Civil society organizations (CSOs) have been actively participating in GEF operations since the institution’s inception. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in particular have been involved in a broad range of GEF activities, from general policy discussions, to project design, implementation and monitoring. Civil society organizations are key partners to the GEF, as they support the achievement of the GEF’s objectives through their actions on the ground and ability to leverage partnerships and resources.

A CSO is defined as a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that represents different major groups as defined by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 (Agenda 21, Chapter 23). This term includes various and diverse types of organizations, including NGOs, farmers, women, the scientific and technological community, youth and children, indigenous peoples and their communities, business and industry, workers and trade unions and local authorities (Council Document GEF/C.39/10/Rev.01).

Effective involvement of civil society at all levels of endeavor, from local to national to global, is a key in achieving the GEF's mission and objectives of the programs and projects. CSOs have a pivotal role to play in advocating within their respective national and regional governments on behalf of determined action to protect and enhance the environment. And the grass-roots experience they have gained in actually implementing these programs has proven extremely beneficial in guiding negotiations over future programs.The GEF has approved several policies that enhance participation of civil society in the GEF’s operations. Read more+

The GEF CSO Network

Enhancing Civil Society Participation in the GEF

GEF Small Grants Programme

Guiding Documents 

Policy and guiding documents referring to public involvement and civil society participation in the GEF

Moving forward, the GEF remains committed to further enhancing its engagement with CSOs in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its operations.

For all questions related to GEF relations with CSOs please write to: Ms. Pilar Barrera Rey, Operations Officer- Civil Society Relations and Capacity Development,