About STAP

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel comprises six expert advisers supported by a Secretariat, which are together responsible for connecting the GEF to the most up to date, authoritative, and globally representative science. The following chart indicates how STAP engages with the GEF Partnership.

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To find out more please download the STAP Brochure.

STAP’s mandate, in accordance with the terms of reference adopted by the GEF Council in June 2007, states the following –

“The STAP is established as an advisory body to the GEF. The STAP shall provide objective, strategic scientific and technical advice on GEF policies, operational strategies, programs and on projects and programmatic approaches; and, maintain a database of institutions, networks and individual scientists to provide the necessary expertise and advice for the GEF. STAP’s activities shall be coordinated with the activities of the GEF Secretariat and the Implementing and Executing Agencies (GEF Agencies) and be consistent with GEF processes and procedures approved by the Council.

The STAP shall interact in a complementary manner with other relevant scientific and technical bodies, particularly with the subsidiary bodies of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention to Combat Desertification and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. For focal areas in which the GEF is not operating as a convention’s financial mechanism, the STAP shall advise on the development of scientific and technical criteria and provide scientific and technical advice on priorities for GEF funding. The STAP shall provide expert scientific advice to inter-agency task forces and bodies handling other GEF processes, when such advice is requested.

Pursuant to this mandate, STAP shall report to each regular meeting of the GEF Council and, if requested, to the GEF Assembly on the status of its activities.

UNEP shall provide STAP’s Secretariat and operate as its liaison with the GEF.”

STAP Manual

The following provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and in particular guidance on how STAP functions within the GEF Partnership. Specifically it provides an overview of the composition and functions of the STAP Panel including the member selection process, an outline of how the STAP Work Program is prepared, a summary of the composition and role of the STAP Secretariat, and finally an overview of the roles and responsibilities of the host Agency UNEP on behalf of the GEF Partnership. This document draws upon numerous sources of background information, including the following:

a) STAP Terms of Reference (as approved by Council, April 2012);
b) STAP Rules of Procedure (information document to Council, May 2004);
c) Rules of Procedure of the GEF Council (as approved by Council, Oct. 2007);
d) GEF Instrument (as amended by the 5th GEF Assembly);
e) Evaluation of STAP, OPS5 Technical Document 15.

Since its inception in 1994, the work of STAP and how it functions has changed significantly in response to the needs of the GEF Partnership. The Panel was reduced from 15 members to 7 during the reforms of STAP in 2007, with individual Panel members now devoting more time to the work of GEF and their individual focal areas. The Secretariat of STAP grew from a single professional staff member to a small cadre of professional staff to support the work of individual Panel members and their engagement with the GEF Partnership (please see Figure 1), a model which the OPS-5 review of STAP by the Evaluation Office has indicated as successful. STAP engages strategically with GEF partners, such as in the development of GEF Program Strategies. In the lead up to GEF 6, the Panel reviewed the recommendations from OPS5 and reaffirmed its commitment to working together as a team to support implementation of the Integrated Approaches, multi-focal area initiatives, and other strategic activities in support of the GEF Program.


These documents outline STAP’s Work Program agenda and timeline for GEF-6. The focus for this cycle will embrace supporting cross-focal and knowledge management initiatives; contributing to corporate and operational objectives; enhancing STAP’s services through pivotal knowledge production; and analyzing emerging global issues for GEF’s action and future strategy development.


STAP Work Program – GEF 6 | .PDF

STAP Work Program – Calendar | .PDF

RosinaRosina Bierbaum

Position: Chairperson

Appointed: July 2013

Dr. Rosina Bierbaum’s experience extends from climate science into foreign relations and international development. She is a Professor and Dean Emerita at the University of Michigan with appointments in both the School of Natural Resources and Environment, and the School of Public Health. She also serves on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and is a lead author of the U.S. National Climate Assessment, and an Adaptation Fellow at the World Bank. Previously, Dr. Bierbaum served for two decades in both the legislative and executive branches of the U.S. Government, and ran the first Environmental Division of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She was selected by the World Bank to co-direct its prestigious World Development Report in 2010, which focused on climate change and development.

