The GEF is a multilateral fund that supports developing country projects that safeguard the global environment and enhance sustainable development. Knowledge, a primary asset of GEF, is mostly generated by GEF investments during the project design and implementation and then documented in the form of lessons learned.
The GEF Knowledge Day is an experiential peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and learning event. It was designed to enable participants in a GEF Expanded Constituency Workshop (ECW) to learn about key project components, and discuss lessons and good practice approaches in the field. Conceived by the GEF Secretariat, the ECW brings together GEF focal points, focal points from key environmental conventions (Biodiversity, Desertification, Climate Change and Persistent Organic Pollutants), civil society representatives, and staff from the GEF Secretariat and the GEF Agencies to discuss priority issues and share lessons and experiences from GEF projects and their integration within national policy frameworks in a particular region.
The GEF Knowledge Day follows a methodology that can be easily customized to every country and region, as well as different project types and topic areas. The methodology facilitates learning and knowledge exchange around a particular GEF project through Learning Stations. It is at Learning Stations where project managers and beneficiaries display and discuss lessons and good practices emerging from key project components, and interact with participants from diverse backgrounds, preferably at the project site.
As part of a typical GEF Knowledge Day, ECW participants divide into small groups and, guided by a facilitator, visit five to eight Learning Stations per project. If the Knowledge Day is being held at the project site, participants tour the site in conjunction with each Learning Station; they learn about key project components and respective outputs and meet key project stakeholders, including project managers and staff, beneficiaries, co-financiers and even local authorities. If a project site visit is not possible or practical, projects components are brought to the ECW venue where project stakeholders set up Learning Stations in a large meeting room.
The GEF Secretariat and partner agencies take an active role as tour guides, facilitators and/or discussants, engaging participants throughout the process as they move from Learning Station to Learning Station. At the Learning Stations, participants have an opportunity to actively learn about and interact with the project on display in various ways. They may see, touch, smell, hear, and taste goods produced by the project; or look through documentation (books, photos, maps, posters), watch topical documentaries, and listen to expert presentations; or participate in role playing to work through particular challenges, take photos and videos to share with cohorts back home; and always ask questions and provide feedback to the project stakeholders.
During the Knowledge Day, each participant also fills out a GEF Knowledge Passport, noting their observations at each Learning Station and responding to questions related to key project management principles highlighted at each Station in the context of the particular project component on display at that Learning Station. Participants receive a stamp at each Station after their visit.
During and after the pilot, it became clear that there was a great deal of interest among other countries for participating in GEF Knowledge Days. There had been observable enthusiasm among the project managers, staff, and beneficiaries in wanting to share their experiences with other GEF partners from other countries that greatly contributed to the success of the pilot in Trinidad and Tobago.
Since the pilot and throughout 2016, there have been 13 GEF Knowledge Days in 13 Expanded Constituency Workshops (ECW) with more than 1000 participants from over 120 countries.
GEF Small Grants Programme Projects
- Monoga Syndicate Water Reticulation for Rehabilitation of Degraded Rangeland (Botswana, GEF SGP, UNDP)
- Building Capacity of Asa Wright Nature Centre to Facilitate Conservation, Ecotourism and Community Development (Trinidad and Tobago, GEF SGP, UNDP)
- Promotion and Upgrade of Ecotourism Products of the Western Area Peninsula Forest Reserve in Sierra Leone & Educational and Interactive Exhibits that Inform, Inspire and Empower Individuals to Protect and Restore the Environment for the Benefit of Future Generations (Sierra Leone, GEF SGP, UNDP)
- Biodiversity Conservation through Ecotourism in the Analamazaotra Forest (Madagascar, GEF SGP, UNDP)
GEF Medium-Sized Projects
- Safeguarding and Restoring Lebanon’s Woodland Resources Project (UNEP)
- Integrated Management of Cedar Forests in Lebanon in Cooperation with Other Mediterranean Countries (UNEP)
GEF Full-Sized Projects
- Enabling Trans-boundary Cooperation and Integrated Water Resources Management in the Extended Drin River Basin (Albania, FYR Macedonia & Montenegro, UNDP)
- CBSP Sustainable Community Based Management and Conservation of Mangrove Ecosystems in Cameroon (FAO)
- Implementing a "Ridge to Reef" Approach to Preserve Ecosystem Services, Sequester Carbon, Improve Climate Resilience and Sustain Livelihoods in Fiji (Fiji R2R) (UNDP)
- Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity in Coastal and Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) (Guatemala, UNDP)
- Energy Efficient Design & Construction in Residential Sector (Kazakhstan, UNDP)
- Integrated Conservation of Priority Globally Significant Migratory Bird Wetland Habitat (Kazakhstan, UNDP)
- LGGE Promotion of Energy Efficient Lighting in Kazakhstan (UNDP)
- Madagascar's Network of Managed Resource Protected Areas (UNDP)
- CF: Industrial Energy Efficiency (Philippines, UNIDO)
- SFM Sustainable Forest Management in the Transboundary Gran Chaco American Ecosystem (Regional, UNEP)
GEF Integrated Approach Pilot Projects
- Cities-IAP: Sustainable Cities Initiative (Senegal, World Bank)
Knowledge Day Pilot
A piloted GEF Knowledge Day took place in Trinidad and Tobago in March 2016 when the Learning Stations methodology was tested at the Biodiversity Conservation, Ecotourism and Community Development in the Arima Valley project site. This project was implemented by the UNDP-GEF Small Grants Program with the ASA Wright Nature Center. During the GEF Knowledge Day visit, participants toured five Learning Stations at the Nature Center where they spoke with project staff and beneficiaries and identified some of the project management principles that were presented at the Expanded Constituency Workshop during the previous day.
The Knowledge Day also included a nature walk where participants learned more about biodiversity conservation and ecosystem management at the Nature Center. At the end of the day’s visit, a wrap-up session helped identify and bring forth key concepts learned. Participants completed exit surveys, submitted photos they took during the day via social media, and shared their GEF Knowledge Passports with the organizers. The GEF Knowledge Passports proved to be extremely useful because they allowed the GEF to gather invaluable feedback and understand whether the Knowledge Day met the initial objectives.