Advice to the GEF

The STAP Helpdesk is a facility to assist all GEF Partners to gain scientific and technical advice direct from Panel Members, associated experts, and centres of expertise.  The Help Desk can assist by:

  • providing informal advice to GEF agencies upstream of project and program preparation;
  • identifying expertise required by GEF partners, through nominated focal points and STAP affiliates;
  • advising on the opportunities for Targeted Research to support GEF’s focal area strategies;
  • guiding GEF partners, including participating countries, on the use of STAP advisory papers.

Expertise:  STAP’s internal expertise comprises seven Panel Members including the Chairperson, supported by four supporting technical specialists.  STAP’s external expertise is global, with links to relevant centers of expertise, individual experts and networks.

Contact information can be found here.

The activities of the Panel and of the Secretariat fall into operational and strategic categories and are programmed using a Work Program, which is periodically tested against needs expressed by GEF partners, principally the GEF Secretariat. The STAP budget is estimated each year against the expected tasks within the Work Program. Normally the Work Program covers one GEF financial year.

In May 1997, the GEF Council approved the “Principles for GEF Financing of Targeted Research” as the basis for considering GEF funding of goal-oriented research that supports the GEF operational strategy.   In 2007 the GEF revised the Project Cycle, including streamlining the procedures for targeted research proposals.  The relevant extract is:

Targeted Research identified and proposed by GEF Agencies will first be reviewed by a Research Committee, convened by STAP, which will advise the agency concerned.  Following this first stage review, the project concept may be submitted to the GEF Secretariat in PIF format, when it will be subjected to normal PIF screening by STAP.  STAP, however, reserves the right to review other projects which may have a substantial component of Targeted Research, and then also to convene the Research Committee. This action will be taken in consultation with the CEO of the GEF and with the GEF Agency concerned. In all cases the full report of the Research Committee will be provided by the STAP to the CEO and to the GEF Agency concerned.

Also relevant: See full details of the “Role and Responsibilities of STAP in the Revised Project Cycle” and “Service standard applying to STAP’s role in the Project Cycle” over in the “STAP Screening Process” section above.

STAP Review of PIFS and PFDS

STAP’s mandate is to provide strategic scientific and technical advice to the GEF and to advise on whether projects or programs meet the standards agreed in advance between STAP and the Agencies. The STAP Secretariat and the Panel screen concepts at an early stage of the project/program cycle to identify whether a proposal could benefit from highlevel 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 11.

Annex 11

Role and Responsibilities of STAP in the GEF Project Cycle

Introduction

1. 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 14-21) details STAP’s role and responsibilities in the GEF project cycle, which can be summarized as follows:

(a) 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;
(b) after identifying a scientific need, proposing courses of action by GEF and its agencies to address the need;
(c) convening a Research Committee to advise the GEF CEO on each Targeted Research proposal received;
(d) maintaining a database of expert institutions and scientific networks available for conducting reviews; and
(e) providing advice on project development on a selective basis.

2. The STAP Secretariat and Panel members screen project concepts (submitted to the GEF on Project Identification Forms (PIFs)) at an early stage of 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 the necessary access to and understanding of recent advances in the relevant aspects of science and technology. As discussed below, the 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 includes (i) major components of scientific and technical innovation, (ii) experimental designs or approaches (iii) or 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 and PFDs

3. GEF Agencies are required to submit PIFs and PFDs to the STAP Secretariat at the same time that they send them to the GEF Secretariat. STAP is able to provide advice on PIFs and PFDs at stages in the project cycle:

(a) At Submittal to GEF Secretariat: STAP can observe all PIFs and PFDs as they are submitted to the GEF Secretariat and has the opportunity to flag for Secretariat program management staff and the CEO those projects where it has major concerns. In such instances, STAP will advise the GEF Secretariat on its concerns, so that they may be taking into account in decisions on the PIF or PFD. STAP will also copy the advice to the submitting GEF Agency. This pre-screening will normally only apply to a limited number of strategic, innovative, or controversial projects, and will be completed within the five day window allocated.

(b) Post CEO PIF/PFD Clearance: STAP will screen all PIFs for full-sized projects and PFDs after GEF CEO clearance with the intention of dvising the GEF Agency and Council of STAP’s concerns and suggested improvements, if any. The STAP will report its findings in a PIF or PFD screening report, which will be provided to the Secretariat, GEF Agency, and Council, and maintained in GEF’s PMIS. This stage of screening is completed by STAP within ten days of CEO clearance for work program inclusion, comprising up to five days for the STAP Secretariat’s primary screening and an additional five days for peer review by STAP members or their designated expert representatives.

(c) Peer review by STAP members or their designated expert representatives.

4. In providing advice through PIF screening reports, STAP will concentrate upon projects with (a) a major component of science and technical innovation, (b) an experimental design or approach, and (c) significant implementation and 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 necessary steps to address the issue prior to CEO endorsement.

PIF Screening Report Advisory Responses and Follow-up Actions

5. 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.

