IUCN’s partnership with the Global Environment Facility – an update

Since gaining accreditation as a Project Agency with the Global Environment Facility in 2014, IUCN has laid important groundwork and is now set to scale up its work on biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration and sustainable development.

For the past two years IUCN has been developing, in cooperation with regional offices and Members, a portfolio of projects that has a total value of around USD 45 million. This portfolio, to be approved during the period 2016 to 2018, includes 12 global, regional and national projects, and is on track to become a financially sustainable programme from 2019.


Projects in the pipeline

There are a number of projects at various stages in the pipeline, including the following selection.

  • Through a regional approach, IUCN will support Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar in the sustainable management of their peatlands.
  • In Nepal, IUCN will support the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation in implementing the Nagoya Protocol on access to, and sharing the benefits of, natural resources.
  • In Chad, IUCN will work to achieve improved management of buffer zones around important protected areas in order to maximise their benefits for people, ecosystem function and biodiversity.
  • As part of a Global Programme, The Restoration Initiative, IUCN is collaborating with the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization, supporting countries in fulfilling their pledges to the Bonn Challenge through GEF funding.
  • The Chinese Government is reviewing the management of the country’s state-owned forests and is seeking IUCN-GEF support to safeguard biodiversity and restore ecosystems.
  • Rehabilitating the agricultural sector is a priority in Guinea Bissau where GEF finance is set to boost the restoration of mangroves that are critical to secure the land on which traditional rice production takes place.

In addition to developing the portfolio, IUCN’s GEF Coordination Unit has prepared a number of supporting documents to guide the development and management of the portfolio. The Secretariat will continue to develop the portfolio in close cooperation with Members and Commissions.


Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS)

An initial version of the ESMS, developed in 2013-2014 as a pre-condition for GEF accreditation, established a framework of four social and environmental Standards and nine Principles. While this version was successful in achieving accreditation, it was recognised that a larger and more inclusive effort was needed to adjust the framework so that it more effectively reflects the typical risks faced by IUCN projects.

During 2015, four workshops were held at IUCN headquarters and three in the regions (Latin America, Africa and Asia) to train staff on how to address risks and build safeguards into IUCN projects, as well as gather feedback on refining the system. In parallel, the ESMS was tested on all projects funded under the Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme, as well as on projects being prepared for GEF funding. Lessons learned from this early application, together with the inputs from the validation workshops, has allowed major improvements in the ESMS framework and its implementation.

The updated ESMS was shared through the Union Portal for a final IUCN-wide consultation (including Commission members) in February 2016. The updated version integrating the feedback from the consultation will be released in April and will be applied to all IUCN projects above CHF 500,000 as of May 2016.


Green Climate Fund accreditation

IUCN’s work in helping developing countries tackle climate change received a major boost with the recent announcement that the organization has been accredited by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). More can be read here. This builds on IUCN’s GEF accreditation and further underlines the important role that nature-based solutions play in mitigation of, and adaptation to climate change.

The GCF is the financial arm of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It was established in 2010 to respond to the need of developing countries for financial support to deal with the causes and consequences of climate change. The GCF Secretariat is expected to allocate partly the US$ 100 billion per year by 2020 commitment made by advanced economies to help developing countries achieve a low-carbon economy and climate-resilient development.

GCF accreditation means IUCN can develop and submit funding proposals for projects and programmes to the Fund and oversee their implementation. Every GCF recipient country has a National Designated Authority (NDA) which acts as the interface between the country and the GCF. Working with NDAs, many of them being IUCN Members, and other Members and Commissions, IUCN will design projects in support of the IUCN Programme 2017-2020.


Moving ahead

Having built a solid foundation, IUCN will continue to develop the partnerships with the GEF and GCF under the aegis of IUCN’s One Programme Charter. This will involve building a sustainable portfolio of projects and establishing the project management systems needed for successful implementation.


For further information on the GEF-IUCN partnership, contact the IUCN GEF Coordination Unit: [email protected]

Go to top