Delivering global environmental benefits for sustainable development
The Fifth GEF Assembly comes at a critical but exciting juncture of the Facility. In two decades, the GEF partnership has made demonstrable contributions to delivering global environmental benefits (GEBs) in accord with its mandate as the financial mechanism for the Rio Conventions. Yet threats to the global commons continue to grow – driven by human activities and lifestyle choices – resulting in pollution, biodiversity loss, degradation of land and water, fragmentation of ecosystems, and climate change. Responses to manage common pool resources and improve governance have tended to be fragmentary, partial, and only limited in success. STAP believes that the linkages with sustainable development have to be central in GEF approaches to the generation of GEBs. It is insufficient simply to track developmental co-benefits. Rather, an integrated approach has to be followed from the outset, where the synergy between development and environment is pursued, and the generation of multiple benefits is promoted vigorously. This requires new and innovative approaches, based upon an iterative process that emphasizes learning by doing – where design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation are connected through a robust knowledge management strategy. Sound understanding of social systems and governance will be key for the GEF moving forward. STAP has recently published a report entitled Delivering Global Environmental Benefits for Sustainable Development that highlights recent STAP achievements and outlines specific recommendations for the GEF in advancing environmentally sustainable development in GEF-6.