The GEF would provide new and additional grants and concessional funding to cover the “incremental” or additional costs associated with transforming a project with national benefits into one with global environmental benefits.

Areas of Work

The GEF projects address five focal areas –

  • Biodiversity
  • Climate change
  • Land degradation
  • Chemicals and waste
  • International waters

The cross-cutting areas are sustainable forest management and capacity development. The GEF 6 cycle is also piloting three integrated approaches on sustainable cities, taking deforestation out of commodity supply chain and food security in Africa.

The GEF programming directions PDF (2.1 MB)and SCCF programming for the GEF-6 PDF (853 KB)cycle provides the funding priorities in detail.


The range of financing provided is as follows:

  • Full-Sized (FSPs) are over USD 2 million and are approved by GEF Council.
  • Medium-Sized Projects (MSPs) are up to USD 2 million and are approved through an expedited process.
  • Enabling Activities (EAs) are funds to meet the national reporting requirements of the countries to the conventions. These grants could be accessed either through a GEF agency or in a limited amount, directly by the country.
  • Small grants programme (SGP) – Up to USD 50,000 exclusively for NGOs and CBOs

The range of GEF templates:

  • Project Identification Form (PIF) is 8 – 10 page template explaining the concept and is approved by the Council.
  • Project preparation grant (PPG) for FSP/ MSP can be accessed by filling up a section of the PIF template.
  • GEF CEO endorsement template for FSP/ MSP
  • Programme Framework Document (PFD) template providing information on child concepts provides scope to develop programmatic approaches. PFD is approved by the Council and the child FSP/MSP by GEF CEO. PPG request for child FSP/MSP is submitted separately.

Except for limited direct access provision under EA, the GEF projects are developed, monitored and reported by the designated 14 GEF agencies with the implementation support of the national executing partners. For project management, the GEF agencies receive fee which is 9.5% of the total project grant for the stand-alone projects, 9% for child projects under PFDs.

GEF-6 initiatives

  • System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR) is the resource allocation system covering 3 focal areas – biodiversity, climate change and land degradation.
  • Cancellation policy: Timeline for preparing FSP from the date of PIF approval is up to 18 months and delay in submission will lead to cancellation of the project by the Council.
  • Project cycle streamlined: The templates and the process of approval has been simplified.
  • Limited direct access allows GEF providing resources directly to the countries in GEF 6 for National Portfolio Formulation Exercise and National reporting to the Conventions
  • Enhanced avenues of interaction between GEF and member countries with reformed GEF corporate program
  • Pilot on Non-Grant Instrument
  • Introduction of three Integrated Approaches

GEF 6 programming

India has received a country allocation of USD 130.58 m for GEF-6 cycle:

  • USD 87.88 m for climate change
  • USD 36.87 m for biodiversity
  • USD 5.83 m for land degradation

The programming for the GEF-6 cycle has commenced. The focus is on developing projects linked to identified national priorities with visible / measurable impacts and high replication potential. A tentative list of project pipeline PDF (213 KB)has been developed.

The Ministry organized a GEF National Workshop with GEF Secretariat on May 12 – 13, 2015 at New Delhi to finalize the project pipeline for GEF-6 cycle and to review the impact of completed GEF project in India. (Meeting proceedings)

GEF India project submission instructions:

In India, at the PIF stage, the written co-financing commitment letter is a mandatory requirement. The projects are endorsed by GEF OFP India both at the PIF and MSP/ FSP stage.

Eligibility criteria for GEF projects

What is GEFable?

  • The GEF grant provides for incremental costs attached to the ongoing developmental work of the national/ state governments to transform a project with national benefits into one with global environmental benefits (as detailed out by the Conference of the Parties of the multi-lateral environmental conventions including CBD, UNFCCC, UNCCD, Stockholm and Minamata Conventions).
  • The GEF projects and programs address the drivers to deal the ‘root causes’ of environmental degradation, which is critical to slow and eventually reverse adverse environmental trends.
  • The GEF projects are generally aimed at supporting recipient countries to innovate/ take risks to pilot/demonstrate a technique, process, management practice, policy etc to enhance national/local development initiatives in an environment-friendly manner. The GEF projects help in identifying and piloting/demonstrating models to catalyze systemic impact and creating a stronger enabling environment. In other words, the GEF projects facilitate –
  • Transforming policy and institutional framework
  • Create a demonstration effect through innovation
  • Mobilize diverse stakeholders
  • Measure challenges and codify solutions
  • Set standards to shift markets
  • Invest in green infrastructure
  • These pilots/demonstrations may then be scaled up / mainstreamed through government programs/ schemes/ policies to have a larger impact.
  • The GEF projects focus on results and knowledge sharing.
  • The GEF only co-funds – this is the reason why GEF grant generally constitutes about or less than ¼ of the total project cost. As noted earlier, the GEF funding provides only for the incremental costs. The rest is co-funding from the respective Government program/ scheme – which are called as a ‘baseline project/ program’, and other partner organizations that may provide additional co-funding.
  • The GEF projects should have a clear scaling up potential. The GEF pilots/demonstrations should lead to scaling up/ mainstreaming. Such linkages are generally incorporated in design of the projects through specific activities that increase chances for follow up on the project.
  • The GEF generally does not fund scaling up projects. However, in some situations it may provide funding for capacity building activities in a large scale scaling up project – where funding for scaling up is provided for by other cofounders (i.e. generally government) and where support for capacity building – within such projects – may be linked with clear additional global environmental benefits.

What is not GEFable?

  • The GEF does not fund business as usual projects with no clear global environmental benefits.
  • The GEF projects are not ‘stand alone’ projects – the GEF grant is always linked to an ongoing national/ state government program/ scheme/ project. This helps in not only ensuring national ownership but also scaling up after the GEF project is completes.
  • The GEF normally doesn’t support a similar kind of project in the same country (as it may pertain to funding scaling up initiative which should be done through national / state resources and not through GEF grant).

Global Environment Benefit:

Defined as outcomes that, directly or indirectly, have positive impacts on global environmental sustainability. The portfolio of projects and programs implemented under each of these focal areas is expected to directly or indirectly contribute to its respective agreed global environmental benefits and expected national socio-economic benefits.

Incremental reasoning:

GEF funds the “incremental” or additional costs associated with transforming a project with national benefits into one with global environmental benefits. The 5 steps of determining incremental reasoning are:

  • Presentation of “Business as usual” (or, what would happen without the GEF?)
  • Identification of global environmental benefits and strategic fit
  • Provision of incremental reasoning and GEF’s role
  • Development of the results framework of the intervention
  • Negotiation of the role of co-financing.

Co-financing: As GEF provides incremental funding, the projects require mandatory co-finance. This could be in the form of grants, concessional or market rate loans, credits, equity investments and committed in-kind support. Co-financing ration reflects on the ownership and further replication potential of the project interventions without GEF investment.

Public Involvement:

While developing GEF projects, there should be emphasis on local participation and local stakeholders; specific conditions in-country should be taken into consideration; and public involvement should be consistent with the provision of GEF Instrument.

GEF projects and GEF agencies need to follow GEF’s policy on Environmental & Social Safeguard and Gender Mainstreaming which is approved by the Council, recently.