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The GEF is a country driven organization that was founded on the principles of collaboration and partnership. During the early years, countries implemented activities with the support of three agencies – the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Since then, the Partnership has evolved to include 184 countries and 18 Agencies as well as Civil Society Organizations (CSO), Indigenous Peoples and the private sector. Together we develop shared solutions to global environmental challenges, which heightens our collective impact.


Member Countries

In the GEF Instrument, member Countries are referred to as Participants. In general terms there are developed and developing Participants in the GEF. They are represented on the GEF Council by 32 Constituencies (14 for developed countries, 16 for developing countries and 2 for economies in transition) each one having a Council Member and an Alternate Council member.

Both developed and developing countries are donors to the GEF Trust Fund. Since its inception the GEF has received contributions from 39 donor countries. At the last replenishment 30 countries pledged a record US$4.1 billion for the GEF-7 period that runs from 2018 to 2022.

Both developing countries and countries with economies in transition are recipients of GEF support. Through the projects they undertake, these countries achieve global environmental benefits and fulfill their commitments under the main environmental conventions as well as in the field of International Waters.  Participant Profiles


The GEF provides funding to assist developing countries in meeting the objectives of international environmental conventions. The GEF also supports various UN Agency Action Programmes. The conventions, for which the GEF serve as financial mechanism, provide broad strategic guidance to the two governing bodies of the GEF: the GEF Council and the GEF Assembly. The GEF Council converts this broad guidance into operational criteria (guidelines) for GEF projects. Read more

GEF Agencies

GEF Agencies create project proposals and then manage these projects on the ground. In so doing, they help eligible governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop, implement and execute their projects. Often, the Agencies work together on GEF projects, pooling expertise. Not only does this allow a more holistic approach to programming, it also reinforces the individual Agency's efforts to mainstream or incorporate global environment concerns into its internal policies, programs and projects. Read More

Civil Society Organizations

Effective involvement of civil society, from local to national to global, is key to achieving the GEF's mission and objectives. The skills, experience and on-the-ground knowledge of the CSO community bring various and diverse types of contributions. These range from identifying and implementing projects and leveraging funds to liaising between the national and local levels and influencing national and international policy. CSOs are involved in a broad range of GEF activities — from policy discussions to project design, implementation and monitoring. Read More

Private Sector

The GEF has a long history of engaging business and catalyzing private sector investment. Building on this experience, the GEF is moving towards a more holistic approach that will mainstream private sector engagement across GEF focal area strategies and integrated approach pilots. We draw on five different interventions to promote private sector engagement and with the Non-Grant Pilot Program the GEF supports innovative financing models. Read more