Dr. Bierbaum is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Ecological Society of America, and received the American Geophysical Union’s Waldo Smith award for “extraordinary service to Geosciences”, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Climate Protection Award”. She is also a board member for the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Federation of American Scientists, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.

Ralph Sims - carRalph E. Sims

Position: Adviser on Climate Change Mitigation

Appointed: November 2012

Professor Ralph Sims began his career in Sustainable Energy at Massey University, New Zealand in 1971 making and testing biodiesel. After 4 years recently based at the IEA (International Energy Agency) in Paris as a senior analyst working on Renewable Energy and climate change mitigation, he has now returned to his position at Massey of Professor of Sustainable Energy, and Director, Centre for Energy Research.

For the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace prize, he was a lead author covering renewable energy and agriculture for the 3rd Assessment Report (2001), led the chapter on “Energy Supply” in the IPCC 4th Assessment Report 2007, the “Integration” chapter in the Special Report on Renewable Energy for Climate Change Mitigation (2011) and is currently leading the “Transport” chapter of the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (to be published in 2014). Ralph is currently undertaking consulting projects for UNEP, UN FAO, REN 21 and OECD. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Professional Engineers and of the UK Institute of Agricultural Engineers, a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand and received the 2010 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) of which he was a Ministerial Board Member appointee for 3 terms.

Brian ChildBrian Child

Position: Adviser on Biodiversity

Appointed: July 2014

Brian Child earned a B.Sc. (Hon) degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Zimbabwe, and a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford (Rhodes Scholar) with a comparative study of the ecology and economics of livestock and wildlife in drylands in southern Africa.  He provided extension and research to private conservation landholders in Zimbabwe, and played a leading role in the development of Zimbabwe’s Communal Area Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE).  In Zambia he developed a sustainable park management system and a community conservation program in the Luangwa Valley, and introduced performance-based law enforcement in the greater Kafue ecosystem.  He chaired IUCN’s Southern African Sustainable Use Specialist Group for six years, promoting the concept of conservation as a local development strategy, and facilitating southern practitioners to publish five books or journal special editions.  He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Florida, with his research focusing on the institutional economics and governance of state, private and community conservation, but with a primary interest in developing new research/education approaches that bridge research and practice.  He has published or co-polished seven books and 60 peer-reviewed articles.   As a consultant he has planned or reviewed over seventy projects on park and community sustainability or educational capacity building for numerous development agencies (UNDP/GEF, NORAD, USAID, World Bank, Danida).   He also works for The Nature Conservancy to develop governance, livelihoods and economic monitoring systems for large landscapes.

ricardo-barraRicardo Barra

Position: Adviser on Chemicals and Waste

Appointed: July 2014

Dr. Barra received his degree in biochemistry in 1988 from the University of Concepción and is Ph.D. in environmental Sciences from the same university in 1993.  He has been postdoctoral research fellow (Marie Curie) at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Milan, Italy during 1995-1996 period.Since 1993 Dr. Ricardo Barra, is at the Faculty of Environmental Sciences/EULA-Chile Environmental Sciences. His areas of specialization are, environmental chemistry, ecotoxicology and regulatory issues.


During the last years Dr. Barra has been working in different areas in the field of  environmental chemistry and toxicology, mainly in the field of environmental fate and effects of Persistent Organic Pollutants, emerging contaminants and mercury compounds.  In 2001 he was appointed as regional coordinator  (SouthAmerican region) of a project  for performing a regionally based assessment of persistent toxic substances, then coordinated  by UNEP-Chemicals and in 2003 was part of a team that released a global report for UNEP regarding Persistent Toxic Substances. During 2004-2007 period was appointed by the National Commission on the Environment (CONAMA) on behalf of the Chilean University Council as advisor of the Consultative council of the Commission. Since 2004 was deputy director of Research and Education at the EULA Chile Environmental Sciences Centre, University of Concepción and in 2011 was designated as Director. In October 2007 – December 2008 he was nominated President of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Latin America (SETAC LA). In 2008 he receipts the Bio-Bio regional prize on the Environment granted by the Regional Commission on the Environment and the Presidency of the Biobio region. In 2008 he was nominated as a member for a 4 year period of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC) of the Stockholm Convention where he chaired the group for the analysis of the endosulfan proposal to be nominated as POP. In  2011, he was granted with the municipal prize in applied research by the city major of Concepcion. In 2010-2011 he contributed as coordinating lead author to the chapter Chemicals and Wastes in the Global Environmental Outlook GEO-5, released in June 2012 just before the Rio+20 conference. In 2010 he contributes to the development of the GEF Guidance of  Emerging chemicals management issues, together with Henk Bowmann (South Africa) and Minh H Wong (Hong Kong, China). In 2014 was appointed as a panel member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Currently, he is involved in research regarding chemical risks of POPs and emerging contaminants in Chile. He has published over 80 papers in international peer reviewed journals and several book chapters.

