The STAP report to the 7th GEF Assembly was prepared to fulfill STAP’s terms of reference to submit a quadrennial report to the GEF Assembly that considers the state of the science, emerging issues, and gaps, looking ahead to the next replenishment period. The report highlights advances in science related to achieving transformational change, noting the need for GEF-8 and beyond to deliver more, enduring, GEBs, and to do so in ways that lead to systems transformation.
It notes six key entry points to achieving transformation and shows that GEF investments, especially the Integrated Programs, can contribute significantly, directly or indirectly, to them. These include: sustainable food systems and resource use (including land, water, and oceans); sustainable urban and peri-urban development (including smart cities and communities); energy decarbonization (including through renewables) and sustainable industries; education, engagement of women and youth, and equity for other marginalized populations; human health, well-being, capacity, and demography; and sustainable and just economies built on new development models and measures of progress.
The report shows that delivering the desired transformations will require going beyond small tweaks and incremental changes to existing systems. Instead, comprehensive and holistic solutions need to be adopted to help remodel complex societal, political, economic, and technical structures and incorporate innovations in technology, finance, business models, policy, behaviours, and institutions.
For the GEF, achieving transformation will require: 1) projects to be integrated and deliver enduring outcomes; 2) integrated programming and focal areas to support innovation and systems transformation; 3) internal portfolios to provide strategy, tools, and systems that promote adaptive and integrated approaches to transformation and knowledge management and learning; and 4) that the GEF deploys its leverage to engage, support, and influence broader alliances to transform global economic systems and knowledge partnerships.
To prepare for GEF-9, the report advises that the GEF implements the following recommendations:
- Develop a clear risk framework.
- Develop a more systematic approach to innovation.
- Establish a GEF-wide strategy and implementation plan to address policy coherence across all operational levels.
- Identify which co-benefits of GEF investments need to be tracked and why and establish systems to report on them.
- Establish a new knowledge management and learning system.
- Consider including the voices and roles of youth and other marginalized groups, such as Indigenous Peoples, in the design and implementation of investments.
- Strategically prioritize the GEF’s engagement in external partnerships.