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GEF Grants Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund-US Direct Access to Environmental Funding

WASHINGTON, DC, November 5, 2013—Two global civil society organizations, Conservation International (CI) and the World Wildlife Fund-US (WWF-US) can now directly access funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) under a decision welcomed today by the GEF’s governing Council.

The decision marks an important milestone in the 22-year history of the GEF. For the first time, civil society organizations can directly access GEF funding for environmental projects without having to go through another GEF agency. The approval given to CI and WWF-US by an independent GEF Accreditation Panel comes after a rigorous assessment confirmed that they meet the GEF’s fiduciary standards and environmental and social safeguards. A review process considering applications by other organizations to become GEF Project Agencies is underway.

In remarks Tuesday to the GEF Council, meeting in Washington this week, GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii congratulated CI and WWF-US on the approval. Both organizations have a long history of working with the GEF. The partnership designation gives them much greater initiative in the design of projects, and responsibility in their implementation.

“I would like to sincerely welcome Conservation International and World Wildlife Fund-US to the GEF family. The accreditation of new GEF Project Agencies, enabling them to access GEF funds to implement environmental projects, is an important way to strengthen the GEF Partnership. I am very excited about having CI and WWF-US among us. CI and WWF-US will help us further diversify the GEF’s tool-box, and allow us to present countries with a broader array of options that can best support them to address the drivers of global environmental degradation Ishii said.

CI and WWF-US join the roster of 10 GEF Agencies: the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Inter-American Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and the World Bank.

“We are pleased and honored to receive the accreditation as a GEF Project Agency. This is a historic moment for us as it will be the first time that non-governmental organizations can directly access and disburse resources from the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. We look forward to working together with governments, private sector and other GEF agencies to design strong projects that will leverage science-based solutions to protect nature for human well-being but also contribute to the sustainable development agenda”, said Lilian Spijkerman, Vice President of Global Public Partnerships at Conservation International’s Center for Environment and Peace.

“WWF is proud to join the GEF partnership. We commit to work with the GEF and leverage our partnerships and resources to help developing countries address some of the biggest challenges of our day. Natural resource depletion and climate change continue to destabilize ecosystems. We need a whole new set of partnerships and innovations to ensure a future in which both people and nature thrive,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund – US (WWF-US).


(Left to right) Niels Crone, Chief Operations Officer of Conservation International and Carter Roberts, President and CEO of WWF-US


CI has worked with the GEF since its inception in 1991 in endeavors ranging from engaging as a member of the GEF non-governmental organization network to supporting the execution of approximately $80 million in GEF funding in the past seven years. CI’s vast experience in innovative funding for environmental projects and private sector engagement will add immense value to the network of agencies by providing expertise in the most pressing environmental and development challenges.

WWF offices around the world have been involved with the design or execution of more than 100 GEF projects over the past 20 years. With over 5,000 conservation professionals in more than 100 countries, the breadth of WWF’s global presence is unmatched among conservation non-governmental organizations. WWF-US is the North American branch of WWF.



About the Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

Since 1991, the GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $11.5 billion in grants and leveraging $57 billion in co-financing for over 3,215 projects in over 165 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 16,030 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $653.2 million.


Contact: Christian Hofer, Senior Communications Officer, GEF.