The Country Support Program (CSP) provides recipient countries with assistance and capacity building to fully participate in the GEF Partnership and to make better use of its resources.
As the key capacity building and outreach vehicle of the Global Environment Facility, the CSP informs, assists, and empowers Operational Focal Points, Political Focal Points, Council Members and Alternates, Convention Focal Points, key stakeholders including civil society and GEF Agencies. As a corporate program, the CSP enables countries to achieve greater impact of GEF resources by building the capacity, enhancing inclusive dialogue, and improving coordination among diverse stakeholders.
Through its activities, the CSP enables countries and stakeholders to work with the GEF. Country Relations Officers are continuously in touch with Focal Points and Council Members to provide support, receive their comments and answer their questions. Since 2010, the CSP has empowered more than 17,000 participants in 360 events, including:
- Expanded Constituency Workshops (ECWs) keep Focal Points, Convention Focal Points, and other key stakeholders up-to-date with GEF strategies and policies and guidelines. 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. ECWs include a Knowledge Day where participants visit a GEF project. Up to eight representatives per country in a constituency participate in ECWs. Content for ECWs is updated annually, including issues tailored to the specific needs of each constituency. Watch a video for more information.
- Stakeholder Empowerment Series (SES) respond to the request for training on specific issues as well as for promoting South-South knowledge sharing. These targeted virtual sessions bring together stakeholders from different regions, enabling feedback and exchange of good practices and lessons learned across countries and constituencies.
- National Dialogues are a strategic tool for convening all relevant national stakeholders in a country to discuss and agree on the prioritization and programming of GEF resources. These multi-stakeholder dialogues also allow for discussion and agreement on the most appropriate national agencies and partners for the execution of projects as well as the most suitable GEF Agency for each project. These dialogues are organized at the request of the Operational Focal Point.
- Introduction Seminars provide training to new GEF Agency staff, new Focal Points, new Convention Secretariat staff, and other relevant stakeholders on aspects of the GEF structure, strategies, policies, and procedures.
- Constituency Meetings are the main tool for Council Members within a constituency to prepare for decision-making before Council meetings. These meetings also allow them to discuss the execution of projects and constituency governance issues. Constituency meetings are organized at the request of Council Members.
- Pre-Council Meetings of Recipient Council Members provide the opportunity for Recipient Council Members and Alternates to enhance coordination prior to Council meetings, exchange views and concerns, and receive clarifications from the GEF Secretariat. These meetings are organized at the request of Recipient Council Members.
The Program is continuously evolving to provide enhanced support to countries. The recommendations of the 2021 Evaluation of the Country Support Program conducted by the GEF Independent Evaluation Office have been instrumental in defining new approaches to renew and further strengthen the Program, as documented in the Management Response.
CSP activities are being strengthened and refocused to assist countries more effectively, focused on improving collaboration at the country level, further increasing country ownership and leadership, and promoting South-South knowledge-sharing and exchange. Core activities are being reinforced and tailored to the specific needs of countries, using a mix of in-person and virtual delivery modalities to further expand the Program’s reach. New activities will be focused on further empowering Operational Focal Points in their decision-making related to the use of GEF resources, building the execution capacity of national executing agencies and civil society organizations, and enhancing and customizing outreach resources and tools.
In a Q&A format, GEF staff talk about their experiences working with the Country Support Program.
A survey was conducted in 2020 to capture stakeholders’ views on their participation in CSP events. Key findings show that participants are overwhelmingly satisfied with the support they received:
- Nearly 75 percent of respondents indicated that their participation in CSP activities have contributed to improving country programming, including stronger country ownership, a more inclusive process, better national advisory capacity, and improved coordination with GEF Agencies.
- Almost 70 percent of respondents have adopted tools and good practices shared during CSP events, which helped them align country and GEF strategic priorities, discuss GEF programming with national stakeholders, improve the relationship between countries and GEF Agencies through regular consultations, and manage results and co-financing.
- More than 90 percent of respondents valued the knowledge shared during CSP events, indicating that they found the level of information exchanged by the GEF Secretariat and by participants themselves, as good or very good.