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GEF CEO Proposes Shorter Project Cycle and Reduced Pipeline at Council Meeting

8 December 2006: The Global Environment Facility's (GEF) CEO Monique Barbut opened the 5-8 December 2006 Council meeting in Washington DC, US, with a proposed “Five Point Sustainability Compact to Increase Efficiency and Impact.” Her proposal included: shifting from a project-driven to a programmatic approach by focusing strategies on a clear set of priority issues for the global environment; reducing the current project pipeline in half; appointing an “Ombudsman” in the GEF Secretariat to respond to country concerns or complaints; and redesigning the project approval cycle to reduce it from 66 to 22 months.

The Council adopted decisions on several issues, including decisions to: consider options to reduce project preparation and approval cycles to less than 22 months; adopt objective criteria for project selection, pipeline management and cancellation; recommend to the Fourth GEF Assembly to designate GEF as the financial mechanism for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and further consider the roles and comparative advantages of GEF Agencies. The Council also approved a biosafety strategy to enhance the cost-effectiveness of capacity building efforts to implement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The strategy will require all projects to perform a stock-taking assessment to determine clearly defined targets, and will promote the funding of regional and subregional full-sized projects when there are opportunities for cost-effective sharing of limited resources and coordination between biosafety frameworks. It will also promote medium-sized country projects or multi-country thematic projects when these are most effective. On 8 December, the Council also approved new projects within the Climate Change Convention's Special Climate Change Fund and Least Developed Country Fund (SCCF and LDC Funds). [GEF CEO's speech, 5 December 2006] [GEF Talking Points, November 2006] [GEF Council Documents, December 2006]