Experimental Project Designs in the Global Environment Facility

Experimental_DesignDesigning projects to create evidence and catalyze investments to secure global environmental benefits

The portfolio of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) should be based on the best evidence of what works to generate global environmental benefits. The GEF, however, should do more than simply act as a consumer of evidence. As one of the largest multilateral donors for environmental programs, the GEF should be a leader in the production of evidence. With multi-nation investments in common environmental policies and programs, the GEF is uniquely placed to generate credible evidence about improving the performance of environmental programs. Such evidence would not only increase the returns to GEF investments, but it can also catalyze broader investments and actions by making the connection between environmental investments and the effects of investments clearer to external audiences.

This advisory document describes one important way in which the GEF can leverage its project investments to generate more credible evidence about what works and under what conditions: experimental project designs. Experimental designs imply that entire projects, or components of projects, are designed with the intention of better understanding the causal relationships between actions and desired effects.

Publication Date: May 2012

Authors: Paul J. Ferraro

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