Annette CowieAnnette Cowie

Position: Adviser on Land Degradation

Appointed: May 2012

Annette Cowie has a background in soil science and plant nutrition, with particular interest in sustainable resource management. She is the Director of Rural Climate Solutions, a joint venture between NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) and the University of New England. Previously Annette led the New Forests research program in the NSW DPI for ten years, researching environmental services from planted forests, focusing on greenhouse gas mitigation, amelioration of dryland salinity and land rehabilitation through use of recycled organics. Annette is also Co-Task Leader of the International Energy Agency Bioenergy research group on Greenhouse Gas Balances of Biomass and Bioenergy Systems.

Annette’s particular expertise and research interests include:

  • Sustainable land management – indicators, assessment and policy development
  • Soil carbon dynamics in agriculture and forestry: Sustainability assessment of bioenergy and biochar systems, including land use change issues and certification
  • Life cycle assessment, especially to assess the carbon footprint of wood products, and climate change mitigation value of reforestation, bioenergy and biochar systems
  • Synergies between environmental goals through sustainable land management
  • Estimation and accounting for GHG emissions and removals in agriculture and forestry, for inventory and emissions trading

During 2011, Annette was one of the six members of the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee, an independent expert committee that was established to assess offset methodologies proposed under Australia’s Carbon Farming Initiative. Annette is a member of the International Standards Organisation working group developing the standard for quantifying and communicating the carbon footprint of products, and the committee developing sustainability criteria for bioenergy. She has more than 50 peer reviewed publications, largely focused on terrestrial carbon cycle, GHG accounting and sustainable land management.

Anand_PatwardhanAnand Patwardhan

Position: Adviser on Adaptation 

Appointed: June 2012

Anand Patwardhan is Professor in the Shailesh J Mehta School of Management at the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay. He served as the Head of the School from 2003-2004, and as Executive Director of the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), in the Ministry of Science & Technology, Government of India from 2004-2008. Anand has a BTech (Electrical Engineering) from IIT-Bombay and a MS (Environmental Science & Engineering) and PhD (Engineering and Public Policy), both from Carnegie Mellon University.

Anand’s research interests are in the area of environment – climate studies, focusing on mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change; including the diffusion and adoption of clean technology and broader issues of science, technology and innovation policy. As Executive Director of TIFAC, he was responsible for conceptualizing and implementing a number of innovation support programs. He has been a coordinating lead author for the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment; and a coordinating lead author (CLA) for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Anand is currently co-Chair of the Executive Committee of the Global Energy Assessment, CLA for the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Programme of Research on Vulnerability, Impacts and Adaptation (PRO-VIA) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Michael StockingMichael Stocking

Position: Adviser to STAP Chair

Appointed: 2011

Prof. Michael Stocking is Emeritus Professor of Natural Resources Development, School of International Development, University of East Anglia, UK. Formerly Vice-Chair of STAP and Panel Member for Land Degradation, Prof. Stocking remains a STAP Consultant. Prof. Stocking also works for the Overseas Development Group on a number of projects for various agencies, including the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (Rome), the United Nations University (Tokyo) and the Swiss National Science Foundation.His professional interests are in the conservation and management of renewable natural resources (such as soil, vegetation, water and land) in developing countries. He developed a new strategy on ‘land degradation’ and ‘sustainable land management’ for the Global Environment Facility. Related projects include indicators and assessment techniques for land degradation, and developing a ‘carbon tracking tool’ for natural resource projects. Prof. Stocking’s current and recent external appointments are:

