GEF'S STRATEGY FOR ACHIEVING

"SUSTAINED BENEFITS IN BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION"

DRAFT NOT FOR QUOTATION

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Strategic Expansions of the GEF Biodiversity Program
  3. GEF Strategy for Achieving Sustained Benefits in Biodiversity Conservation
  4. Figure 1: GEF Strategy for Achieving Sustained Benefits in Biodiversity Conservation

1. INTRODUCTION

Since its inception, the GEF has developed considerable experience in furthering the objective of securing and enhancing global conservation objectives through its projects and programs. Between FY1992 and FY2000 the GEF provided over $1.18 billion to cover the incremental costs of biodiversity conservation in 395 projects in 123 countries. The GEF also mobilized an additional $2.01 billion in co-financing from counterpart contributions from national and local governments, international donors, project beneficiaries, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector. However, despite measurable progress, recommendations emerging from both the assessment of the biodiversity portfolio and special thematic reviews have clearly concluded that there is a necessity, as well as an opportunity, for the GEF to expand and deepen its support for biodiversity conservation. Indeed, the flexibility of the GEF "to respond to changing circumstances, including evolving guidance of the Conference of the Parties, and experience gained from monitoring and evaluation" is central to GEF's operational principles and its ability to remain innovative and responsive to its mandate.

This paper proposes, on the basis of specific experience and feedback in the biodiversity focal area, a strategy for the GEF to enhance biodiversity conservation by the adoption of a couple of strategic expansions. The first relates to the scope of operations and calls for the GEF to expand from a largely protected areas focus to one that accommodates the overall landscape. This would ensure that biodiversity is conserved and secured within protected areas, and that the vast potential for biodiversity conservation within the production landscapes is harnessed. The second relates to the modalities of operations, and calls for the GEF to move beyond its current project-based emphasis to more strategic based interventions. This would emphasize more directly and systematically the countries' enabling environment so that biodiversity conservation can be addressed programmatically and mainstreamed in the wider development context.

These strategic expansions are critical to ensuring that the GEF continues to maintain a leadership role in demonstrating and catalyzing action for the integration of global biodiversity objectives into the larger sustainable development agenda of its client countries. They are also consistent with the call to the GEF to be increasingly strategic in its influence on global environmental trends.

2. STRATEGIC EXPANSIONS OF THE GEF BIODIVERSITY PROGRAM

This section provides a brief summary of the rationale underlying the strategic expansions being proposed.

2.1 GEF's Biodiversity Program

The GEF is the financial mechanism for the Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD). The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD sets priorities for the countries to meet their obligations to the three major objectives of the Convention, namely conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. The COP also provides guidance to the GEF to assist countries to implement these priorities through specific activities that also reflect national priorities.

The collective decisions of the COP as they relate to the three objectives of the Convention, the thematic ecosystems (inland waters, forests, marine and coastal, and drylands), and cross-cutting issues (taxonomy, alien species, education and awareness, incentive measures) has increased with each Convention meeting. However, at a broader level, there is a systematic pattern which can be observed in these decisions: it is one which increasingly emphasizes more holistic, integrated and ecosystem-approach based strategies. The guidance from the COP to the GEF has followed a similar pattern.

From the outset, the GEF Operational Strategy recognized that sequencing of GEF tasks involve a dynamic process, shaped in part by the evolving nature of guidance from the relevant Conventions, and the increased capacity for program development. The GEF Operational Programs provide the framework through which the guidance from the COP is operationalized. As reflected in the GEF Operational Strategy all GEF funded activities in biodiversity are in full conformity with the guidance from the COP.

The GEF provides funding for projects through its operational programs, enabling activities (including clearing house mechanisms, and short-term (emergency, opportunistic) response measures. The biodiversity focal area initially had four operational programs which are organized by thematic ecosystems, namely: arid and semi arid; coastal, marine and freshwater; forest and mountains. The operational programs are revised and, if necessary, new ones created to allow for effective response to the COP guidance. The new Operational Program on agrobiodiversity was a direct response to the guidance from the Convention, and provides increased opportunities for more landscape-based approaches to maximize biodiversity conservation. Another new Operational Program, Integrated Ecosystem Management, stresses the multiplicity of global benefits (i.e. biodiversity, climate change, and international waters) that can be harnessed through a comprehensive approach (emphasizing technical assistance, policy linkages, enabling environment) to managing natural systems within the context of sustainable development. This Operational Program is becoming increasingly important in delivering on biodiversity benefits given the need for more comprehensive approaches.

The GEF support to countries has been in tandem with the guidance provided through the Conference of the Parties (COP). The initial emphasis of the support sought by countries from the GEF was for "in-situ" activities within and adjacent to conservation areas, including designated areas of biological importance . Correspondingly, more than 70% of GEF projects in the current biodiversity portfolio have focused largely on protected areas. These include globally recognized categories such as National Parks, Biosphere Reserves, World Heritage Sites, Ramsar sites, Marine Protected Areas, etc., and also nationally or locally significant categories such as Nature Reserves, Nature Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries and Wildlife Reserves.

The project implementation reviews, undertaken by the M&E Unit of the GEF Secretariat, indicate that substantial progress has been made in achieving the objective of conserving global biodiversity within protected areas and their buffer zones. These projects have resulted not only in improved management of existing protected areas, but in the identification, establishment and management of new protected areas. Nevertheless, a number of recommendations have been proposed to continue to improve performance, as outlined in the Program Performance Report (1999), including the need to address sustainable use and conservation through more integrated approaches, and for the need to work across the sectors. These recommendations are also consistent with the more recent guidance from the Convention.

In response to the emergent guidance and country priorities, there have been a growing number of proposals to the GEF which seek to address sustainable use and conservation in the larger production landscapes. Three categories of sustainable use projects and proposals can be distinguished in the GEF portfolio: (i) those that address sustainable use in protected areas and in their buffer zones; (ii) those that overlay biodiversity concerns in the production landscape and identify uses that optimize biodiversity conservation; and (iii) those that focus on economic uses of components of biodiversity per se.

Even as the volume of proposals and projects emphasizing sustainable use is increasing, the GEF recognize the need to act in an informed, cautious manner, drawing on good practice, and sound, ecological and technical advice in meeting the special challenges of addressing sustainable use (and conservation) in the production landscapes through its operational programs. As such, the GEF convened several meetings to investigate this issue, and feedback indicates that activities to protect the global environment can be better sustained in the context of broader programs of action, i.e. that biodiversity conservation within protected areas can only be sustained in the long-term if sufficient attention is given to the activities in the buffer zones and the surrounding landscapes and seascapes . This provides for clearer and consistent response to the COP guidance, and country driven requests to the GEF.

2.2 Scope of Operations: Expansion from largely Protected Areas Focus to a Landscape Focus

This section sets out the basis for GEF's expansion from a largely protected area focus to effectively securing biodiversity within the overall landscape.

The multiplicity of users, stakeholders, options for harvest of products and related technologies, coupled with scientific uncertainty of the impact of the users and or uses on the ecological integrity of the system pose major challenges (conceptual and management) to sustainable use, especially in production landscapes. There is a continuum of management options ranging from strict protection, minimal use and harvest (for non-wood forest products, medicinal plants, etc.), to intensive harvests and conversion of the natural ecosystem for alternative land uses. Besides conversion, which would result in minimal biodiversity conservation, intensive harvesting (especially on large-scale commercial basis) also poses special challenges.

GEF commissioned papers from technical experts, and sought expert advice through various forums to explore options along this continuum, and more specifically to define a role for the GEF. To solicit input from major stakeholders and interested parties, the GEF Secretariat also undertook formal and informal consultations during some key for a. This advice, insights and consultative feedback, together with the feedback from the reviews of our operations and thematic studies, provide compelling scientific and technical reasons for expanding from a largely protected areas focus to an overall landscape focus (for GEF operations).

