The Country Engagement Strategy (CES) provides the strategic framework to deliver an expanded and coordinated approach to the Global Environment Facility's effort to empower countries in the ownership of their portfolios, and in turn, maximize the impact of GEF resources through a coordinated approach.

CES Activities

The CES will be implemented by the GEF Secretariat, through the various coordinated, complementary, and interconnected activities.

Upstream Technical Dialogues

Upstream Technical Dialogues will provide technical and strategic support to GEF stakeholders and recipient countries with the objective to establish a common understanding of GEF-8 strategies and commitment to delivering global environmental benefits. This will be achieved through strategic and technical meetings with countries to present the GEF-8 Programming Directions, the Integrated Programs, and the focal areas strategies in a more direct way. When planning these dialogues, GEF technical staff will work in close consultation with countries and the operational focal points’ offices.

GEF technical staff will continue providing technical support during portfolio development, project design, and project review to enhance the quality of projects at entry and ensure the strongest country portfolio that advances the GEF-8 Results Framework.

National Dialogues

National Dialogues will convene all relevant national stakeholders in a country to jointly discuss and decide the programming of GEF resources and to promote policy coherence within each country. These National Dialogues on programming will complement the Upstream Technical Dialogues, as necessary.

In addition, targeted National Dialogues throughout the cycle will focus on specific issues of interest to the country. Dialogues can be organized on various issues, such as on policy coherence to promote the integration of global environment concepts into national strategy and policy formulation, on strengthening collaboration with civil society, or on increasing the engagement of the private sector. 

National Dialogues will be available to all recipient countries, at the request of the operational focal point. The GEF Secretariat anticipates organizing 50 National Dialogues in GEF-8.

GEF Workshops

This format includes Expanded Constituency Workshops (ECWs), Stakeholder Empowerment Series (SESs), and Thematic Workshops. These workshops will be held in-person or virtually, as appropriate. The Secretariat will organize: 11 in-person ECWs a year, inviting GEF focal points, Convention focal points, and civil society representatives; at least three virtual SESs a year to allow stakeholders from different time zones to participate; and up to 15 Thematic Workshops.

Introduction Seminars

Introduction Seminars will provide training and relevant information for an enhanced understanding of the GEF, its policies, and operations to new agency staff, operational focal points, selected stakeholders, as well as new Convention Secretariat staff. The GEF Secretariat will organize two virtual Introduction Seminars a year.

Constituency Meetings

Constituency Meetings will continue to be the main tool for Council members and alternates within a constituency to prepare for decision making at the GEF Council. Each constituency may request two meetings per calendar year, to be held before the Council meetings. Virtual Constituency Meetings can also be organized, in case a constituency requests additional meetings to discuss specific issues of interest.

Pre-Council Meetings of Recipient Council Members

These meetings will continue supporting Council members and alternates to discuss issues of interest on the Council agenda, exchange views, and develop common positions before a Council meeting. At the request of recipient constituencies, the Secretariat will organize up to two annual in-person meetings prior to each Council meeting, and virtually at any time during the year, as necessary. These do not require specific funding as they will be held at the time of Council meetings or virtually.

Building the Execution Capacity of Stakeholders

This includes national executing agencies to improve GEF portfolio results, enhance portfolio management, and promote South-South twinning exchanges and peer-to-peer learning; and civil society organizations to build their capacity to partner in GEF projects through the transfer of knowledge and experiences from CSOs which have gained experience in the execution of GEF projects.

Financial Support to GEF Operational Focal Points

Financial support will enable operational focal points to effectively oversee and monitor their GEF portfolio. Access to these dedicated funds is optional and flexible.

Knowledge Exchange and Learning

A GEF-wide Knowledge and Learning Strategy is currently being developed in response to the IEO Evaluation of Knowledge Management in the GEF and aims to enhance knowledge capture, exchange, and learning amongst all GEF partners and stakeholders, including recipient countries.  

Additional Activities

The Fonseca Leadership Program

Approved by the GEF Council in December 2022 initially as the "Gustavo Fonseca Youth Conservation Leadership Program," the new innovative program supports the professional development of promising young conservationists from developing countries.

The program, in honor of tropical scientist Gustavo Fonseca, the GEF’s long-serving Director of Programs who passed away in August 2022, will include conservation fellowships, grants for biodiversity field work, awards for participation in international conservation events, and a recurrent global conservation symposium bringing together young environmental leaders. Learn more >>

Field Visit Program for Council Members

GEF Council members and alternates will benefit from a personal in-depth knowledge and understanding of activities, results, and stakeholders of GEF projects. To this end, the Secretariat will organize and lead two to three annual field visits with participation of developed and developing countries’ Council members and alternates. Visits will be organized to all types of projects and programs and showcase successes as well as challenges.

Support for Country Delegations and Relevant Stakeholders to Attend COPs to the Conventions which the GEF Serves as Financial Mechanism and Related Meetings

A reduction in the support for country delegations to participate in the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to the Conventions which the GEF serves as financial mechanism has led to an increase in requests from developing countries for the GEF to provide such support, compensating for this reduction. Without the GEF’s support, a number of countries will not be able to participate in the negotiations in defense of their national interests.