  • Vice-Chair and Panel Member, Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, Global Environment Facility, 2006-2009. Responsible for scientific oversight of GEF’s focal area of ‘land degradation’ and Operational program 15 ‘sustainable land management’
  • Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee to CIAT (Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical), Cali, Colombia and the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Institute, Nairobi, Kenya (2003-2007)
  • Chair, Programme Advisory Committee, Conservation and Sustainable Management of Below-Ground Biodiversity, TSBF-CIAT project for UNEP-GEF, 2003-2009
  • Senior Programme Advisor for Land Management to the United Nations University, Tokyo (2003-2007)
  • Member, International Scientific Advisory Board, Swiss National Science Foundation, Berne – Research Partnerships in International Co-operation (2003-2012)
  • Member, Steering Committee, Land Degradation Assessment in Drylands, for FAO, Rome (2004-2010)
  • Member, Steering Committee, Sustainable Land Management in the High Pamir and Pamir-Alai Mountains, for UNU, Tokyo (2005-2009)
  • Natural Resources Adviser, Hillsides Production Systems (Bolivia, Nepal, Uganda), for the UK Department for International Development (1999-2006)

Thomas Hammond

Position: STAP Secretary Thomas Hammond

Thomas Hammond was formerly Senior Biodiversity Program Manager with the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, an international organization created by Canada, Mexico and the United States under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation. He spent 12 years in senior positions with IUCN (The World Conservation Union) and WWF, and led a variety of conservation and development projects in both Africa and Latin America. A native of Toronto, Canada, Tom obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Ottawa and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo.

Lev Neretin

Position: Programme Officer Lev Neretin

Lev Neretin, a Programme Officer in the STAP Secretariat, is a graduate of the Moscow State University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He spent more than 10 years in academia working on ocean biogeochemical cycles and marine microbial ecology. Most of this time Lev was with the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, Germany. He is the author of more than 30 publications and the editor of the book “Past and Present Water Column Anoxia” published by Springer in 2006. Before joining STAP Secretariat, Lev worked as a Biodiversity Expert of the Caspian Environment Programme in Iran and GEF Task Manager (Biodiversity and International Waters) based in UNEP’s Moscow office. In his later position Lev supervised projects dealing with environmental protection of the Russian Arctic. He has regional knowledge and working experience in countries of Eastern and Central Europe, Central Asia and Middle East.

Christine Wellington-MooreChristine Wellington-Moore

Position: Programme Officer

Christine has approximately 15 years in the field of Environment. She began with an Environmental Science Specialist Degree (BSc ’94) from University of Toronto, with a MSc in the field from McGill University, with a focus on nutrient mass balances of Caribbean Coastal waters of Barbados, and water chemistry, with collaboration with the University of West Indies (1995-1998). She then joined the Ministry of Environment of the Government of Barbados (1998-2001), primarily working in the Biodiversity area, before becoming the Chemicals and Climate Focal point, negotiating the related Conventions and overseeing national implementation aspects.

Christine began with UNEP in 2002, first overseeing GEF Methyl Bromide project execution with UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics in Paris. She then became a Task Manager for UNEP DGEF in 2004, overseeing the entire Ozone protfolio of DTIE. She transferred to Washington, DC, in late 2007, broadening her focal area responsibilities to POPS projects.

On 1 September 2011, she joined the STAP team as a Programme Officer in charge of the Chemicals and Adaptation areas of GEF work.

Guadalupe DuronGuadalupe Durón

Position: Programme officer

Guadalupe Duron is an Associate Program Officer at the Secretariat of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to the Global Environment Facility (GEF). She joined the STAP Secretariat in 2002. Her main tasks included managing a database of experts on environmental issues, and assisting STAP organize expert meetings to develop technical and policy advice for the GEF. Most recently, she began to work specifically on GEF sustainable land management activities. In doing so, she supports STAP to develop and deliver strategic advice for the GEF land degradation portfolio. She also supports STAP’s work on cross-cutting topics, such as land use and climate change. Guadalupe holds a Master of Science Degree in Development Studies with a focus on Agriculture, Environment, and Development from the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

