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 below.

Responsibilities of STAP in the GEF Project Cycle[1]

 

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 unique from any other GEF body as it should assure 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:
  2. 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;
  3. after identifying a scientific need, proposing courses of action by GEF and its agencies to address the need;
  4. convening a Research Committee to advise the GEF CEO on each Targeted Research proposal received;
  5. maintaining a database of expert institutions and scientific networks available for conducting reviews; and
  6. providing advice on project development on a selective basis.
  7. 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 the Council work program approval (for FSP PIFs) and CEO endorsement if it has identified through its PIF screen that a project demonstrates:
  8. major components of scientific and/or technical innovation (e.g., experimental design); and
  9. significant implementation and/or 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

  1. 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-size 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. 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.

  1. In providing advice through PIF screening reports, STAP will concentrate upon projects with (a) a major component of science and/or 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

  1. 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.
  2. In cases where STAP is satisfied with the scientific and technical quality of the proposal, a simple “Concur” response will be provided; the STAP may flag specific issues that should be pursued rigorously as the proposal is developed into a full project document. At any time during the development of the project, the proponent is invited to approach STAP to consult on the design. STAP will provide detailed screening for projects it believes 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
  3. 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’s advice, at the time of submission of the final project document for CEO endorsement.
  4. 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 In cases where STAP is satisfied with the scientific and technical quality of the proposal, a simple “Concur” response will be provided; the STAP may flag specific issues that should be pursued rigorously as the proposal is developed into a full project document. At any time during the development of the project, the proponent is invited to approach STAP to consult on the design 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 GEF Secretariat may, based on this screening outcome, delay the proposal and refer the proposal back to the proponents with STAP’s concerns.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 Approach Pilots

  1. GEF Agencies will copy STAP on all submittals of PFD and IAPs when they are submitted to the GEF Secretariat. 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[3]

  1. 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, 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.

[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.

[3] STAP has proposed a new modality and procedures for proposals that include a significant element of research (GEF/STAP/C.43/Inf.02). STAP considers that changes are needed in the current TR modality because of the continuing increase in multi-focal area proposals and new integrated approach pilots which will require considerably more underpinning by science and technical innovation.  Discussions with the GEF Secretariat on this specific project modality are on-going.

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.

48th Council | June 2015

47th Council | October 2014 | Rosina Bierbaum’s Statement | Presentation

46th Council | May 2014 | Rosina Bierbaum’s Statement | Presentation

45th Council | November 2013Rosina Bierbaum’s Statement | Presentation

44th Council | June 2013 | Tom Lovejoy’s Statement | Presentation

43rd Council | November 2012 | Tom Lovejoy’s Statement | Presentation

42nd Council | June 2012 | Tom Lovejoy’s Statement | Presentation

41st Council | November 2011 | Tom Lovejoy’s Statement | Presentation

40th Council | May 2011Tom Lovejoy’s Statement

39th Council | November 2010Tom Lovejoy’s Statement

38th Council | June 2010Tom Lovejoy’s Statement

36th Council | November 2009Tom Lovejoy’s Statement

35th Council | June 2009Tom Lovejoy’s Statement

34th Council | November 2008Tom Lovejoy’s Statement

33rd Council | April 2008Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement

32nd Council | November 2007Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement

31st Council | June 2007Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement

30th Council | December 2006Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement

28th Council | June 2006Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement

27th Council | November 2005Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement

25th Council | June 2005Yolanda Kakabadse’s Statement

24th Council | November 2004Julia Carabias Statement

23rd Council | May 2004Julia Carabias Statement

22nd Council | November 2003Julia Carabias Statement

21st Council | May 2003Julia Carabias Statement

20th Council | October 2002Julia Carabias Statement

19th Council | May 2002Madhay Gadgil’s Statement

18th Council | December 2001Madhay Gadgil’s Statement

17th Council | May 2001Madhay Gadgil’s Statement

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