Global Environment Facility

Investing in agriculture to improve the global environment

FAO assists member countries to mobilize financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as one of 10 agencies through which countries can request GEF funds.

The GEF is the designated financial mechanism assisting developing countries in implementing their obligations under a number of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) or conventions. The facility provides financing according to its six Focal Areas (FA), plus two funds supporting adaptation to climate change.

The Investment Centre coordinates FAO’s collaboration with both the GEF Secretariat and other GEF Agencies. We help member countries identify, develop and implement GEF-eligible projects. These projects include co-financing from governments; collaborating agencies; bilateral donors; International Financial Institutions (IFIs); and FAO, including FAO’s Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP).

Since 2001, the Investment Centre has secured approval for more than 30 projects in over 60 countries totalling about USD 300 million in investment, of which more than USD 85 million came from GEF. The charts illustrate the distribution of projects for which GEF funds have been accessed through FAO.

In addition, since 1992 the Investment Centre has helped to prepare another 36 projects approved for execution by other GEF Agencies. These represent total investments to agriculture of more than USD 500 million; of which roughly USD 220 million came from GEF.

Working with FAO to acquire funding from GEF

With guidance and support from the Investment Centre, countries work with the FAO Representations, Regional and Sub-regional Offices and FAO’s technical departments to formulate a project concept [Project Identification Format (PIF)] related to the Focal Area strategies. The Investment Centre then works with the project proponents to ensure it meets the GEF eligibility criteria, and submits the project to GEF for funding consideration. When the PIF is technically cleared by the GEF Secretariat and approved by the GEF Council, FAO assists the project proponents in developing a fully designed, technically sound and operationally feasible project, which is sent to the GEF for final endorsement by the GEF Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The funds are transferred to the recipient country(ies) by FAO, which would also be involved in the project’s implementation, supervision and evaluation.

FAO’s programme priorities and expertise match strategic priorities in the GEF Focal Areas:

GEF Focal Area

FAO expertise and priorities

Biodiversity (BD)

  • Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity important to agriculture
    (plants and animals), forestry and fisheries
  • Sustainable forest management

Climate Change (CC)

  • Bioenergy
  • Carbon stocks conservation in soil and forest and monitoring of carbon fluxes in land use systems (REDD and LULUCF)

International Waters (IW)

  • Implementation of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries
  • Ecosystem approach to sustainable fisheries management
  • Integrated water resources and watershed management

Land Degradation (LD)

  • Sustainable land and water management
  • Sustainable forest management

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

  • Pesticide life-cycle management through implementation of the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides
  • Inventory, safeguard, elimination and prevention of obsolete pesticides; Integrated pest management

Adaptation (LDCF/SCCF)

  • Adaptation in agriculture, forest and grazing production systems



FAO and the Global Environment

Related Links

MEAs under which the GEF operates:

» Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

» UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

» Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

» UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

GEF Climate Change Funds:

Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF).


1992 FAO begins contributing to execution of GEF projects led by UNDP, UNEP and the WB

2001 FAO becomes a GEF Executing Agency, with direct access to POP funds

2006 FAO is given direct access to funds in all GEF focal areas