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Monitoring and Evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation in the GEF have the following overarching objectives: 1) Promoting accountability for the achievement of GEF objectives through the assessment of results, effectiveness, processes, and performance of the partners involved in GEF activities. GEF results will be monitored and evaluated for their contribution to global environmental benefits; 2) Promoting learning, feedback, and knowledge sharing on results and lessons learned among the GEF and its partners, as a basis for decision making on policies, strategies, program management, and projects, and improving knowledge and performance.

The GEF's work on monitoring and evaluation are critical parts of the GEF's overall approach to results-based management. 

The GEF Monitoring and Evaluation Policy provides norms and standards for the GEF Secretariat and the GEF Independent Evaluation Office. The policy contains minimum requirements for M&E for GEF-funded activities covering project design, application of M&E at the project level, and project evaluation. 

The GEF Council approved the revised M&E Policy in November 2010. For more information and additional documents visit the GEF IEO website.

System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR)

The System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR) is the GEF’s resource allocation system for biodiversity, climate change, and land degradation focal areas. 

The allocations are determined based on transparent indicators reflecting country performance, country potential to achieve global environmental benefits and the Social Economic Development Index based on each country’s GDP per capital (see also GEF-6 STAR Country Allocations). 

In the STAR model, as agreed by the Council in May 2014, the following new parameter values have been used: (i) the weight of the GDP per capita index is at -0.08; (ii) the ceilings for all three focal areas are set at 10 percent of the total focal area allocations; and (iii) the aggregate floor for a country is $ 6 million ($3 million for climate change, $2 million for biodiversity, and $1 million for land degradation) for LDCs only. 

Further, as agreed by the Council in May 2014, countries with total STAR allocations of less than US$7 million will have full flexibility to program the allocation across the three focal areas. In GEF-6, 49 countries will benefit from this flexibility rule. Countries above this threshold will have an allowed marginal adjustment of $2 million. 

STAR was developed within the GEF Secretariat in 2010 (GEF-5 STAR Country Allocations) on the basis of the Resource Allocation Framework (RAF), which was the former GEF resource allocation system used in GEF-4.

Over the past years, the GEF Secretariat has developed and disclosed a number of key Council documents and information papers on STAR along with its development. The following is the list of the latest ones:

Background Documents

Progress Report (GEF/C.41/Inf.06) 

Progress Report (GEF/C.39/Inf.08) 

Programming Approach for Utilization of the Resources Set-aside outside STAR (GEF/C.39/Inf.10)

Letter of the CEO to GEF Operational Focal Points on the STAR (July 6, 2010)

Sytem for a Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR): Options and Scenarios (GEF/C.36/06/Rev.1)


System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR): a booklet for questions and answers on STAR, October 2010


Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) Policy

STAP is an independent advisory body of the GEF.  The Panel consists of seven members and a Chairperson with expertise in the main focal areas of the GEF. Panel members work on a part time basis for the GEF, typically on loan from their home institutions.

STAP’s mandate is to: 

  • Provide objective, strategic scientific and technical advice on GEF policies, operational strategies, programs and on projects and programmatic approaches.
  • Interact in a complementary manner with other relevant scientific and technical bodies, particularly with the subsidiary bodies of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
  • Provide scientific and technical advice on priorities for GEF funding, for focal areas in which the GEF is not operating as a convention’s financial mechanism.
  • Provide expert scientific advice to inter-agency task forces and bodies handling other GEF processes, when such advice is requested.

The STAP Chair reports to every GEF Council meeting, briefing Council members on the Panel’s work and emerging scientific and technical issues. Advice to Council can include review and/or co- authorship of GEF Policy papers, where there are significant scientific or technical issues.

Background Document

 For additional information visit STAP website.

Relations with NGOs

From the GEF's inception, during its Pilot Phase, the NGOs have been active in shaping its policies and projects. Accordingly, the relationship between the GEF Council, the GEF Secretariat and grass roots civil society organizations (CSOs) has regularly been critically examined and evaluated. Subsequent GEF documents and decisions have reaffirmed and expanded that role. Section VI of the “Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured GEF” -- the document creating the permanent GEF structure -- titled “Cooperation with Other Bodies”, allows for the role of NGOs and other members of civil society in “GEF project preparation and execution”. 

The GEF-NGO Network or NGO Network of the Global Environment Facility was established in May 1995 following the GEF Council’s decision to establish a formal relationship between the NGOs and the GEF Secretariat, Council Assembly and partner agencies. The decision tasked the Network with the responsibility of disseminating information on the GEF to the NGO community and other stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels. The GEF NGO Network was subsequently launched as a volunteer structure of GEF-accredited organizations.

In addition, the New Delhi statement of the First GEF Assembly noted:“The GEF should increase consultations with NGOs and local communities concerning GEF activities; GEF should develop and implement an action plan to strengthen country-level coordination and promote genuine country ownership of GEF-financed activities, including the active involvement of local and regional experts and community groups in project design and implementation.” 

The GEF’s policy paper of June 1996, “Public Involvement in GEF-Financed Projects”, further solidified the NGO role in the GEF activities. The paper observes that “the GEF Council approved the principles presented herein as a basis for public involvement in the design, implementation, and evaluation of GEF-financed projects”. Paragraph 15 refers specifically to NGOs by stating: “In collaboration with the Implementing Agencies, explore ways in which roles of NGOs and other stakeholders can be strengthened in project preparation, design, implementation, and evaluation...” That paragraph concludes: “Ensure that funding is available to recipient governments, Executing Agencies, and as appropriate, NGOs for conducting effective public involvement.” 

