News Updates

News from the Chair

Rosina Bierbaum (2nd from left), Chair of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) addressed the 57th Council of Countries this week in Washington, DC. Professor Bierbaum explained how new science warns that the confluence of accelerating... 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

  • Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are defined by IUCN as “actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits."

    This paper: reviews of some of the recent literature on NbS; presents an analysis of 30 GEF NbS projects, and similar analyses by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation of their NbS projects; and the outcomes of a workshop held in May 2020 with 40 experts from philanthropy, academia, NGOs, GEF Secretariat and agencies, and STAP, held in conjunction with WCS and the Moore Foundation.

    The paper identifies some challenges posed by NbS, offers advice on how to improve project design, and indicates future research and practitioner needs for NbS.

  • Over the last 6 months, STAP has reviewed what a science and technology perspective can contribute to the GEF’s thinking about replenishment for GEF-8.

    A brief review of the latest science on global environmental change leads to two compelling conclusions. 

    First, the drivers of global change have contributed to increased systemic risk, despite good intentions and some positive progress. The bottom line is that greenhouse gas emissions are increasing, as is the rate of biodiversity loss, there is still net land degradation, aquifers are being depleted, waste is increasing, most fisheries are overfished, and ocean pollution is becoming more pervasive.  

    The White Paper on a GEF COVID-19 response strategy sets out the background to the pandemic and the opportunities for GEF...

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  • Technology critical elements (TCEs), including rare earth elements, the platinum group elements, and other relatively scarce metals, are essential for many emerging and green technologies, including renewable energy, energy security, energy storage, electronics, and urban development, and agriculture. However, the extraction of TCEs can have potentially harmful effects on ecosystems and human health when released into the environment. This STAP report provides a review of the benefits and the cost of TCEs and highlights solutions to managing their impacts. The report also presents recommendations that the GEF could consider in its investments and projects to manage the risks of TCEs and harness the opportunities it presents.

  • The Global Environment Facility (GEF) seeks to address the root causes and consequences of global environmental change by transforming markets and behaviors:  unsustainable practices and behaviors are at the heart of the drivers of global environmental change, and responding to these can help to transform systems. To strengthen the GEF’s project and program design by explicitly embedding behavior change strategies, STAP developed an Advisory Document, “Why behavior change matters to the GEF and what to do about it”, based on one of the many behavior change frameworks reported in the literature. Developed by Rare, this framework has six particular strategic levers, three of these have been used traditionally - material incentives, rules and regulations, and information. Decisions are also affected by three other levers, the context in which choices are made, emotional appeals, and social influences.

    STAP’s advisory document summarizes five case studies that...

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  • The GEF's chemicals and waste focal area's objectives are strongly interlinked with those of other focal areas. The production, use, and management of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), mercury, ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are major drivers of biodiversity loss, climate change, land degradation, and impact on international waters. Chemicals and waste are also interlinked with socio-economic issues, including human health, food security, poverty, gender equality, and economic improvements. Hence, the sound management of chemicals will deliver multiple benefits across all of GEF's focal areas; and yield other environmental benefits outside of GEF's focal areas and provide socio-economic gains. This STAP advisory report presents some of the interlinkages between the goals of the chemicals and waste focal area and those of other GEF focal areas, as well as the interactions with other environmental and socio-economic issues. It also discusses systems thinking...

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  • The GEF is committed to enhancing integration across sectors, catalysing innovation to alter systems that degrade the global environment and leveraging multi-stakeholder coalitions to influence transformational change across scales. This Guidance Note offers advice on the principles and practices that contribute to effective design and implementation of multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD) to address GEF priorities. The primary emphasis is on the use of MSD processes to contribute to regional or global coalitions for transformational change that integrate private sector actors, including multinational corporations, industry associations and private financial institutions.

    The Note uses the term MSD to refer to sustained dialogue enabling collaborative action among diverse stakeholders at multiple scales, explicitly aiming for transformational change in systems that can generate global environmental benefits. Four models of...

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  • At a virtual retreat on 1 April, Rosina Bierbaum, the STAP Chair, made a presentation to the GEF agencies on how STAP and the GEF secretariat screen for climate risk in reviewing GEF projects.

    This exemplified what STAP and the GEF secretariat look for in response to the four questions on climate risk in STAP's screening guidelines (June 2018):

    1. How will the project's objectives or outputs be affected by climate risks over, not just the implementation phase, but 2020 to 2050, and have the impact of these risks been addressed adequately?
    2. Has the sensitivity to climate change, and its impacts, been assessed?
    3. Have resilience practices and measures to address projected climate risks and impacts been considered? How will these be dealt with?
    4. What technical and institutional capacity, and information, will be needed to address climate risks and resilience enhancement measures?

    Dr. Bierbaum's presentation, and...

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  • November 2019, STAP and The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation held a workshop in November on multi-stakeholder dialogue and transformational change in social-ecological systems at the Moore Foundation headquarters in Palo Alto, California. The GEF and the Moore Foundation have shared programming interests, on biodiversity conservation in the Amazon, and on reducing the loss and degradation of forest ecosystems from the production of agricultural commodities. At the core of the GEF and the Moore Foundation’s work is creating the conditions to maximize impact through scaling, creating enduring change, and transforming social-ecological systems to maintain their resilience. 

    The workshop considered three topics: 

    •             What is the evidence regarding the role of multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD) in influencing transformation in social-ecological systems?

    •             What lessons can be derived from past experiences regarding strategies to...

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  • This primer provides a synthesis of guidance specifically aimed at carrying out Theory of Change in processes in a GEF context. The document is part of a growing suite of STAP documents intended to support the design of interventions within GEF's goal to apply leading practices to deliver transformational change. The primer provides a brief overview of the origin of Theory of Change; defines what is a Theory of Change; explains why developing and carrying out a Theory of Changes is necessary; describes when to do a Theory of Change; and, provides a succinct guide on how to do a Theory of Change. The primer also makes a distinction between Theory of Changes for projects and programs - given their distinct cycles. In addition, the document provides, examples of...

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  • Blockchain has been identified as a technology that can be used to address several sustainable development challenges, including for solving environmental challenges. STAP's paper on Novel Entities identified it as an important technology that can be beneficial to the work of the GEF. In this paper, STAP explores further how blockchain can contribute to achieving the objectives of the focal areas and Impact Programs of the GEF. The paper is based on a review of the relevant literature, and a STAP workshop that brought together experts on the environmental applictation of blockchain and members of the GEF Partnership. The paper explains what blockchain is and how blockchain could be used to deliver...

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