GEF Agencies create project proposals and then manage these projects on the ground. In so doing, they help eligible governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop, implement and execute their projects. Often, the Agencies work together on GEF projects, pooling expertise. Not only does this allow a more holistic approach to programming, it also reinforces the individual Agency's efforts to mainstream or incorporate global environment concerns into its internal policies, programs and projects.
Through collaboration with the Agencies, the GEF project portfolio has quickly grown and diversified, serving both developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Such partnership reinforces the individual Agency's efforts to mainstream or incorporate global environment concerns into its internal policies, programs and projects. GEF Agencies are requested to focus their involvement in GEF project activities within their respective comparative advantages.
Eighteen institutions act as GEF Agencies:
Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s comparative advantage for the GEF includes investment projects at the country and multi-country level in Asia as well as the ability to incorporate capacity building and technical assistance into its projects. The ADB has strong experience in the fields of energy efficiency, renewable energy, adaptation to climate change and natural resources management including water and sustainable land management.
African Development Bank (AfDB)'s comparative advantage for the GEF lies in its capacity as a regional development bank. The AfDB will focus on establishing a track record for environmental projects related to the GEF focal areas of Climate Change (adaptation, renewable energy and energy efficiency), Land Degradation (deforestation, desertification) and International Waters (water management and fisheries).
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)'s comparative advantage for the GEF lies in its experience and track record in market creation and transformation; and ensuring sustainability through private sector and municipal environmental infrastructure projects at the country and regional level in the countries of eastern and central Europe and central Asia, particularly in the fields of energy efficiency, biodiversity and water management.
Food and Agriculture Organizaton of the United Nations (FAO)'s comparative advantage for the GEF is its technical capacity and experience in fisheries, forestry, agriculture, and natural resources management. The FAO has strong experience in sustainable use of agricultural biodiversity, bioenergy, biosafety, sustainable development in production landscapes, and integrated pest and pesticides management.
Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)'s comparative advantage for the GEF includes investment projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. IDB finances operations related to the following GEF focal areas: Biodiversity (protected areas, marine resources, forestry biotechnology), Climate Change (including biofuels), International Waters (watershed management), Land Degradation (erosion control), and POPs (pest management).
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)’s comparative advantage for the GEF lies in its work related to land degradation, rural sustainable development, integrated land management, and its role in the implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. IFAD has been working intensively in marginal lands, degraded ecosystems and in post-conflict situations.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s comparative advantage for the GEF lies in its global network of country offices, its experience in integrated policy development, human resources development, institutional strengthening, and non-governmental and community participation. UNDP assists countries in designing and implementing activities consistent with both the GEF mandate and national sustainable development plans.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s comparative advantage for the GEF is related to its being the only United Nations organization with a mandate to coordinate the work of the United Nations in the area of environment for which the core business is the field of environment. UNEP also provides the GEF with a range of relevant experiences, proof of concept, testing of ideas, and the best available science and knowledge upon which it can base its investments. It also serves as the Secretariat to three of the MEAs, for which GEF is the/a financial mechanism.
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)’s comparative advantage for the GEF is that it can involve the industrial sector in GEF projects in the following areas: industrial energy efficiency, renewable energy services, water management, chemicals management (including POP and ODS), and biotechnology. UNIDO also has extensive knowledge of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in developing and transition economy countries.
The World Bank Group (WBG)’s comparative advantage for the GEF is as a leading international financial institution at the global scale in a number of sectors, similar to the comparative advantage of the regional development banks. The WBG has strong experience in investment lending focusing on institution building, infrastructure development and policy reform across all the focal areas of the GEF.
Conservation International (CI) CI works globally with governments and engages with all sectors of society to achieve the ultimate goal of improved human well-being, particularly focusing on the essential services that nature provides. As a GEF Project Agency, they leverage their science, experience in innovative finance and community-based solutions as well as their network of partnerships to implement effective in the focal areas of Biodiversity, Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation, Land Degradation and International Waters.
Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) promotes a sustainable development model through credit operations, non-reimbursable resources, and support in the technical and financial structuring of projects in the public and private sectors of Latin America. They provide sustainable development and regional integration through an efficient mobilization of resources for a timely provision of multiple financial services to clients in the public and private sectors of the shareholder countries.
Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) provides sustainable infrastructure project preparation, finance and implementation support in selected African markets to improve the quality of life of people, accelerating the sustainable reduction of poverty and inequity and promoting broad-based economic growth and regional economic integration. The primary sectors of focus to the DBSA are water, energy, ICT and transport. The DBSA offers secondary services at the local level, in the health, education and housing sectors.
Foreign Economic Cooperation Office, Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (FECO) mandated is to coordinate and manage project funds in cooperation with international financial organizations for the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements and bilateral assistance, as well as other foreign cooperation activities in the field of environmental protection. FECO has the mission to protect the environment by introducing and exporting knowledge, technologies and funds.
Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO) promotes the implementation of the CBD, with the mission of providing strategic resources for biodiversity conservation. As a pioneer financial mechanism in Brazil, it creates solutions to the sustainability of conservation and climate change initiatives. FUNBIO has extensive experience in supporting Protected Areas and in the design and management of funds, programs, networks and environmental projects, in partnership with both public and private sectors and civil society.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) centers its work, at the global and local levels, on the conservation of biodiversity as a means to addressing some of the world's greatest challenges such as climate change, sustainable development and food security.
West African Development Bank (BOAD) promotes the balanced development of its member states and contributes to the achievement of economic integration in West Africa. It has fundeed public development projects in infrastructure to support production, rural development and food security, as well as operations including projects promoted by the private sector. The areas of intervention of the Bank are rural development, food security and environment, industry and agro-industry, infrastructure, transport, hospitality, finance and other services.
World Wildlife Fund (WWF-US) As a leading international conservation organization, WWF was an active participant in the international negotiations to establish the GEF at the first United Nations Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. WWF has since been a supporter of the GEF's policies and operations, participating in the design or execution of more than 100 GEF programs and projects.