There is strong and unequivocal agreement that protected areas remain critical centers for biodiversity conservation and that they should continue to be supported as a major thrust of the GEF. Protected areas constitute important storehouses of genetic, species, habitat and ecosystem diversity and are supported by a wide range of stakeholders. However, there is also a strong emerging consensus that it is imperative that conservation efforts extend beyond protected areas for very pragmatic, scientific, and technical reasons. Pragmatically, there are limits to a country's set-aside areas: even the most ambitious exponents of biodiversity protection recognize that there is a ceiling (10-15%) that countries are willing to set aside as protected areas; also, there is clearly a need to balance conservation with sustainable use and sustainable development options to satisfy economic and social needs.

From a scientific standpoint, the scope for biodiversity conservation would be enhanced in moving from "islands" of conservation to networks through the adoption of a landscape approach involving a mosaic of land-uses, including protected and production landscapes. There is also evidence that many species may only be conserved within a matrix of land uses and that natural systems are resilient and may recover if managed to capture such spatial arrangements. It is important to contribute to the development and implementation of processes to facilitate making choices at regional and local levels to balance the land-use mosaic to optimize economic, social and environmental utility.

Technically, whilst sustainable use, and particularly harvest of products, may have adverse impacts on the habitat and biodiversity therein, there are several harvesting measures that could be adopted to enhance the scope for biodiversity conservation. In the case of forests, conservation of biodiversity can be greatly enhance in forests being harvested for timber through setting aside sensitive areas, avoiding logging and skidding on steep slopes, and leaving appropriate buffers along water courses to protect aquatic systems and to provide riparian corridors for movement of fauna.

Even while this holistic, landscape based approach is promoted, it is recognized that there is still much to be understood about the dynamics of sustainable use with biodiversity conservation, and caution should be exercised when seeking to capture biodiversity within the production landscape. This caution was underlined by the fact that real case examples, which may be showcased, are few and far between. The need for close monitoring of biodiversity within production landscapes (such as managed forests) is strongly advocated, as well as the need for management under these circumstances to be adaptive and participatory, guided by continuous feedback. The biggest challenge may stem from the fair allocation among stakeholders of the costs and benefits and trade-offs related to biodiversity conservation. In this regard there is a need to develop adequate institutional, organizational and legal frameworks, with particular attention to the local stakeholders in question. However, sustainable use of a system should go beyond economic criteria to include the non-economic goods and services provided within the total landscape, including cultural, social, and spiritual aspects.

In conclusion, there are a couple of clear and consistent messages resulting from the commentaries: the first is that protected areas should continue to be a cornerstone of (GEF) financing; and the second is that there are very concrete reasons why this focus must be expanded to include the overall production landscapes. However, support for the latter must be underlined by a precautionary approach. How these messages will be accommodated as operational modalities is set out in the next section.

2.3 Modality of Operation: Expansion from largely "stand-alone" Project Based Interventions to more Strategic Interventions

Feedback from consultations indicates that if the benefits of the biodiversity conservation are to be sustained, GEF funded projects need to have increased strategic coherence within local and national development plans and, GEF support should be targeted at the enabling environment to achieve programmatic impacts. This section reviews the current modalities of operation and then sets out the basis for seeking a systematic expansion of GEF operations to maximize biodiversity benefits.

The GEF provides funding for projects through its operational programs, enabling activities and short-term response measures . The bulk of the funding in the biodiversity focal area has been for projects through its ecosystem-based operational programs. Enabling activities, as set out in the GEF Operational Strategy, represent a basic building block of GEF assistance to countries. In this regard, enabling activities would include inventories, compilation of information, policy analysis, and strategies and action plans to fulfill commitments under a relevant Convention. However, to date, GEF funding through enabling activities has been used largely towards fulfilling essential communication requirements to the Convention of Biological Diversity. There is an opportunity here to improve the use of the enabling activity modality more strategically to achieve effective conservation needs and priorities defined in national reports produced by countries.

