Why behavior change matters to the GEF and what to do about it

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 demonstrate how these six levers can be used in various combinations to target behavior change. The case studies focus on: reducing wild meat consumption through economic incentives (Brazil); arresting land degradation by returning to traditional agricultural systems (Mexico); reducing overfishing by strengthening collaboration among fisherfolk (Indonesia); enhancing silvopastoral systems through peer-to-peer learning and payment for ecosystem services (Colombia); and reducing rhino poaching by empowering stakeholders to protect rhinos while improving local livelihoods (Namibia). Each case study describes: the behavioral challenges; targeted behaviors - what was being sought, and who should participate; interventions used; outputs and outcomes; and the knowledge and learning achieved by stakeholders.

Based on the scientific literature, and a synthesis of case studies, approaches and tools, STAP recommends that a checklist of 6 issues should be addressed, with supporting questions, in designing and implementing GEF projects. STAP’s advisory document, the literature review on behavior science, and the synthesis can be accessed through the links below.

Date: 
November, 2020
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