Publications

The STAP regularly produces publications that provide:

  • state-of-science updates on global environmental priority issues, knowledge gaps, and future trends;
  • technical frameworks and guidelines for project and programme design and methodologies.

All STAP publications are authored by recognized experts of the relevant field, and are peer reviewed by at least two independent experts to a standard that meets or exceeds that of traditional academic journals. Although the publications are usually written for the benefit of the GEF and its implementing agencies, their scientific and technical rigor makes them of great use for a variety of audiences, including academic researchers, private and public policy makers, project designers and other funding agencies.


The Resilience, Adaptation Pathways and Transformation Assessment (RAPTA) Framework
RATA framework

The concepts of resilience, adaptation and transformation are gaining prominence and being translated into aspirational goals that guide policy development. Understanding resilience, adaptation and transformation is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to climate change adaptation, food security, and safeguarding ecosystem functions. Devising interventions to progress resilience goals requires methods... Read More


Optimizing the global environmental benefits of transport biofuels
biofuels

This report identifies and evaluates necessary conditions for the GEF's support of biofuel projects, and provides recommendations to the GEF Partnership. It outlines a strategic framework for supporting the supply of sustainable biofuels at scales that are significant to the global climate. It reconciles energy and food security challenges with local developmental needs and aspirations. Finally, it evaluates the growing controversy surrounding... Read More


Review of GEF Climate Resilience
GEF climate resilience

  This review provides an updated, structured assessment of the impacts of climate change on GEF projects. In particular, the review focuses on the impact of climate change on ecosystems and species and its implications on GEF-6 strategy focal areas of biodiversity, land degradation, international waters and sustainable forest management. The review is intended primarily for the GEF Partnership and particularly the GEF Secretariat. ... Read More


Delivering Global Environmental Benefits for Sustainable Development: Report to the 5th GEF Assembly
STAP Report to the 5th GEF Assembly

The STAP publication on Delivering Global Environmental Benefits for Sustainable Development outlines recommendations for the GEF in advancing environmentally sustainable development in GEF-6.... Read More


Sustainable Urbanization Policy Brief: Proliferation of Urban Centres, their Impact on the World's Environment and the Potential Role of the GEF
Sustainable Urbanization Policy Brief

The STAP Policy Brief on Sustainable Urbanization: Proliferation of Urban Centres, their Impact on the World's Environment and the Potential Role of the GEF is a cursory exploration of the state of the science associated with sustainable urban development, and the potential role of the GEF based on its strategic programme for the Sixth Replenishment of the GEF (GEF-6)... Read More


Assessing the Effects of Terrestrial Protected Areas on Human Well-Being
Assessing the Effects of Terrestrial Protected on Human Well-Being

The STAP Publication on Assessing the Effects of Terrestrial Protected Areas on Human Well-Being reports on the results of a systematic review of evidence related to the impacts of human well-being arising from the establishment or maintenance of terrestrial protected areas (PAs).... Read More


Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Practice
Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Practice

The STAP Publication on Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Practice outlines lessons learned from researching, designing and implementing mainstreaming biodiversity interventions.... Read More


The Political Economy of Regionalism: The Relevance for International Waters and the Global Environment Facility
The Political Economy of Regionalism

The STAP Publication on The Political Economy of Regionalism provides the context and analytical tools needed to understand contemporary regionalism and regional organizations from a global and political economy perspective.... