What is the GEF

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, the GEF has provided $14.5 billion in grants and mobilized $75.4 billion in additional financing for almost 4,000 projects. The GEF has become an international partnership of 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations, and private sector to address global environmental issues.

The GEF’s 18 implementing partners are: Asian Development Bank (ADB), African Development Bank (AFDB), Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), Conservation International (CI), Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Foreign Economic Cooperation Office - Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (FECO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade (FUNBIO), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), West African Development Bank (BOAD), World Bank Group (WBG), World Wildlife Fund U.S. (WWF).

The GEF serves as financial mechanism for the following conventions:

The GEF administers the LDCF and SCCF which were established by the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC. The GEF also administers the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund (NPIF) that was established by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In addition, the GEF Secretariat hosts the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat. 


Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured Global Environment Facility
March 2015

This publication contains the text of the Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured Global Environment Facility, as amended by the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth GEF Assemblies, published in March 2015. 


GEF History

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The Global Environment Facility was established in October 1991 as a $1 billion pilot program in the World Bank to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote environmental sustainable development. The GEF would provide new and additional grants and concessional funding to cover the "incremental" or additional costs associated with transforming a project with national benefits into one with global environmental benefits.

The United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Program, and the World Bank were the three initial partners implementing GEF projects.

In 1994, at the Rio Earth Summit, the GEF was restructured and moved out of the World Bank system to become a permanent, separate institution. The decision to make the GEF an independent organization enhanced the involvement of developing countries in the decision-making process and in implementation of the projects. Since 1994, however, the World Bank has served as the Trustee of the GEF Trust Fund and provided administrative services.

As part of the restructuring, the GEF was entrusted to become the financial mechanism for both the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. In partnership with the Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention on Ozone Layer Depleting Substances, the GEF started funding projects that enable the Russian Federation and nations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia to phase out their use of ozone-destroying chemicals.

The GEF subsequently was also selected to serve as financial mechanism for three more international conventions: The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (2001), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (2003) and the Minamata Convention on Mercury (2013).