabling Activities priorities depending on its other existing funding opportunities.


3) How can the funds be accessed by eligible countries?

Three modalities have been set up by the GEF for eligible Parties to access the resources for Enabling Activities:

  1. Direct Access through the GEF Secretariat,
  2. Access through a GEF Agency, and
  3. Access through an umbrella project. 

These three modalities are mutually exclusive, which means an eligible country can only use one for the two Enabling Activities priorities. It is up to each country to choose which modality is best suited for its needs, based on the two established priorities: NAP alignment and reporting process.


4) What does the process entail under the different modalities?

  • For the Direct Access modality, the GEF Operational Focal Point (OFP) is responsible for preparing and channeling the proposal to GEF Secretariat. Check out the templates, guidelines, and detailed instructions for this modality.
  • For the “access using the GEF agency modality”, the GEF OFP will work directly with the agency of choice, who will then prepare and submit the proposal through the normal procedure for all GEF projects. The GEF Agency template should be completed by a GEF Agency, and will include a 10% fee added to the total request.
  • For the “umbrella project option”, the GEF OFP only needs to prepare and sign a letter of endorsement to UNEP for the country to be included in the project. UNEP is the Lead Agency for developing the umbrella project, and will be responsible for delivering the reports for the participating countries to fulfill their obligations under the UNCCD. The draft Project Identification Form (PIF) of the UNEP umbrella project and the endorsement letter form has been posted on the UNCCD website. The GEF OFP in countries choosing this modality should send the endorsement letter to:

Attention: Mr. Adamou Bouhari

Task Manager Biodiversity/Land Degradation

UNEP/GEF Coordination Office

PO Box 30552

Nairobi, Kenya



5) Who is responsible for requesting the funds?

The process for applying is different for each modality, but requires full involvement of the GEF OFP.  It is expected that the UNCCD National Focal Point (NFP) will engage directly with the GEF OFP in the country to determine which of the modalities for enabling activities funding is appropriate for their needs.


 6) How long would it take to mobilize funding under the different modalities?

The processing time is different for each of the modalities, and depends entirely on efforts of all entities involved. Regardless of the amount requested, the Direct Access and GEF Agency modalities will require detailed breakdown and justification of all costs based on the templates. This will be carefully reviewed and scrutinized by the GEF Secretariat to ensure that the request and co-financing are consistent and acceptable. Once the project is approved by the GEF CEO, the procedure for disbursement of funds will follow separate procedures that could take weeks or months depending on the country’s own procedures and commitment of the GEF OFP to facilitate the process. For the Direct Access modality, the designated Government Agency must be cleared by the World Bank’s Country Office before the approved funds can be disbursed. For the GEF Agency modality, funds will be disbursed through the Agency that prepared and submitted the request. For the umbrella project disbursement of the USD 50,000 will follow UNEP’s procedure as lead GEF Agency for the project. However, the timing will depend on how quickly 70 countries endorse the project as recipients before it is submitted to the GEF Secretariat for approval.


7) Why should countries choose the umbrella project modality if they can request higher amounts through the other two modalities?

The umbrella project modality is a response to request by some eligible Parties to expedite access to resources for urgent and timely activities related to NAP alignment and reporting process. Parties that require higher amounts than the USD 50,000 made available through this modality are welcome to consider the other two options. Any request submitted with adequate justification as required, will be considered accordingly, and assessed for its merit and financial worthiness.


8) If a country chooses to receive USD 50,000 through the umbrella project, is it possible to request additional funding for enabling activities?

Any country that chooses the umbrella project modality and receives US$ 50,000 for NAP Alignment and Reporting Process cannot request any additional funds through the other modalities.  Any additional request will only be considered based on future UNCCD enabling activity priorities identified during the current fifth GEF replenishment phase (GEF-5).


9) Will there be any other umbrella project proposal during 2012 if more than 70 countries choose this modality?

The umbrella project modality will be available for future enabling activities as long as the number of countries required can be met for the project to be approved.  If the first project is successful, a different set of countries will be considered for a second such project.  The modality will not be available for countries that use either of the other two options to request financing for NAP Alignment and Reporting Process or those countries that have already benefitted from the umbrella project.


10)  Apart from the three modalities, are there any additional channels to apply for GEF funds to support Reporting Process and NAP Alignment?

As long as the country chooses to request GEF financing for enabling activities under the UNCCD, one of the three modalities must be used.


11)  Can a country pre-finance activities for the 2012 reporting and/or NAP alignment and be reimbursed afterwards?

The GEF will not reimburse for any activity that is pre-financed.


12)  Is there any deadline for applying to one of the three options for enabling activities funding? Do the funds set aside have an expiry date?

GEF Secretariat considers all requests for enabling activity financing on a rolling basis.  However, the umbrella project will be processed as soon as 70 countries have signed on as recipients of the USD 50,000.



Additional information can be obtained from:

For all GEF financing under the Land Degradation Focal Area: Mr. Mohamed Bakarr, Senior Environmental Specialist, GEF Secretariat, e-mail:, Tel: +1 202 458 8890

For all questions related to UNCCD advice on reporting: Ms. Anja Thust, Programme Officer, FCMI Unit, UNCCD Secretariat, e-mail:, Tel: +49 228 815 2828

For all questions related to UNCCD advice on NAP alignment: Mr. Richard Byron-Cox, Programme Officer, RCF/U, UNCCD Secretariat, e-mail:, Tel: +49 228 815 2827.