Robin Burgess

Position: Programme AssistantRobin Burgess

Robin began working with UNEP in 1997, supporting the Division of Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Liaison Office, located in Washington, DC. Additionally, since its relocation to Washington in 2002, she also supports the Secretariat to Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to the GEF. Besides providing local administrative and financial support, she organizes logistical arrangements for bi-annual STAP meetings, manages STAP’s recording of GEF agency submissions, GEF Secretariat reviews, and STAP project reviews. Prior to joining UNEP, Robin supported a large team of commercial real estate brokers in the DC area. She has more than 20 years of experience in office administration, logistical arrangements, and finance.

Virginia Gorsevski

Position: ConsultantGorsevski

Virginia Gorsevski is a consultant at the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to the Global Environment Facility (GEF). She joined the STAP Secretariat in November 2013 to support efforts focused on climate change mitigation, including developing guidance related to transport biofuels and short-lived climate pollutants such as black carbon. More recently, she has worked across focal areas to provide technical expertise and general support to promote STAP efforts related to land degradation, biodiversity, and environmental peace and security.

Prior to joining STAP, Virginia worked as a Program Manager at USEPA and USAID to develop projects aimed at mitigating climate change through energy efficiency and renewable energy. More recently she turned her focus toward monitoring land cover and land use change using satellite remote sensing as a researcher at the University of Maryland, where she received her Ph.D in Geographical Sciences. Virginia also holds a Masters Degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Bachelors Degree in International Affairs from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Sarah Lebel

Position: Postdoctoral ScholarSarah Lebel

Sarah Lebel is a postdoctoral scholar with STAP, conducting research and supporting the team’s work on climate change adaptation for least developed countries. She has a background in Bioresource Engineering from McGill University (Canada), where she primarily worked on natural resources management and food security issues in Peru and India in collaboration with the CGIAR. She then went on to complete a PhD at the University of Leeds (UK), supporting the Water Harvesting for Rainfed Africa (WAHARA) project. In that role, she developed integrated and multi-methods approaches to assess the sustainability and climate change adaptation potential of different water management technologies in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Tunisia.


Mindi DePaola: Spring 2015DePaola

Mindi DePaola is pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology, with concentrations in Environmental Science, Policy, & Management, and Public Health, from the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis/St. Paul. As a Kansas native, she grew up hiking on the Konza Prairie and developed a love for the tallgrass prairie ecosystem. This affinity led to Mindi’s work on various field projects involving prairie conservation and phytoremediation. She has also done work in corporate management of biotechnology and healthcare, with clients in specialty pharmaceuticals and traumatic brain injury research. Her future plans include completing a Masters of Public Health, concentrating in Environmental Health.


Stephanie McGill: Fall 2014mcgill

Stephanie McGill is a graduate of Dresden University of Technology, Germany. Her professional foundation has been established through her Masters of Science degree in Hydroscience and Engineering as well as her Bachelors of Science degree in Applied Environmental Geography from Northern Caribbean University, Jamaica. Being born and bred in the beautiful island of Jamaica, her scope encompasses environmental and socio-economical impacts of natural resources and natural resources management.

Luke Wonneck: Spring 2014Wonneck

Luke grew up hiking, canoeing and cross-country skiing in the Rocky Mountains near his home in Calgary, Canada. His initial passion for the outdoors spread to the study of socio-ecological systems during an Environmental Science degree at the University of Calgary. Over that time his research interests began to develop in the fields of agro-ecology and alternative food networks. Before interning with STAP, Luke worked as an environmental educator at children’s camps and as an outreach coordinator for an NGO called Wildsight. Following his internship, he looks forward to a bike trip across Canada and then a Master of Science degree in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy at the University of Oxford.


Bowen Cao: Fall 2013bowen

Growing up in Qingdao, a coastal city of China, Bowen developed a passion for the ocean and wildlife from an early age. After graduating from Zhejiang University, where she studied Environmental Engineering, she came to the US to pursue a Masters’ Degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Master’s program broadened her vision and led her to this internship opportunity at STAP, where she worked on many global environmental issues including marine spatial planning.