In general, GEF-financed biodiversity projects address the key threats and underlying causes to achieve the project's objectives. However, there are early indications that while many GEF projects have targeted policy elements, they have not been able to address the systemic root causes, and hence larger policy concerns or reforms that may be required in the production sectors. The Project Performance Review (2000) concluded on the basis of PIRs undertaken of the GEF portfolio over 2-3 years, and on the basis of thematic reviews in biodiversity (and international waters), that "projects will achieve their objectives and be sustainable to the extent that GEF also addresses the broader socio-economic and political context and enabling environment in which they take place". The GEF Operational Strategy recognizes that GEF should concentrate its efforts on proximate and intermediate causes of biodiversity loss and degradation, and that ultimate causes would be addressed through the Implementing Agencies' regular country assistance and programs. Clearly, there is a critical need for improved action at the enabling front, and a need to explore synergies for action to address the taxonomy of root causes.

A thematic study on "Achieving Sustainability of Biodiversity Conservation" confirmed the need for GEF support to be accompanied by, or even proceeded by, a rigorous enabling environment. The study emphasized that: the discussion of "sustainability" should shift from "how can we design a project that will make a contribution to biodiversity conservation, and what does it take to make it sustainable?" to "what does it take for biodiversity to be sustainable, and how can we design a project, together with other activities, to make a contribution to that?" Eight principal factors were identified as critical for sustained biodiversity impact in both protected areas and the wider production landscape.

These observations have been affirmed from other feedback to the GEF. In the case of forests, a CIFOR (Center for International Forest Research) paper commissioned by the GEF Secretariat recognized that it is not the technical obstacles, but rather institutional, capacity, and enabling environment constraints that inhibit the successful integration or harnessing of biodiversity in production forests . A review of 44 GEF financed forest projects implemented through the World Bank also confirmed that policy reforms and supporting legislation are the highest priorities to obtain significant global impacts, especially given limited funds.

The Regional Assessments study undertaken as part of the GEF Capacity Building Initiative also recognized the need for a greater emphasis on the "enabling environment" as an essential complement to ensure effective implementation and sustainability of projects. In fact, the synthesis report concludes that "if GEF projects are to effectively develop capacity, and thus be sustainable, all GEF projects should include goal related participatory self assessments of capacity in their preparation, should focus on national ownership and leadership, and emphasize long term programmatic processes, rather than short term product oriented projects (CDI Synthesis report, pp. 71)". An Assessment of Capacity Development Efforts of Other Development Cooperation Agencies confirm that "the shortcomings of short, project based, approaches have also been recognized and there has been an evolution towards longer term program approaches".

The consistency of this observation and the recommendation to the GEF to target the broader enabling environment must be given serious consideration if effective and sustainable biodiversity conservation, both within protected areas and the larger production landscape, is to be secured. Targeting the enabling environment would require a systematic focus on the regulatory, institutional and policy framework, and where capacity building (at the individual, institutional and systemic levels) would be a central part of this effort.

A strong and flexible enabling environment is a critical support system for realizing long-term programmatic goals and impacts. The proposed evolution to GEF support to recipient countries through a more programmatic approach is already underway. The programmatic approach goes beyond stand alone projects: it would be a phased multiyear program, scaled to local institutional capacity, and with discipline provided by results-oriented milestones and effective monitoring and evaluation systems, as essential for the achievement of sustained biodiversity conservation. The support and assistance for such a program must be managed in an adaptive way, building on feedback from experience.

3. GEF STRATEGY FOR ACHIEVING SUSTAINED BENEFITS IN BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION

3.1 General remarks

It is clear that activities to protect the global environment can be better sustained when set in the context of broader programs of action. In the case of biodiversity, conservation benefits can be sustained in the longer term if sufficient attention is given to activities in the buffer zones and the surrounding landscapes (and seascapes). The importance of extending the scope of conservation and sustainable use efforts to the production landscapes is buttressed by pragmatic, scientific, and technical arguments. However, efforts to implement responses are dependent upon the enabling environment and tackling root causes.

Consequently, the tasks ahead for the GEF are twofold: first, to expand the response to biodiversity conservation by adopting a comprehensive landscape approach to the planning and management of protected areas and production landscapes; and second, to realign the GEF modalities of operation to ensure sustained biodiversity benefits.