6. In cases where the STAP has identified that a project (a) includes a major component of science and technical innovation, (b) makes use of an experimental design or approach, or (c) confronts significant implementation and methodological barriers, the STAP may recommend that further improvements are needed to the project design. 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:

(a) 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.

(b) 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. No Significant 
Concerns
STAP acknowledges that on scientific or technical rounds the concept has merit.  However, STAP may state its views on the concept emphasizing any issues where the project could be improved.
Follow up: The GEF Agency is invited to approach STAP for advice during the development of the project prior to submission of the final document for CEO endorsement.
2. Minor Revision 
Recommended
STAP has identified specific scientific or technical challenges, omissions or opportunities that should be addressed by the project proponents during project development.
Follow up:  One or more options are open to STAP and the GEF Agency:
(i) GEF Agency should discuss the issues with STAP to clarify them and possible solutions.
(ii) In its request for CEO endorsement, the GEF Agency will report on actions taken in response to STAP’s recommended actions.
3. Major Revision 
Recommended
STAP has identified significant scientific or technical challenges or omissions in the PIF and recommends significant improvements to project design.
Follow-up:
(i) The Agency should request that the project undergo a STAP review prior to CEO endorsement, at a point in time when the particularscientific or technical issue is sufficiently developed to be reviewed, or as agreed between the Agency and STAP.
(ii) In its request for CEO endorsement, the Agency will report on actions taken in response to STAP concerns.

Programmatic Approaches

7. GEF Agencies will copy the STAP on all submittals of PFD 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 in a GEF Work Program. The intent of the STAP review of programs will be to add value and provide quality assurance. STAP will devise a screening form for this purpose. STAP comments will be provided to the GEF Council together with the PFD as part of a work program for Council approval.

Targeted Research

8. Definition. 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 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 ideas.

Provision of Expert Advice

9. STAP will continue to make available a database of experts selected to provide indepth advice across all focal areas of the GEF, intended to be drawn upon for early stage project development advice. In addition STAP also maintains contact with a wide network of scientific and technical organizations through which additional expertise may be sourced. GEF Agencies are encouraged to make use of this expertise.

Advice from the Panel to the GEF on the Resource Allocation Framework (RAF, in GEF-4) and the System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR – GEF-5)

RAF and STAR

This page lists the advice that STAP has provided to the GEF since the production by the Evaluation Office of the Mid-Term Review of the RAF, 2008

General advice

Global and Regional Set-aside (GRS)

GBI For Biodiversity

GBI For Land Degradation

Sustainable Forest Management and the STAR

July 30, 2009 – STAP Secretariat Note on Considering Forests in or out of the STAR

GBI for International Waters (no longer being pursued)

December 3-4, 2008 – International Waters Indicator Review Workshop (papers and report)

The GEF relies upon a broad range of experts to develop its interventions and to learn lessons from implementation. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel is just one source of expertise, others include the sector specialists and other environment professionals within GEF agencies, including within the GEF Secretariat. Additionally the scientific and technical advisory bodies to the GEF-related Conventions connect to globally representative science networks.

Similarly the GEF’s own Science Panel maintains its own network drawn from the global science community, which in the interests of transparency is also made available to the GEF partnership.

Contact us to learn more about the experets network.

Date

Number

Document

November 2013 Chair’s Statement – 45th Council Rosina Bierbaum’s Statement
June 2012 Chair’s Statement – 42nd Council Tom Lovejoy’s statement | presentation
November 2011 Chair’s Statement – 41st Council Tom Lovejoy’s statement | presentation
May 2011 Chair’s Statement – 40th Council Tom Lovejoy’s statement
November 2010 Chair’s Statement – 39th Council Tom Lovejoy’s statement
June 2010 Chair’s Statement – 38th Council Tom Lovejoy’s statement
- Chair’s Statement – 37th Council -
November 2009 Chair’s Statement – 36th Council Tom Lovejoy’s statement
June 2009 Chair’s Statement – 35th Council Tom Lovejoy’s statement
November 2008 Chair’s Statement – 34th Council Tom Lovejoy’s statement
April 2008 Chair’s Statement – 33rd Council Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement
November 2007 Chair’s Statement – 32nd Council Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement
June 2007 Chair’s Statement – 31st Council Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement
December 2006 Chair’s Statement – 30th Council Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement
- Chair’s Statement – 29th Council -
June 2006 Chair’s Statement – 28th Council Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement
November 2005 Chair’s Statement – 27th Council Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement
- Chair’s Statement – 26th Council -
June 2005 Chair’s Statement – 25th Council Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement
November 2004 Chair’s Statement – 24th Council Julia Carabias Statement
May 2004 Chair’s Statement – 23th Council Julia Carabias Statement
November 2003 Chair’s Statement – 22nd Council Julia Carabias Statement
May 2003 Chair’s Statement – 21st Council Julia Carabias Statement
October 2002 Chair’s Statement – 20th Council Julia Carabias Statement
May 2002 Chair’s Statement – 19th Council Madhav Gadgil’s Statement
December 2001 Chair’s Statement – 18th Council Madhav Gadgil’s Statement
May 2001 Chair’s Statement – 17th Council Madhav Gadgil’s Statement
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