GEF Council

The Council is the GEF’s governing board of directors, responsible for developing, adopting, and evaluating policies and programs for GEF-financed activities. The directors are referred to as Council members, who represent 32 GEF constituencies– 16 from developing countries, 14 from developed countries, and two from countries with economies in transition. 

Among its tasks, the GEF Council: keeps operations under review; ensures regular monitoring and evaluation of policies, programs, operational strategies and projects; reviews and approves the work program; directs the utilization of funds; reviews the availability of resources, and; act as the focal point to the Conferences of the Parties of major Environmental Conventions. 

The GEF Council should not be confused with the GEF Assembly.

The Council is a shorter meeting of high level (but not ministerial) representatives from the 32 GEF constituencies.

The Council takes place twice a year, for two or three days in order to develop, adopt and evaluate GEF activities, in accordance with the directives from the Instrument, as well as with the reviews conducted by the Assembly. Council decisions are taken by consensus and mostly during the meeting days, but may also happen by mail correspondence if necessary. 


Council meetings shall be open to Council Members, Council Alternate Members, and the GEF CEO or his/her representative. Two advisors may accompany each Council Member. Representatives from each of the participant countries shall be invited to observe the Council meetings.

Representatives from the Civil Society Organizations, Implementing Agencies, the Trustee, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO), and the Environmental Conventions shall be invited to attend the Council meetings.

Session protocol

At each meeting, the Council shall elect a Chairperson from among its Members for the duration of that meeting. The position of Elected Chairperson shall alternate from one meeting to another between Council members from developed and developing countries. During the 46th Council meeting, the Chairperson will be elected from the developed countries. The Elected Chairperson shall serve in the meeting in that capacity, without the right to vote. The Alternate to the Member elected Chairperson shall act for the Member in the meeting. If during the meeting the Elected Chairperson should no longer be able to serve in that capacity, the group that is entitled to the position for such meeting shall nominate another Member to serve as Elected Chairperson.