After her internship with STAP, Bowen went to Kenya and Tanzania, where she toured UNEP headquarters and conquered Mt. Kilimanjaro. After this unique experience, she decided to take a detour from the environmental conservation field.. Bowen is currently running an eco-tourism company (East Africa Walk), which fosters a travel exchange for Chinese people to East Africa.  She also co-founded a company (iDareX), which focuses on developing the extreme sports community in China. Bowen is also a private pilot for single-engine aircraft.

Francisna Fernando: Summer 2013

Having grown up in the Seychelles Islands, a 115-island archipelago found in the Indian Ocean, Francisna (also known as Kris) has always had a fascination for environmental and development studies from a young age. She went on to complete a BSc. in Agricultural and Environmental Economics at McGill University in Canada. Over the course of her undergraduate studies, she has had the opportunity to work on numerous environmental issues through internships at the national level – with the Ministries of Finance and Environment & Energy in the Seychelles and at the international level – with the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the GEF and the World Resources Institute in Washington DC. Her three month- internship at STAP was particularly instrumental in her decision to pursue International Development Studies with an Environmental Focus for her Masters.  Currently, Kris is back in the Seychelles and is due to start a work attachment with International Relations Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs focusing on the Seychelles diplomatic agenda on Climate Change.

Thomas E. Lovejoy

Position: Chairperson

Appointed: July 2008Lovejoy jpeg

Thomas E. Lovejoy is currently Biodiversity Chair and he was formerly President of The Heinz Center since May 2002. Before coming to The Heinz Center, he was the World Bank’s Chief Biodiversity Advisor and Lead Specialist for Environment for Latin America and the Caribbean and Senior Advisor to the President of the United Nations Foundation.

Dr. Lovejoy has been Assistant Secretary and Counselor to the Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution, Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior, U.S., and Executive Vice President of the World Wildlife Fund–U.S. He conceived the idea for the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems project (a joint project between the Smithsonian and Brazil’s INPA), originated the concept of debt-for-nature swaps, and is the founder of the public television series Nature. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Dr. Lovejoy served on science and environmental councils or committees under the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. He received his B. S. and Ph.D. (biology) degrees from Yale University.

Dr Lovejoy is the author of over 240 papers and 8 books and is an authority on biodiversity and sustainable forest management and on climate change and its impacts on living systems. He is particularly well-known for his extensively published work on Amazonian ecology, and he currently advises more than 100 international, governmental and non-governmental organizations and is the recipient of many awards and honor.

Role and Responsibilities of STAP in the GEF Project Cycle[1]

September 2014


The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel’s (STAP) mandate is to provide strategic scientific and technical advice to the GEF, and its role is defined in the revised Terms of Reference (TOR) approved by the GEF Council in June 2007 (see GEF/C.31/4: Proposal of the Executive Director of UNEP on Enhancing the Impact of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel). STAP’s role is different from any other GEF body, being to assist in assuring the scientific and technical quality of GEF investments and enhancing innovation. The Operational Advice section of STAP’s TOR (paragraphs 16-23) details STAP’s role and responsibilities in the GEF project cycle, which can be summarized as follows:

  1. providing tools for screening project concepts, enabling independent reviews and the provision of objective scientific and technical advice to enhance the quality of projects at any stage during project development;
  2. after identifying a scientific need, proposing courses of action by GEF and its agencies to address the need;
  3. convening a Research Committee to advise the GEF CEO on each Targeted Research proposal received;
  4. maintaining a database of expert institutions and scientific networks available for conducting reviews; and
  5. providing advice on project development on a selective basis.

The STAP Secretariat and Panel members screen project concepts (submitted to the GEF on Project Identification Forms (PIFs)) at entry in the project cycle to identify, at an early opportunity, whether a project proposal could benefit from high-level scientific advice in its further preparation and whether the project proponents have demonstrated access to recent advances in the relevant aspects of science and technology. As discussed below, STAP may provide advice on project development between the points of Council work program approval (for FSP PIFs) and CEO endorsement if it has identified through its PIF screen that a project demonstrates:

  1. major components of scientific and technical innovation;
  2. experimental design or similar approaches; and
  3. significant implementation and methodological barriers.

