News Updates

News from the Chair

Greetings! STAP has been very busy over the last few months, working with the GEF Secretariat and agencies helping to build sound science into the GEF’s new Impact Programs (IPs) on Food Systems, Land Use and Restoration, and Sustainable Landscapes in drylands, and the Congo and Amazon basins.... Read More

Advice to the GEF

The STAP Panel provides advice to the GEF on strategies, policies and projects. During each replenishment phase, STAP analyzes the environmental priorities for the GEF which involves identifying key themes for GEF investments to protect & enhance the global environment while contributing to sustainable development...Read More

Recent Publications

  • In the 28 years since the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was created, a digital revolution has taken place. Data from satellite remote sensing and other Earth observation technology have become much more regular, widespread, less costly and accessible. Together with scientific and technological advances such as cloud computing, machine learning, and data sharing, these data offer more opportunity to observe, monitor, and predict environmental and social phenomena with greater efficiency and precision.

    Many GEF projects and programs are using Earth observation data to design, implement, monitor, and evaluate interventions. However, the uptake and use of Earth observation technology by GEF agencies is uneven. Since 2017, the Project Information Form (PIF) requires project proponents to provide a map and geo-coordinates of the project’s location.  A PIF map could benefit from being integrated with information derived from Earth observation, but there...

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  • GEF investments are increasingly exposed to risks associated with climate change and natural disasters. At the same time, GEF funding contributes to the resilience of human and natural systems in the face of these risks. The need to systematically identify and address climate and disaster-related risks across GEF investments was identified by STAP and recognized by the GEF Council in 2010 (GEF/C.39/Inf.18, Enhancing Resilience to Reduce Climate Risks: Scientific Rationale for the Sustained Delivery of Global Environmental Benefits in GEF Focal Areas). The GEF Council asked STAP to examine the effects of climate change on GEF projects. More recently, the UNFCCC COP requested the GEF to “to take into consideration climate risks in all its programs and operations, as appropriate, keeping in mind lessons learned and best practices” (2016).

    In December 2018, the GEF Council approved a new Environmental and Social Safeguards...

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  • A large proportion – up to half – of the world’s land area is used or communally-managed by indigenous people and local communities (IPLCs). This includes a large share of the planet’s remaining high-quality, high-biodiversity ecosystems. These lands are critical for achieving global environmental benefits related to biodiversity, climate change mitigation, and addressing land degradation through the management and conservation of wild species, forests, and drylands – here collectively referred to as “wild resources”.

    However, governance over much of these lands is weak. Communities have no legally recognized tenure – a fundamental basis for robust governance – over around 80% of...

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  • In 2015 the UNCCD introduced the new concept of Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN), which was later adopted as a target of Goal 15 of the SDGs, Life on Land: 120 countries have committed to pursue voluntary LDN targets.

    The objectives of LDN are to: maintain or improve the sustainable delivery of ecosystem services; maintain or improve productivity, in order to enhance food security; increase resilience of the land and populations dependent on the land; seek synergies with other social, economic and environmental objectives; and reinforce responsible and inclusive governance of land.

    The fundamental aim of LDN is to preserve the land resource base, by ensuring no net loss of healthy and productive land,...

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  • Investment in GEF-7 is increasingly seeking greater integration and more innovation, and for investments to be scaled to deliver transformational change and consequently much more impact. The GEF needs to be confident that global environmental benefits will endure. 

    The extensive literature on achieving project outcomes and impact increasingly emphasises success factors focused specifically on durability. The simple logic chain here is that engaging key stakeholders and incentivising them will build stakeholder trust and motivation; building the capacity of stakeholders and institutions as part of incentivising them as well as emphasising diversity of inputs will help ensure enduring capacity and financing; emphasising diversity and adaptability along with a good application of systems thinking and...

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  • The GEF was created to be innovative in its design, governance, and operation. Determining how the GEF would be "innovative" in technology, promoting policies, sector transformation, and business models, has been a central debate ever since. The GEF has evolved in many ways -- expanding its scope, adding more agency partners, testing new modalities, and more. Nevertheless, the world in which it operates has changed even more dramatically.

    The GEF invests about $1 billion each year. Public expenditure will never be enough to solve major environmental problems. This means doing much more with the funds available: finding ways to leverage more investment for each GEF dollar, identifying creative uses of emerging technologies, and engaging a wider range of...

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  • A valuable lesson from past ‘innovative’ or ‘novel’ solutions to human challenges is the later realization that some choices led to unintended harm to the Earth’s system. For instance, chlorofluorocarbons -  introduced for use in the manufacture of aerosol sprays, blowing agents, solvents, and as replacements for toxic refrigerants -  were later discovered to deplete stratospheric ozone. Similarly, several chemicals intended to improve agriculture and industrial processes, such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), were later found to be persistent pollutants that harm the ecosystem and human health. One of the challenges for the GEF is deciding which new technologies offer solutions that can increase global...

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  • This report examines sustainable land management (SLM) and its potential as an integrative strategy to address multiple environmental and sustainable development objectives. It highlights the linkages between SLM and soil health, land degradation, food security, climate changes mitigation and adaptation. The report is intended to provide information and guidance on fostering SLM, to a wide range of stakeholders involved in agriculture, environmental management and sustainable development. It aims to support investment in SLM by the GEF, particularly investments in pursuit of Land Degradation Neutrality. This report:

    • explores the anthropogenic and natural drivers of land degradation, and the potential environmental and socioeconomic benefits of SLM;
    • examines the role of SLM in addressing the critical challenge of global food security
    • describes the key processes of land degradation and their impacts, as the basis for developing good...
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  • Food production will need to significantly increase in order to feed the growing global population. However, the current mainly linear food production and consumption model has had significant deleterious effects on the environment, including land degradation, climate change, biodiversity loss, deforestation, chemical pollution, freshwater abstraction, and fresh and marine water pollution. This STAP paper presents solutions that can help improve the sustainability of current agri-food system in both the short and long terms. It highlights the role of a circular economy approach in tackling the problem and concludes with a set of advice to the Global Environment Facility on its possible role in improving the sustainability of...

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  • Plastics are one of the world’s greatest industrial innovations, but the sheer scale of their production and poor disposal practices are resulting in growing negative effects on human health and the environment, including on climate change, marine pollution, biodiversity, and chemical contamination, which require urgent action. The circular economy, an alternative to current linear, make, use, dispose, economy model, has been proposed as a solution to plastic pollution challenge. In this paper, the STAP analysed the role of the circular economy in solving the plastic challenge...

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