As the largest provider of assistance for biodiversity and as the financial mechanism of the CBD, GEF has a number of advantages to the challenge of sustaining biodiversity conservation. Its relationship with the CBD, its partnership with its Implementing Agencies, its network of national and NGO focal points, and its governance structure provide GEF unique access to policy makers and civil society leaders. It also provides opportunities to link governments, international organizations and NGOs and acts as a catalyst for increased coordination on issues related to biodiversity conservation. GEF's emphasis on country ownership reinforces the integration of the "global" aspects of biodiversity into national policies and priorities. Similarly, GEF's principle of stakeholder involvement, history of engaging NGOs, and involvement of the scientific and technical community help stimulate the multilevel and multi-sectoral partnerships needed to sustain biodiversity conservation. These are all strengths that GEF should deploy strategically to foster sustainable conservation of biological diversity.

GEF also has various modalities for provision of GEF support, including its operational programs, enabling activities, as well as non-project activities (such as Country Dialogue Workshops, Capacity Development Initiative). It should use all of these (and if necessary new options) more effectively and strategically to engage the wider community in the expansion from protected areas to production landscapes.

This paper does not propose to supercede the guidance and framework of GEF's Operational Strategy and Operational Programs. Rather it seeks on the basis of the experience gained and portfolio wide review to expand its scope of operations to a landscape level, and at the same time to improve the modalities of delivery so that sustained impacts of biodiversity benefits may be realized. This would also be consistent with the shift from an approvals-based culture to "driving for results" - so that the GEF would utilize its limited but valuable grant resources to leverage maximum impacts and benefits in global environmental movements.

3.2 Proposed GEF Strategy

The proposition here is for the GEF to adopt a broad strategy, which expands from its current project based approach, to empower and strengthen the countries' enabling environment so that biodiversity conservation can be addressed programmatically and in a mainstreamed fashion. This would also allow for more effective delivery of its role as the financial mechanism to the CBD. Figure 1 presents the three levels of intervention at which GEF support could be targeted: project, enabling environment and programmatic-cum-sector based. These are not mutually exclusive options, but rather strategically linked interventions (nestled within each other) to allow the GEF, in collaboration with the countries and its partners, to maximize global biodiversity impact.

The first level of intervention is through project level interventions. This represents the current mode of GEF support and where, in the case of biodiversity, there has been an emphasis on protected areas and their buffer zones. Feedback and consultations have indicated a need to include production landscapes by adopting a more comprehensive approach to biodiversity conservation.

Project level interventions will continue to be an important delivery mechanism of the GEF. What is a departure is that forthcoming projects should demonstrate a higher level of strategic coherence and cumulative benefit of these projects and in the wider development context in the country so that these projects inform and promote favorable systemic change. This would be especially useful for the larger projects which should build on the comparative advantages of the Implementing Agencies in delivering strategic benefits. In the case of the smaller and medium sized projects, at a minimum these projects should contribute strategically to the larger environmental agenda of the country.

Project level interventions in the production landscape will include a focus on agriculture, forest and fishery related issues. However, in view of the uncertainty surrounding the issue of logging, the GEF would not encourage or be directly associated with any endeavors involving large-scale production logging until sufficient experience in sustainability in this area is assured. The GEF will, however, play a critical role in providing discrete funding to build the scientific and management basis for this to be pursued, i.e. GEF support in the production landscape will emphasize community-based operations, on a demonstration scale, emphasizing and working towards best practices and lessons learned with a focus on targeted research, adaptive management, and monitoring. Where possible, efforts would be made to stimulate replication or catalyze further action. The GEF will also provide support through enabling environment-based interventions to ensure sustained gains in biodiversity in production landscapes (see below).

The second level of intervention for the GEF would be at the enabling environment level. This level of intervention is a response to the repeated call to equip countries with the necessary tools and capacity to undertake appropriate action and to remove barriers to secure enhanced biodiversity conservation. This intervention would seek to provide appropriate information, tools and methodologies to reform and/or improve institutional and policy arrangements critical to bringing about long term, sustainable, and sustained gains in biodiversity. Some key elements that could be supported through this intervention include: capacity building at the individual, institutional and systemic levels; policy, institutional and legal reforms (as necessary); and knowledge based enhancements. Examples of the latter might include valuation and green accounting exercises to demonstrate the value-added of biodiversity conservation and studies on alternative investment opportunities.

