The Global Environment Facility (GEF) creates a unique and vibrant momentum in tackling the global climate crisis. Engaging civil society organizations and indigenous people’s groups  in the GEF architecture is one of excellent  achievements. The CSOs engagement in the global and regional GEF events like GEF Council Meetings, GEF Assembly and Expanded Constituency Workshops (ECW) have been unfolding a new era of partnerships and engagement. It connects civil society representatives with government  representatives, so thoroughly bringing more trust  and working relationships. 

The GEF CSO Network represents more than 600 civil society organizations and indigenous people’s  representatives to the GEF architectures. The  network has been contributing in the GEF policy dialogues, programmes and projects vigorously. The Network pledges to add value and  complement in the GEF funded programmes and  projects implemented by the governments in  tackling the global climate crisis. 

The GEF has been doing tremendous works  around the globe but unfortunately it could not create significant visibility of the GEF at country or community levels since its inception 1991.  

The true engagement of the civil society groups  with defined roles and responsibilities to contribute  in the government implemented projects may be a  turning point for making the GEF visible at country  levels. There should be real integrated rather than  fragmented programming to bring governments,  CSOs and private sector agencies to work together  for the defined common goals. Unfortunately, still such real integrated approaches are absent in the  GEF programmes and initiatives. Therefore, the upcoming GEF-8 faces questions whether it will be  able to address the gaps and add values to increase  the GEF’s visibility at country levels or not. 

As a part of addressing such critical gaps, the GEF  CSO network recommends to establish multi-stakeholder dialogue platform at country levels under the GEF guidance. Governments will lead or chair and civil society representatives serve as the process facilitators for addressing all forms of climate issues in each country. Age & sex disaggregated baselines focusing on vulnerability, capacity, economic status and ecology etc., climate literacy and civic capacity building should be considered as the key entry points for overcoming  the risks and gaps caused by the COVID-19  pandemic and climate crisis and to work toward a recovery that is green, blue, clean, and resilient. Unless and until, such true and real integrated approaches are made manifest, the expectations of the GEF may remain as a dream.

Akhteruzzaman Sano

Former Chair
GEF CSO Network