The Global Environment Facility
The First Ten Years – Growing Pains or Inherent Flaws?

a report by environmental defence and halifax initiative - August 2002

Governance and Operational Arrangements

However, the fact that the Bank is the trustee of GEF funds, is in charge of all GEF investment projects and houses the Secretariat office, makes it unclear what “functionally” independent really means. The pervasive influence of the World Bank in the GEF remains.

The three Implementing Agencies, as mentioned above, prepare programmes and implement projects. Excecuting agencies were added in 1999, after criticism that the monopoly held by the three agencies contributed to widespread dissatisfaction with project performance. GEF executing agencies include: UN agencies (FAO, UNIDO, IFAD ) and development banks (Asian, African, InterAmerican and European Development Banks).

GEF projects must be endorsed by recipient country governments, as a means to ensure projects are “country-driven and based on national priorities” . Grants are provided in three categories – Small Grants (under US $50,000), Medium Grants (up to US $1 million) and Full Project Grants (over US $1million). Project types vary widely, but include “enabling activities” which help countries meet reporting requirements under the Climate Change and Biodiversity conventions, provide basic information, and to undertake national planning to identify priority activities.


Once the restructuring deal was struck in 1994, the GEF received a fresh infusion of US $2 billion for a period of four years.