It is important to emphasize here that this intervention should operate at both macro and local levels. Increasingly it is recognized that policy formation takes place at all levels from local to national to sub-regional to regional to international, and the linkages and exchanges between these levels should be encouraged in GEF operations. Support through this intervention would empower the countries to address environmental, especially global environmental issues, more systematically and systemial.

The GEF does not currently support broad-based strengthening of the enabling environment as described here, although elements of the enabling environment are addressed to varying degrees within the scope of individual projects. Support to the enabling environment should not be confused with support currently being provided for Enabling Activities. Enabling activities, as set out in the GEF Operational Strategy, represent a basic building block of GEF assistance to countries. In this regard, enabling activities would include inventories, compilation of information, policy analysis, and strategies and action plans to fulfill commitments under a relevant Convention. However, to date, GEF funding through enabling activities has been used largely towards fulfilling essential communication requirements to the Convention of Biological Diversity. There is an opportunity here to use the enabling activity modality more strategically, in terms of providing support for the enabling environment intervention as set out above.

A major advantage of this enabling environment approach is that the GEF intervention would be at the upstream level and would inform and empower the country through the strengthened enabling environment to better address systemic issues that undermine biodiversity at the landscape level. However, the downside is that the impact on biodiversity may be limited unless the country mobilizes the strengthened enabling environment for concrete on the ground action. This downside could, however, be countered by a dual strategy - that of combining the enabling environment approach with focussed project level interventions, but ensuring that the latter are more strategically designed and implemented than is currently practiced.

A third level of intervention would be the programmatic-cum-sector interventions. GEF interventions at the programmatic level are in the early stages, but there is a growing recognition of its importance. The current understanding of the GEF programmatic approach is that it would be undertaken in partnership with in-country and international partners, to provide phased and sustained support for the implementation of a multi-year (medium to long-term) program to better integrate global environmental objectives into national strategies and plans (e.g. biodiversity strategy, sustainable energy plan, or a strategic action program for international waters). Such an approach applied at a sectoral or cross-sectoral level - for example, forests - would seek to enhance and secure biodiversity across the whole sector and sectors, in a systematic and systemic way . The framework will be guided by the principles outlined in the paper Programmatic Approach for the GEF: Criteria and Processes for Its Implementation, and a paper describing this fully will shortly be presented to Council.

A key feature of the programmatic approach is that it would emphasize agreed goals, objectives, milestones and indicators of outcomes/impacts for each phase of program. This approach would clearly include both project level interventions, and the enabling environment but would go beyond that to mainstream biodiversity at the broader level with the focus of the GEF being on impacts and outcomes. The challenges in embarking on a programmatic approach in this context are considerable. For example, mainstreaming has to be undertaken with realism and determination; also the immediate impacts and outcomes relating to improved biodiversity on the ground may be difficult to assess. However, continued emphasis on performance indicators, as well as the learning and adaptive management as advocated through the programmatic approach, should alleviate some of these concerns. Such an approach is expected to improve the scope for catalyzing action, replication and innovation; as well as increase the opportunity to leverage co-financing from a multiplicity of donors. This intervention represents the long-term vision and goal of the GEF, where each country manages its environment holistically or programmatically - and the GEF and countries collectively strive towards this goal.

There are three aspects which are especially critical when undertaking each of these interventions. First, is that the GEF support would be guided by its institutional mandate, and always consistent with COP guidance. Second, is the need to work in partnerships: with the countries, our Implementing and Executing Agencies and other multilateral and bilateral agencies, as appropriate. Clearly, there is a need for common but differentiated roles and responsibilities for the GEF and its institutional partners (the Implementing and Executing Agencies, the country itself, etc.) in this important task. Third, is that each intervention should analyze who the major stakeholders are on a case-by-case basis, and focus efforts on each of them. The public and private sectors are both important in this case and GEF support should be guided respectively by endorsed policy and guidance that exists on these sectors.

