Who we are

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Civil Society Organizations (CSO) Network is a network of civil society organizations (CSOs) that aims to enhance the participation and engagement of CSOs in the GEF’s activities. The network serves as a platform for CSOs to share information, build capacity, and collaborate on projects related to the GEF’s mission of addressing global environmental issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and the degradation of international waters.

The network also aims to provide a space for CSOs to provide input and feedback on GEF policies and programs, and to advocate for increased funding for environmental projects. The GEF CSO Network is open to all CSOs, including non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, and indigenous peoples’ organizations, that are interested in the GEF’s mission and activities.


The GEF-CSO Network was established in May 1995. It was the result of a GEF Council decision to strengthen dialogue and partnership between CSOs worldwide and the GEF Secretariat, the GEF Council, the GEF Assembly and various partner agencies.

The GEF-CSO Network is made up of:

  • Member organizations comprising organizations accredited by GEF between 1995-March 2010 and which had updated their information with the GEF Secretariat as at March 2010, as well as
  • New members admitted directly by the Network after March 2010 whose work in the environment and sustainable development is aligned with the GEF mandate.

Vision, Mission and Objectives


A dynamic civil society influencing policies and actions at all levels to safeguard the global environment and promote sustainable development.

Civil society impact is critical with the emphasis on empowerment of indigenous and local communities in defence of their rights over
natural resources and valuing their indigenous knowledge.


“To safeguard the global environment through strengthening civil society partnership with GEF by enhancing informed participation, contributing to policy development and stimulating local action.


Objective 1

To enhance the role of civil society in safeguarding the global environment.

Objective 2

To promote effective engagement of civil society in GEF operations.

Objective 3

Monitor and build capacity at regional and national level for CSO engagement in GEF activities.

The GEF CSO Network has been a longstanding partner of the GEF, providing feedback to the GEF Council in the development and adoption of relevant policies and guidelines, conducting or taking part in activities such as consultations and workshops, as well as playing an active role in GEF Assemblies, among other roles.

The GEF Secretariat and the GEF Civil Society Network (GEF CSO Network) are committed to enhance engagement with civil society in GEF-8 and beyond.


To enhance the role of civil society in safeguarding the global environment

  • Support outreach and awareness on global environment issues.
  • Encourage CSO contributions to the implementation of the conventions.

To promote effective engagement of Civil Society in GEF operations

  • Provide input to GEF policy making, planning and reviews.
  • Enhance CSO involvement in GEF country, regional and global projects and programs.
  • Strengthen partnership with SGP.
  • Develop meaningful partnership with GEF agencies in project planning, implementation and evaluation.

To strengthen the capacity of the Network and CSO members to participate in GEF-related activities

  • Strengthen the operational and financial governance of the Network.
  • Enhance knowledge sharing and management.
  • Enhance effectiveness of regional and national level activities for network members.
  • Strengthen capacity of CSOs to engage in GEF-related activities.
  • Enhance CSO involvement in monitoring and evaluation of GEF Program/projects.


  1. Since 1996, the Network has organized consultations twice a year prior to the GEF Council meetings and has also actively contributed topolicy formulation by GEF.
  2. Played a key role in the establishment of the GEF Small Grants Program (SGP) and the Medium Sized Project mechanism (MSP).
  3. Supported the development of GEF Principles and Guidelines on the engagement with Indigenous Peoples which promotes inclusion and respect of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in GEF projects.
  4. A conduit for feedback on both positive and negative aspects of GEF implementation and has compiled case studies of practical experiences and best practices in implementing GEF activities at the country and local levels.
  5. Successfully helped to enhance recognition of the importance of working with civil society to address global environment objectives.
  6. Actively contributed to successful Replenishment of the GEF and revived the Voluntary NGO Trust Fund to act as a funding mechanism to support the Network.
  7. Successfully pushed for review of the 1996 GEF Public involvement Policy, resulting in development of Guidelines and establishment of PIP Working Group.

Future directions

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have played a vital role in the success of GEF projects, ensuring their effectiveness and the incorporation of their specialized knowledge and perspectives into GEF policies. Looking ahead, the GEF aims to explore avenues for strengthening and deepening its already fruitful partnership with CSOs.