GEF NGO Network page:  

Public Involvement

The GEF Public Involvement Policy and the Guidelines for Implementation of Public Involvement Policy serve as a basis for public involvement and stakeholder participation in the design, implementation, and evaluation of GEF-financed projects.

Consistent with the GEF Instrument, when applying the principles, there should be emphasis on local participation and local stakeholder consultation while specific conditions in the country should be taken into consideration. 

Also refer to the GEF and Civil Society site.

Background Documents 

Council Document (GEF/C.47/Inf.06)

Council Document (GEF/C.7/6)

Project Cycle

The GEF project cycle defines the stages that a project must go through from its approval by the GEF to its complition. Each funding modality follows its own project cycles. 


Full-Sized Projects (FSPs) 

The FSP project cycle included the following two key steps:

  1. Council approval of a work program:  a work program comprises a list of project concepts in the form of a PIF (Project Identification Form) and program concepts in the form of a PFD (Program Formulation Document)
  2. CEO endorsement of the Final Project Document:  CEO endorses a project after it is well-prepared and ready to start implementation once it is approved by Agency’s internal management approval.

After CEO endorsement of the project, it goes back to the Agency which carries out the following two steps:

3.  Agency internal management approval; and
4.  Implementation and completion of the project.

Project cycle performance target has been set at 18 months since the beginning of GEF-5 and this 18 months performance target will remain in GEF-6.  18 months are the elapsed time from when a project is expected to complete preparation in the concept stage to a fully prepared project ready for implementation.   This 18-month target will be the timeline against which FSPs will be evaluated for their project cycle performance efficiency.

The project cycle starts with the approval of work program, going through CEO endorsement, Agency approval, implementation and ends with project completion, but fits back into concept preparation as lessons learned from completed projects should serve as input for all future project concepts.  With this last loop, it completes the full project cycle. 

Medium-Sized Projects (MSPs)

In GEF-6, MSPs will follow a one-step CEO approval process, i.e. Agencies and countries can prepare the project from concept until the project is fully-prepared and submit it for CEO approval before Agency’s internal management approval and implementation start.  Under this one-step process, since there is no PIF approval, there is no target timeline that binds the preparation performance.

On an exceptional basis, MSPs can also follow a two-step process, i.e. submission of a PIF for CEO approval, and within 12 months of preparation, submit a final MSP project document for CEO approval.  Under this two-step process, the 12-month timeline will serve as project cycle performance target to which MSPs will be evaluated against for their project cycle performance efficiency. Elapsed time for MSPs requiring a PPG continues to be 12 months from the date CEO approves the PIF to the date CEO approves the final project document for the MSP.

Enabling Activities (EAs) 

EAs follow the expedited approval process by CEO under the delegated authority from Council.  No concept submission is required for EA and therefore goes through only a one-step process with a final well-prepared EA document for approval by the CEO.

Programmatic Approaches (PAs)

In GEF-6, a simplified approval process will be adopted with the following key steps:

  1. Program Framework Document (PFD) is submitted to the Secretariat for review and to be cleared by the CEO for entry into the work program that will be approved by Council.
  2. Child projects under the program are to be submitted for CEO approval or endorsement once they are well-prepared and ready to be implemented.

Program Commitment Deadline:  Programs are given the flexibility to establish their performance target in consideration of the usual complex nature of programmatic approaches.  Once it is established and agreed upon by the stakeholders in the program, all child projects will be committed to submit the well-prepared project document for CEO approval or endorsement by the deadline.  Beyond this deadline, uncommitted program funds will be cancelled.

 The project cycle steps and procedures presented above are the results of a number of Council papers/decisions.  The policy papers and original Council papers are listed below in chronological order. 


Background Document



Non-Grant Instruments

GEF provides funding for projects through grants and non-grants. The purpose of this Policy is to set out the principles for the GEF, working with its partners, to facilitate appropriate use of non-grant instruments as a means to inter alia: (a) enhance the effectiveness by leveraging substantial capital for targeted investments that support GEF’s objectives; (b) strengthen partnerships with the private and public sectors in recipient country governments; (c) enable the GEF to demonstrate and validate the application of innovative and flexible financial instruments in projects for broader adoption; and (d) enhance the financial sustainability of the GEF through the generation of reflows.

Background Document 

Council Document (GEF/C.47/06) 


Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured Global Environment Facility

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. 

NB: This version supersedes all the previous ones

Download Document:  English

Indigenous Peoples Principles and Guidelines

Indigenous peoples, and their traditional knowledge and sustainable resource management practices, have contributed effectively to safeguarding our global environment. Tragically, and despite their contributions to the global environment and to human culture, indigenous societies are disappearing at an unprecedented rate. Indigenous peoples worldwide continue to be vulnerable and suffer from devastating poverty, disease and discrimination.

Recognizing the important role of the Indigenous Peoples in protecting the global environment, GEF issued the Principles and Guidelines for Engagement of Indigenous Peoples, which reaffirm the GEF principles and further elaborate new guidelines that provide additional clarity and practical guidance on the application of the relevant policies - including those articulated in the GEF policy on Agency Minimum Standards on Environmental and Social Safeguards and the GEF policy on Public Involvement in GEF Projects - to GEF Partner Agencies and all stakeholders interested in GEF-financed projects.

Download Documents: English | Spanish | French

Incremental Costs

GEF funds the "incremental" or additional costs associated with transforming a project with national benefits into one with global environmental benefits; for example, choosing solar energy technology over coal or diesel fuel meets the same national development goal (power generation), but is more costly. GEF grants cover the difference or "increment" between a less costly, more polluting option and a costlier, more environmentally friendly option.


Background Documents