In expanding GEF interventions along the enabling and programmatic levels, the GEF will be able to address the challenges more effectively; by focusing on systemic issues, as well as empowering the countries to take on critical reforms which will have a wider sphere of influence. It is worthwhile noting here that the track record of conditionalities in achieving reforms has had very mixed results, however, the proposal of working with interested and committed countries to target their enabling environment and through a programmatic approach is consistent with the GEF way of doing business.

3.3 Delivering on the Strategy

In delivering on this strategy, the GEF would pursue a "parallel path": one which emphasizes the GEF as a facilitator and a financier for integrating global environmental concerns into the development process and for realizing the goals of global environmental conventions, and as a leader in key discussions on biodiversity conservation in international fora.

(a) GEF as a Facilitator and Financier

Overall, the project-based interventions can be accommodated within the business-as-usual conservation-oriented paradigm of the GEF. Support for the enabling environment needs to be carefully structured so there is progressive deepening of commitment and delivery towards programmatic impacts of biodiversity conservation. It is important to ensure that support to the enabling environment does not become another planning exercise but stimulates the desired outcomes.

Clearly, programs and projects need to be tailored to local abilities and time horizons. Channeling large amounts of resources to places with limited capacity and infrastructure may adversely affect existing social structures and planning in unanticipated ways. Therefore, it is imperative that the GEF support the enabling and programmatic-cum-sector based interventions on a case-by-case basis, in a demand-driven manner. This strategy seeks to assist recipient countries to focus on targeted priority and practical interventions to deliver sustained biodiversity benefits, emphasizing flexibility as required.

A critical part of the GEF's role as a financier is to leverage co-financing from a multiplicity of donors, including the private sector; and to assist in establishing nationally driven donor co-ordination with in-country efforts towards integration of global objectives into the larger sustainable development agenda of the country.

(b) GEF's Leadership Role in Biodiversity

It is critical that the GEF takes leadership in promoting innovative approaches to biodiversity through a wider range of stakeholders and partners and continues to underline the importance of biodiversity in the total landscape. It must do this from an informed position - based on its growing portfolio and hence feedback and experience gained.

To promote this strategy, the GEF would take on a more active role on the international scene related to biodiversity and key natural resource issues (e.g. Forests, Wetlands etc.). Participation in the UN process, and in the Ad-Hoc Technical Advisory Groups formed under the CBD are key starting points. The GEF would also promote dialogue with key private commercial entities to integrate biodiversity goals within their agendas. This would include the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the Forest Stewardship Council and various certification led schemes. More importantly, the GEF as the financial mechanism for both the Conventions of Biological Diversity and Climate Change, has the singular responsibility to ensure that both of these global phenomena and benefits are pursued vigorously and synergistically.

Figure 1: GEF Strategy for Achieving Sustained Benefits in Biodiversity Conservation
Project-based Enabling Environment based Programmatic-cum-sector based
Activities
  • Expand from protected area focus to include production landscapes.
  • Design projects with "results" orientation to ensure sustained impacts and ownership
  • Increase strategic coherence with local and national development plans
  • Equip countries with necessary tools and capacity to undertake appropriate action
  • Target policy, institutional and capacity aspects to address systemic issues.
  • Sstructured progressive process, with evidence of deepening commitment and action.
  • Stand-alone support for enabling and/or linked with focused project level interventions.
  • Phased and sustained support for a multi-year program from multiple actors, including GEF.
  • Mainstreaming of conservation into development processes.
  • Catalyzing action, replication and innovation.
  • Building on deepening commitment and capacity through projects and enabling environment interventions.
Challenges
  • Must not over-burden the sometimes limited capacity of some countries.
  • Need to link with action on the ground; guard against "hollow" enabling environment.
  • On a case-by-case basis, with clear evidence of country ownership, commitment. and delivery
  • Clearly spelt out milestones and indicators over the program time frame.
  • On a case-by-case basis, with clear evidence of country ownership.