The Country Support Program provides recipient countries with assistance and capacity building to fully participate in the GEF partnership and make good use of the trust fund’s resources.
As a principal outreach vehicle for the GEF, the Country Support Program informs, assists, and empowers GEF focal points, Convention focal points, Council members and alternates, civil society organizations, and GEF Agencies to advance the protection of the global environment through an improved understanding of the institution.
What We Do
Various meetings and workshops to promote dialogue and build the capacity of GEF stakeholders are organized by the Country Support Program, including National Dialogues, Expanded Constituency Workshops, Constituency Meetings, Introduction Seminars, and Pre-Council Meetings for Developing Countries Constituencies.
National Dialogues bring together government representatives, civil society organizations, research institutions, and the private sector to learn, discuss, and agree on the integration of environmental concepts into national strategy and policy formulation. Relevant national stakeholders engage in the planning process to identify priorities for GEF support. These dialogues also help recipient countries decide how best to make use of the resources available through the GEF, especially during the first year of a funding cycle.
National Dialogues are available to all GEF recipient countries at the request of the operational focal point. Each National Dialogue is coordinated as a collaborative effort between the GEF Secretariat, the operational focal point and the relevant GEF Agencies to adapt content to the country’s requirements.
Expanded Constituency Workshops
Expanded Constituency Workshops keep GEF focal points, Convention focal points, and other key stakeholders, including civil society, up to date with GEF policies and procedures. These four-day workshops provide a space to analyze, in depth, the various aspects of the GEF’s work, as well as an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience and to encourage collaboration.
The GEF Secretariat organizes 13 Expanded Constituency Workshops a year in recipient constituencies, except for the years when the GEF Assembly takes place.
Constituency Meetings are the main tool for Council members to prepare for decision-making before GEF Council meetings. Council members and alternates within a constituency discuss and define common positions, draft decisions, consider the implementation of projects, and handle constituency governance issues. These meetings are organized at the request of Council members before each Council meeting. Council members may invite other participants as necessary, including GEF Agencies. The GEF Secretariat provides technical and logistical support for these meetings.
Introduction Seminars provide training and relevant information to new GEF focal points, GEF Agency staff, Convention staff, and selected additional stakeholders. Other audiences that are critical to the success of the GEF, particularly government ministries, other environmental financing providers, and the private sector may also participate. These seminars are organized once a year, in Washington, DC.
Pre-Council Meetings for Developing Country Constituencies
Council and alternate members from recipient country constituencies have the opportunity to meet prior to each Council meeting. During these meetings, they discuss issues of interest on the Council agenda, exchange views, share concerns, receive clarifications from the GEF Secretariat, and develop common positions.
As a consequence of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the GEF Country Support Program has had to adapt to the challenges posed by not being able to hold in-person events as originally envisioned.
Several of the CSP components have moved to the virtual format with relative ease. Constituency meetings, national dialogues, meeting of recipient Council Members have been held in a virtual format with relative ease after considerable preparation and arrangements for technical support.
The larger events, like the Expanded Constituency Workshops and potentially the Introduction Seminars, are not as amenable to the virtual environment. They are designed to bring large groups of people together, in country teams to learn about the GEF programs and policies; best practices, exchange experiences, develop team spirit at the country and constituency level. Therefore, they have been postponed for the time being.
Nevertheless, the need for such objectives remains and must be addressed. Even if some of the goals that can only be achieved through in person meetings, the knowledge, capacity, and support provided through those workshops remain a priority. Therefore, based on the positive experience so far with virtual tools, a new component of the CSP -- the Stakeholder Empowerment Series (SES) – is proposed as an interim replacement of the ECWs, and as a tool that will continue to be useful as a complement for the ECWs once they can resume. This SES aims to provide to all stakeholders most of the benefits they would have derived from the workshops.
The SES will be made up of a series of webinars to be delivered over the coming months until the ECWs can resume. The virtual tools allow these webinars to have the following main characteristics:
- They will bring together countries from different regions thus encouraging sharing of experiences across Constituencies.
- They will present information on the topics chosen and always include good examples from real GEF projects in different countries.
- Countries will be grouped based on shared language and time zones, among others.
- Webinars will be designed for 90-120 minutes and offered several times so that all stakeholders have the opportunity to benefit.
Since 2010, the Country Support Program has organized 295 events, proving assistance and capacity building to more than 14,800 GEF stakeholders:
Data as of August 3, 2020
The GEF Country Support Program held more than 66 in-person events from June 2018 to March 2020, at the mid-point of the GEF-7 funding cycle. In March 2020, the program shifted to a more online format to continue engaging with partners during the COVID-19 outbreak. Against this backdrop, the Country Support Program team launched a survey of its events. The survey polled 1,300 participants of GEF-7 events to capture their views of the support provided and assessment of how well the program has contributed to increasing their knowledge of the GEF and its resources. The survey also gathered participants’ feedback on ways to improve support in the future. Read the survey here.