Small Grant Program (SGP) of Global Environmental Facility (GEF)


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The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to tackle environmental problems. Today, 183 countries are GEF members (called partner countries). International institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector partner with the GEF to address global environmental problems while supporting national sustainable development initiatives.

Partner countries are represented in the GEF Council that is comprised by 32 members (14 from developed countries, 2 from economies in transition and 16 from developing countries).

The World Bank serves as the GEF trustee, administering the GEF Trust Fund. The Trustee helps to mobilise GEF resources, disburses funds to GEF agencies, prepares financial reports on investments and use of resources, and monitors the application of budgetary and project funds. The Trustee creates periodic reports that contain an array of fund-specific financial information.

Since 1992, the GEF has provided USD 17 billion in grants and has mobilised an additional USD 88 billion in loans for 4000 projects in 170 countries. At the last replenishment, 30 donor countries pledged a cumulative USD 4.43 billion for the period 2014 – 2018 (see section on Climate Investment Funds).

Through its Small Grant Program the GEF has invested USD 450 million and has leveraged similar amounts in co-financing in support of community-based projects in over 125 countries.

Eligibility to Receive Funding

Countries are eligible for GEF funding in two ways:

  • The country has ratified the Conventions that the GEF serves, and meets the eligibility criteria decided by the COP of each convention;
  • The country is already eligible to receive World Bank funds or is a recipient of technical assistance from the UNDP.

Regional Focus: GEF funds are available for developing countries and economies in transition in order to meet the objectives of International Environmental Conventions and Agreements.

Sector Focus

The GEF grants support low-carbon and climateresilient development projects in recipient countries. These include activities related to green growth and sustainable development strategies and plans, the conservation and management of protected areas, and biodiversity conservation. The protection of forests and soils, the recovery of marginal lands, sustainable land and water management, climate adaptation and risk management, including risk insurance, are also examples of activities that can be funded. Furthermore, the GEF seeks to enhance transboundary cooperation and the management of shared water resources in order to mitigate water pollution and to build capacity and cooperation across river basins, aquifers, and seas.

Funding Conditions

All projects or programs must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible for GEF funding:

  • National priority: The project must be country-driven and consistent with

national priorities that support sustainable development;

  • GEF priorities: The project has to address one or more GEF focal areas i.e. biodiversity, international waters, land degradation, chemicals and waste, and climate change, as well as cross-cutting issues like sustainable forest management;
  • Financing: The GEF would only cover the incremental costs of measures to achieve global environmental benefits;
  • Participation: The project must involve the public in project design and implementation, it must follow the Public Involvement in GEFFinanced Projects policies and the respective guidelines.

Application Procedure

Proposals to the SGP are submitted to the Designated National Coordinator. As long as a project proposal addresses the SGP’s three main objectives; solving local environmental problems, poverty reduction, and local empowerment, the SGP application process is less competitive and is more accessible to often-marginalized groups like indigenous and illiterate communities. Applicants are allowed to make video presentations of their project proposals and are able to sign documents with fingerprints. The minimal requirements include:

  • Designation of a responsible party (does not have to be an organization);
  • An established bank account; • Contribute (in-kind) to co-financing.


GEF Secretariat: 1818 H Street, NW. Washington, DC 20433, U.S.

Tel: +1 202 473-0508

Fax: +1 202 522-3240/3245


Contact form:

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