In such cases, and according to the approach outlined below, the STAP may recommend that an independent review take place during project development to ensure that the scientific and technical concerns are properly addressed. STAP’s PIF screening reports form part of the official public record of GEF project reviews, are provided to the GEF Council, Agencies, and Secretariat and are maintained by the STAP Secretariat and the GEF Project Management Information System (PMIS).

STAP Screening of PIFs, PFDs, IAPs

GEF Agencies are required to submit Project Information Forms (PIFs), Programmatic Framework Document (PFDs), and Integrated Approach Pilot plans (IAPs) to the STAP Secretariat at the same time that they are formally submitted to the GEF Secretariat. STAP is able to provide advice on PIFs, PFDs, and IAPs at the following stage in the project cycle[2]:

Post CEO PIF/PFD/IAP Clearance: STAP will screen all PIFs for full-sized projects PFDs, and projects under the IAPs after GEF CEO clearance with the intention of advising the GEF Agency and Council of STAP’s concerns and suggested improvements, if any. The STAP will report its findings in a screening report, which will be provided to the Secretariat, GEF Agency, and Council, and maintained in GEF’s PMIS. Peer review by STAP members or their designated expert representatives.

In providing advice through PIF screening reports, STAP will concentrate upon projects with (a) a major component of science and technical innovation, (b) and significant scientific and/or technical implementation or methodological barriers. Following STAP screening, the GEF Secretariat will include STAP’s recommendations in the project review sheet for CEO endorsement and ensure that the relevant GEF Agency undertakes the necessary steps identified in the STAP screen to address the issue(s) prior to CEO endorsement.

PIF Screening Report Advisory Responses and Follow-up Actions

The intent of the STAP screening report of PIFs is to add value to programs and projects and provide quality assurance to the GEF Council. The PIF screening report will include one of three possible advisory responses, which are explained in Table 1 below together with proposed follow on actions.

In cases where the STAP acknowledges the project has merit on scientific and technical grounds, the STAP will recognize this in the screen by stating that STAP is satisfied with the scientific and technical quality of the proposal, and encourages the proponent to develop it with the same rigor.  At any time during the development of the project, the proponent is invited to approach STAP to consult on the design. The STAP will provide detailed screening for projects it deems that require further improvements to the design, as outlined in paragraph 4 above. Projects in these cases will receive either a STAP advisory response of 2 or 3, as discussed below. Two types of follow-up action are envisaged.

  1. STAP may recommend that the GEF Agency take action to improve aspects of the project design, based on STAP’s advice. This advice will originate directly from a Panel member or a designated expert selected and funded by STAP and will be provided as soon as possible following the screening. The lead GEF Agency will be expected to incorporate STAP’s advice in its project documentation and provide a report on the actions taken in response to STAP advice, at the time of submission of the final project document for CEO endorsement.
  2. STAP may additionally recommend that the lead GEF Agency commission and fund an independent review of the project design at an agreed point in time well before submission for CEO endorsement, with the purpose of reviewing the project design and confirming that it meets the standards agreed in advance between STAP and the Agency. The review will also enable the Agency to take further corrective action if necessary well in advance of the submission date. The review should be attached to the final project document with a short report of any action agreed and taken, at the time of submission of the final project document for CEO endorsement.

Table 1. STAP Screening Report Advisory Response

STAP advisory response Brief explanation of advisory response and action proposed
1. Concur STAP acknowledges that on scientific or technical grounds the concept has merit.  The proponent is invited toapproach STAP for advice at any time during the development of the project brief prior to submission for CEO endorsement.
2. Minor issues to be considered during project design  STAP has identified specific scientific /technical suggestions or opportunities that should be discussed with the project proponent as early as possible during development of the project brief.The proponent may wish to:(i) Open a dialogue with STAP regarding the technical and/or scientific issues raised; (ii) Set a review point at an early stage during project development, and possibly agreeing to terms of reference for an independent expert to be appointed to conduct this review.The proponent should provide a report of the action agreed and taken, at the time of submission of the full project brief for CEO endorsement.
3. Major issues to be considered during project design STAP proposes significant improvements or has concerns on the grounds of specified major scientific/technical methodological issues, barriers, or omissions in the project concept. If STAP provides this advisory response, a full explanation would also be provided. The proponent is strongly encouraged to:(i) Open a dialogue with STAP regarding the technical and/or scientific issues raised; (ii) Set a review point at an early stage during project development including an independent expert as required.The proponent should provide a report of the action agreed and taken, at the time of submission of the full project brief for CEO endorsement.

