Research Papers relating to the Global Environment Facility

Scope and Content

This collection of research material was collated by researcher Zoe Young whilst undertaking a study on the politics of implementing the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The research was funded by the UK's Economic and Social Research Council, and was undertaken in the Geography Department of the University of Hull in conjunction with the Science Policy Research Unit. The research led to the creation of a documentary on the GEF ('Suits and Savages - Why the World Bank Won't Save the World') in conjunction with production company Conscious Cinema in 2000. It also let to the co-authoring of a research report with Korinna Horta and Robin Round in 2002 ('The Global Environment Facility: The First Ten Years - Growing Pains or Inherent Flaws?') for presentation at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, also known as Rio+10. In the same year Young also published a book titled 'A New Green Order? The World Bank and the Politics of the Global Environment Facility', and attended the WSSD to undertake interviews and collect research for another production by Conscious Cinema.

The material mostly covers the period 1991-1999 and so relates to the first 10 years of the GEF's existence only. As such it documents the establishment and restructuring of the GEF and early evaluation work as to its progress, success and failings. There is an additional file of material relating to Young's involvement with the WWSD in 2002 which sits slightly separate to the rest of the collection but has been retained to highlight the international impact of the research represented in this collection. The material consists of published and copy reports and papers produced by GEF, it's technical advisory body STAP and associated partners (including the World Bank, UN bodies and NGOs); agenda, statements, working documents and discussion briefs for GEF Council and Assembly meetings; articles, press cuttings, papers, reports and dissertations relating to GEF; publications, newsletters and project documents produced by GEF; questionnaire returns and interview transcripts produced by Young; drafts of chapters and papers written by Young.

The collection contains the following 24 files, some of which have a number of subfiles associated with them: Conference of the Parties; United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity; Council Meetings; Environmental Defence Fund; Monitoring and Evaluation; NGO Consultation; Participants Assembly 1998; Annual Reports; Projects; Restructure, Replenishment and Revision; STAP; Small Grants Programme; Rio+10 / World Summit on Sustainable Development; Research Papers of Zoe Young; Incremental Costs; Publications; Official Statements; Articles; The World Bank; Critiques; Operational Reports; Working Papers; Discussion and Draft Papers; United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an international financial instrument situated within the World Bank. It was established in October 1991 to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote environmental sustainable development. It was intended to provide new and additional grants, and concessional funding, to cover 'incremental' or additional costs associated with transforming a project with national benefits into one with global environmental benefits. Initially, there were three implementing partners: United Nations Development Programme; United Nations Environment Program; the World Bank. Development of the GEF can be traced along a number of phases aligned to the replenishment of its funds. In the period covered by this collection the following phases are relevant: Pilot Phase - $1 billion; GEF-1 - $2.75 billion; GEF-2 $3 billion; GEF-3 $3.13 billion; GEF-4 $3.13 billion; GEF-5 $4.34 billion; with the next phase to be covered by GEF-6.

Establishment of the GEF took place just prior to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit (also known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development or UNCED) held 3-14 June 1992. The summit resulted in three documents: Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; Agenda 21; Forest Principles. It also resulted in three legally binding agreements known collectively as The Rio Convention: Convention on Biological Diversity; Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Compliance to agreements was ensured with the establishment of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), the GEF was to be the financial mechanism for these conventions, and the work of the GEF was informed by the outcomes of the Rio Earth Summit. The GEF's main areas of work focus on biodiversity, climate change, chemicals & waste, land degradation, international waters, sustainable management of forest and REDD+. The body's work also cuts across food security, sustainable cities, commodities, public private partnerships, capacity development, the small grants programme, gender mainstreaming, small island developing states, and indigenous peoples.

Key dates in the timeline of the GEF up to 2015 are as follows: 1991 GEF established; 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio; 1994 Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured GEF (revised at subsequent GEF Participants' Assemblies); 1994 GEF became the financial mechanism for CBD and UNFCCC; 1998 1st GEF Participants' Assembly in India; 2001 GEF became the Financial Mechanism for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants; 2002 2nd Participants' Assembly in China; 2003 GEF became the Financial Mechanism for United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification; 2005 Resource Framework Allocation (RAF); 2006 3rd GEF Particants' Assembly in South Africa; 2010 GEF became the Financial Mechanism for UNCCD; 2010 4th GEF Participants' Assembly in Uruguay; 2010 System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR); 2011 20th Anniversary of GEF; 2013 GEF became the Financial Mechanism for Minamata Convention on Mercury; 2014 5th GEF Participant's Assembly in Mexico.


The collection has been arranged as a flat sequence of files, so as to retain the original order of the creator. Loose material has been added to existing files where appropriate and obvious that this had been the collection creator's intention. Remaining loose material has been collated into artificial files and these have been highlighted as such in the descriptions.

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Conditions Governing Use

GEF, Zoe Young and various

Custodial History

Deposited by Zoe Young in August 2010

Related Material

Book: Zoe Young, A New Green Order? The World Bank and the Politics of the Global Environment Facility (Pluto Press, 2002)