GEF News: Revising stakeholder engagement in the GEF
The GEF Council has approved an updated Policy on Stakeholder Engagement. The new policy, presented at the 53rd council meeting taking place in Washington DC, is the result of a two-year collaborative and consultative process involving civil society, indigenous peoples, recipient country governments, GEF agencies and other stakeholders.
The policy sets out the core principles and mandatory requirements for GEF agencies to meaningfully engage stakeholders in GEF programs and projects to build on a broad base of local knowledge and expertise, and foster local engagement and ownership in support of positive global environmental outcomes.
Most GEF Agencies already have policies and procedures in place to ensure meaningful stakeholder engagement. The updated GEF Policy aims at contributing to greater harmonization across the GEF Partnership, and clarifying GEF’s mandatory requirements for stakeholder engagement throughout the program and project cycles, including monitoring and reporting.
On adoption of the updated stakeholder policy, Victor Kawanga, Chair of the GEF CSO Network, said “When executed effectively, stakeholder engagement can result in greater impact and sustainability of GEF projects, by improving communications, obtaining wider support, gathering useful data and ideas and providing for more sustainable and inclusive decision making. The GEF CSO Network welcomes the updated GEF Policy on Stakeholder Engagement as a positive step towards promoting transparency, inclusion, participation and accountability in GEF governance and operations. The Network is proud to have been an important driving force behind the need for an updated, stronger Policy that reflects the evolution of the GEF and the recent developments in terms of stakeholder engagement policies and guidelines of international institutions, including GEF Agencies. The Network looks forward to continuing its cooperation with the GEF Partnership in the process of formulation of the Guidelines to support the implementation of the Updated Policy on Stakeholder Engagement.”
It is well documented that open and transparent stakeholder engagement is a necessary element of any successful project. Individuals or groups that have a stake in the outcome of a project - particularly those who may be affected by it - bring about valuable opinions and expertise that can shape the design, implementation and monitoring of a project and support its long-term sustainability. These stakeholders include local communities and indigenous peoples living in the project area, local governments, women and men who depend on natural resources affected by the project, and private sector companies, among others.