The Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is the world’s largest environmental funding body. It was established in 1991 as a multilateral financial mechanism to test new approaches and innovative ways of responding to global environmental challenges. The GEF’s six focal areas are biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants. It helps fund initiatives that assist developing countries to meet the objectives of the four United Nations international environmental conventions:

  • the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

With its multi-billion dollar trust fund, the GEF is open to universal participation and 176 nations are currently listed as members.


The GEF unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.  Since 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $9.2 billion in grants and leveraging $40 billion in co-financing for over 2,700 projects in over 168 countries.