What We Do
Knowledge is a primary asset of the GEF Partnership, and knowledge generation and sharing are critical for GEF investments to achieve a lasting impact in safeguarding the global environment.
The GEF finances project, programs and initiatives that underpin the generation and exchange of knowledge around global environmental issues, facilitating the capture, synthesis, transfer and uptake of this knowledge within and beyond the GEF Partnership.
The GEF has been investing in specialized Knowledge and Learning Projects in several focal areas, developing knowledge hubs and platforms, communities of practice, distance learning and information sharing tools to facilitate learning and knowledge uptake globally. Some examples include:
The GEF Academy is a GEF learning initiative that provides an online and face-to-face curriculum of courses/learning events designed to enhance the capacity of GEF partners and stakeholders to engage with the GEF and to deliver global environmental benefits through GEF funded initiatives.
The GEF Academy is accessible 24/7 and offers the GEF community a catalog of self-paced online courses and facilitated webinars, as well as face-to-face training events that draw on the latest knowledge and information regarding GEF policies, procedures and guidelines. Courses also provide global expertise, technical information, lessons learned, and best practices relevant to GEF investments.
Courses offered through the GEF Academy are developed and offered in partnership with GEF Agencies, GEF IEO and STAP, as well as other like-minded institutions that work on the global environment. The initial focus of the GEF Academy is to provide training on new policies and procedures that accompany the GEF’s 7th Replenishment.
Currently, two courses are available:
The GEF Secretariat has been organizing and/or contributing to knowledge and learning events at ECWs, global environmental forums and producing and disseminating a number of knowledge products, including publications, brochures, and videos, on key technical areas in which the GEF is working.
GEF Introduction Seminars are held once a year in Washington, D.C. to train new GEF Agency staff, as well as very new country focal points, on GEF history, structure, operations, strategies, policies and procedures. This includes the work of the Secretariat, the Trustee, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel and the Independent Evaluation Office, as well as specifics on other Trust Funds managed by the GEF that focus on Adaptation.
ECWs aim at keeping the GEF National Focal Points, Convention Focal Points and other key stakeholders, including civil society, abreast of GEF strategies, policies and procedures and to encourage coordination among them. The events enable focal points to meet with their counterparts from other countries in the region. They also allow other GEF partners, especially GEF Agencies, to discuss and review policies and procedures and to share experiences from GEF projects and their integration within national policy frameworks.
ECWs have become a hub that allows for other relevant meetings to take place back to back such as civil society consultations, Constituency consultations, meetings with Convention Secretariats, discussions on specific projects and reviewing of national programming of GEF resources. ECWs are fully organized and financed by the GEF Secretariat. Hosting countries provide advice and guidance on best locations, projects to visit and dissemination through local media.
GEF Knowledge Days are full-day events that combine various GEF relevant learning and knowledge exchange, targeting recipient country stakeholders. These include workshops on priority issue areas and knowledge-rich field visits to GEF- financed projects. Such field visits feature Learning Stations, a knowledge exchange technique developed by the GEF that facilitates on-site experiential and peer-to-peer learning. GEF Knowledge Day follows a methodology that can easily be customized to every country and region, as well as to different project types and topic areas.
Knowledge products such as knowledge passports, videos, photo galleries and publications to facilitate learning and sharing have been developed for use during and after the GEF Knowledge Days.
In March 2016, a pilot GEF Knowledge Day was designed and successfully implemented in Trinidad and Tobago in the context of the Caribbean Expanded Constituency Workshop (ECW), with 85 participants from 17 countries. Based on the success of the Pilot and results of participant exit surveys, the Secretariat decided to replicate the GEF Knowledge Day, in a customized format, as a critical component of all ECWs around the world, with support from the GEF Country Support Program (CSP).
By the end of 2016, the GEF Knowledge Day had been replicated in 12 ECWs, reaching more than 1,000 participants from more than 120 countries. These included GEF Operational and Political Focal Points, UN Convention Focal Points, civil society and GEF Agencies. Based on the high ratings and overwhelmingly positive feedback received in participant exits surveys throughout 2016, the Secretariat continued implementing GEF Knowledge Days in 2017 as well; with 14 Knowledge days completed in 2017 with 1,000 participants attending from 120 countries.
Click here to see a video describing GEF Knowledge Days and the Learning Stations methodology.
Click here to learn more about our Knowledge Days.
IN 2016, in-country surveys were conducted during GEF Knowledge Days to gauge country level knowledge and learning related needs of GEF stakeholders. According to the feedback received, the majority of GEF recipient countries requested “capacity development on knowledge exchange and learning, and in-country knowledge exchange workshops”. To that end, the GEF developed and released a publication in February 2017, titled “The Art of Knowledge Exchange: A Results-Focused Planning Guide for the GEF Partnership.” This publication builds on an earlier publication by the World Bank Group (WBG). It serves as both a guidebook and a toolkit for enhancing knowledge exchange at the national, regional and global levels. It was produced with cross-support from the World Bank and with content contributions from five other GEF Agencies.
The Art of Knowledge Exchange guidebook highlights a variety of case studies and examples of successful knowledge exchange embedded in GEF projects. It also showcases lessons learned from implementing these initiatives for enhanced global environmental impact. It is the product of true collaboration across the GEF Partnership, offering a practical step-by- step blueprint with illustrative examples on how to design, implement and monitor knowledge exchange embedded in projects. Good practice and case study contributions were made by the WBG, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP).
The guide provides tools to help knowledge brokers play a more effective role in facilitating knowledge exchange and learning when designing and implementing a GEF project or program. It reflects the experiences of various GEF partners, knowledge and learning professionals, government officials and other practitioners who have successfully integrated knowledge exchange into larger change processes. The guide is available in English, Spanish, French and Russian. It also features the free augmented reality mobile app Blippar, a tool that enables GEF partners and others to access the guide online from around the world using their smart phones.
In 2017, the Secretariat organized 14 The Art of Knowledge Exchange Training Sessions which introduced the guide to key counterparts in recipient countries at GEF ECWs. The trainings were delivered in collaboration with the WBG and with support from the GEF Country Support Program (CSP).
Click here to see The Art of Knowledge Exchange Materials on our website.
The KM Advisory Group was established in October 2015. It consists of representatives from interested members of the GEF Partnership, including GEF Agencies, STAP, IEO, CSO Network, countries and the Conventions. The Group serves as an informal vehicle for collaboration and consultation on the development, planning and execution of the GEF’s KM approach across the GEF Partnership. It supports the GEF’s KM Agenda and functions as a sounding board for KM initiatives and proposals to achieve the objectives set forth in the GEF KM Approach Paper
The KM Advisory Group also functions as a knowledge exchange platform where GEF partners can learn from and leverage each other’s KM efforts, eventually building links with each other’s systems. The Group stays in touch virtually and holds face-to-face meetings twice a year, following Council meetings. To date, the Group has come together four times. Smaller task forces are envisioned within the KM Advisory Group, as needed, for specific collaborative KM initiatives that Group members would identify and agree to pursue.
Click here to see KM Advisory Group meeting agendas and presentations.