Programmatic Approaches/Integrated Pilot Approaches

GEF Agencies will copy the STAP on all submittals of PFD and IAPs when they are submitted to the GEF Secretariat. The STAP may provide comments to the GEF Secretariat so they can be considered by the Secretariat and CEO as they consider whether to include the PFD, or IAP child project in a GEF Work Program. The intent of the STAP review of programs will be to add value and provide quality assurance. STAP comments will be provided to the GEF Council.

Targeted Research

Targeted Research (TR) is defined as “goal-oriented research that supports the GEF operational strategy by providing information, knowledge and tools that improve the quality and the effectiveness of the development and implementation of GEF projects and programs”. The processes that govern targeted research are set out in GEF Council document (See Council document, Principles for GEF Financing of Targeted Research, GEF/C.9/5, 1997), and relevant STAP rules and procedures. (See document GEF/C.23/Inf.11, Rules of Procedure of The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility). Specifically, after CEO clearance of the PIF, the STAP will work in collaboration with the proponent to convene a research committee to review the proposal. STAP may also propose TR projects and, working with the Secretariat and GEF Agencies, assist with the development, execution and monitoring of a project proposal. GEF Agencies are encouraged to contact STAP at an early stage to seek informal advice as it develops TR project ideas.

STAP Review of PIFs and PFDs

STAP’s mandate is to provide strategic scientific and technical advice to the GEF Partnership. The STAP Panel, with support from the Secretariat and outside experts as needed, screen concepts at an early stage of the project/program cycle to identify whether a proposal could benefit from high-level scientific advice in its further preparation and whether the project/program proponents have the necessary access to and understanding of recent advances in the relevant aspects of science and technology. STAP may recommend that the GEF Agency take action to improve aspects of a project/program design. STAP may additionally recommend that the lead GEF Agency commission and fund an independent review of the project program design at an agreed point in time well before the submission of the project for CEO endorsement. Details on the role of STAP are provided in Annex xx.

[1] This brief is originally described in the GEF document “GEF Project and Programmatic Approach Cycles”, October 2010; GEF/C.39/Inf.3. It was modified to reflect changes in the way STAP screens projects.

[2] Note – STAP is also willing on a limited basis to enter into discussion with respective agencies on proposed scientific and technical components of a project prior to formal submission in the project cycle.

Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel – Global Environment Facility (GEF)

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an independent panel of experts which provides strategic and operational advice on science and technological matters to the Governing Council and Secretariat of the GEF. The Panel and Secretariat of STAP are hosted by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and based in the Regional Office for North America (RONA) in Washington, DC.

The following documents explain how STAP operates

Q1. How can I be considered for advisory work with STAP?

Answer: STAP no longer maintains a public roster, instead it sources expertise via its network partners. At present the list includes the ten GEF Agencies, rosters of the environmental conventions supported by the GEF, the International Council for Science, the Academy of Science for the Developing World, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, and a number of nationally based scientific bodies. Individuals interested in the work of the STAP may consider affiliating with any of the above bodies, however, STAP will not respond to requests from individuals to provide advice to the GEF.

Q2. What happened to the STAP Roster?

Answer: A. The Roster was created in 1996 with the purpose of enabling expert scientific and technical reviews of full size (>$1 million) projects and large (>$450,000) enabling activities. Late stage reviews were required to be performed prior to submission of final project documents to the GEF Council for approval, and were conducted by experts pre-screened by Panel Members, and paid for by the GEF agency submitting the project. The OPS3 identified the need for major changes to the Project Cycle, and since mid-2007, Roster reviews have been replaced by early stage ‘screening’ of project concepts by the Panel Members intead of delegated to Roster experts. For this reason the expertise requirements of the GEF provided from STAP have changed from critical reviews of nearly complete projects to screening with a view to improving projects during early stages of their development.