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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 has invested in knowledge and learning platforms as projects or project components in order to facilitate knowledge sharing, collaboration and networking among stakeholders in different focal areas and integrated programs.

The International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW: LEARN)

The GEF International Waters Learning Exchange and Resource Network (IW:LEARN) is a knowledge management and learning project that has been supported by the GEF since 2000 in various tranches. It is a community of practice and knowledge platform that promotes experience sharing and learning globally among GEF-financed international waters (IW) projects, country officials, implementing agencies, and other partners.

The overall goal of IW:LEARN is to strengthen transboundary water management around the globe by collecting and sharing good practice approaches, lessons learned, and innovative solutions to common problems. IW:LEARN also aims to strengthen the GEF IW portfolio as a whole by promoting dialogue, knowledge sharing, and replication among projects.

IW:LEARN functions as a knowledge-sharing and exchange hub to facilitate experiential learning and address issues faced by one project that might have been resolved by another GEF project (or outside the GEF IW community). To date, IW:LEARN has supported several regional dialogue processes in Africa, the Caribbean, and Eastern and Southeastern Europe. IW:LEARN also provides travel support to selected GEF IW projects for participation in IW-pertinent global policy dialogues.

The IW:LEARN website serves as the premiere archive and data collection service for the GEF IW focal area. The website hosts targeted knowledge-sharing tools for practitioners and the wider public, including project-related information, contacts, and more than 7,000 documents.

Global Platform for Sustainable Cities (GPSC)

The GPSC is a knowledge platform and collaborative space that enables aspiring cities to pursue the questions related to rapid urbanization, and has an overall agenda of long-term sustainability. It is a  GEF funded platform implemented by the World Bank as part of a GEF Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP).

GEF ID 9162 | Status: Project Approved

Adaptation Learning Mechanism (ALM): Learning by Doing
This project aims to maximize adaptation learning through implementation of projects under the GEF’s Strategic Priority on Adaptation (SPA), and to generate knowledge in order to further guide implementation and improve impacts of GEF adaptation projects. The objective of the project is to provide tools and establish a learning platform for mainstreaming adaptation to climate change within the development planning of GEF eligible countries.

GEF ID 2557 | Status: Completed

The GEF supports targeted research and encourages innovation in its projects and programs. Some examples include:

Coral Reef Targeted Research and Capacity Building for Management
This project proposes to conduct specific, targeted research to fill critically important information gaps in the fundamental understanding of coral reef ecosystems so that management and policy interventions can be strengthened globally.  The purpose of the targeted research is to test specific hypotheses related to major human and natural factors threatening coral reef health.

GEF ID 1531 | Status: Completed

Research Programme on Methane Emissions from Rice Field
The project seeks to quantify the impact of different rice growing ecosystems on methane emission and improve knowledge of processes that control methane fluxes from flooded rice. Promising mitigation options will be evaluated in collaboration with developing countries and farmers, and experiences will be shared among project participants.

GEF ID 382 | Status: Completed

Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training (START)
START is a system of regional research networks being developed by scientific organizations to build capacity in the climate change field, collect and analyze regional data, and incorporate this data into global modeling efforts. This project focuses on Southeast Asia and Northern Africa as pilot regions for developing region-specific methodologies, establishing regional networks for global change research, and laying the foundation for regional research centers.

GEF ID 378 | Status: Completed

In order to facilitate learning and sharing within and across countries, the GEF supports initiatives that develop and implement learning and knowledge sharing tools and processes.

Environmental Learning and Stakeholder Involvement as Tools for Global Environmental Benefits and Poverty Reduction
This project aims to expand Tajikistan’s capacity to generate global environmental benefits through educating and involving diverse national and local stakeholders in addressing Rio Convention themes. The project builds capacity to use key environmental management tools: environmental learning that includes formal and informal education for all sectors of society, and stakeholder involvement that includes public awareness, consultation and participation.

GEF ID 3310 | Status: Completed

Knowledge Base for Lessons Learned and Best Practices in the Management of Coral Reefs

The overall goal of this project was to enhance capacity within country institutions to learn from previous experiences of other projects, and to develop and implement coral reef projects which deliver key outcomes effectively and efficiently.

GEF ID 2856 | Status: Completed

Distance Learning and Information Sharing (DLIST) Tool for the Benguela Coastal Areas

The overall aim of DLIST-Benguela was to increase access of local communities to information that is critical to environmental management and the creation of sustainable livelihoods, founded on the Benguela Current’s coastal and marine resources.

GEF ID 2571 | Status: Completed

International Assessment of Agricultural Science and technology for Development

This project aimed to deliver a global and five sub-global assessments of the role of agricultural science and technology in reducing hunger and poverty, improving rural livelihoods, and facilitating development that is equitable as well as environmentally, socially and economically sustainable. IAASTD’s ultimate goal was provide robust information for decision-makers on how to ensure that policies, practices and institutional arrangements enable knowledge, science and technology to contribute to global environmental and development benefits.

GEF ID 2503 | Status: Completed

GEF investments make use of existing best practice and lessons learned in their design and execution while generating lessons and best practice themselves. Some investments target specifically capturing and sharing best practice in order to facilitate scale-up of promising global environmental solutions.

Defining and Demonstrating Best Practices for Exchange of Information on Chemicals in Textile Products

This projects aims to identify and demonstrate best practices and stakeholder roles and responsibilities for chemicals information exchange in textile products.

GEF ID 5662| Status: Project Approved

Best Practices for PCB Management in the Mining Sector of South America

This project coordinates regional approaches towards best practices for the sound management of PCB in the mining sector in South America.

GEF ID 3814| Status: Project Approved

Development of Best Practices and Dissemination of Lessons Learned for dealing with the Global Problem of Alien Species that Threaten Biological Diversity

The objective of this project was to examine current tools and approaches used to recognize, evaluate and mitigate against invasive species in order to determine best practices, and disseminate this information.

GEF ID 465 | Status: Completed

Good Practice Briefs

Good Practice Briefs are products of collaboration between the GEF Secretariat and GEF Agencies. Launched at the 57th Council meeting, the briefs identify good practice examples from the GEF project portfolio, in line with key GEF2020 strategic priorities and GEF-7 programming directions and policy recommendations.

GEF Academy

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, three 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.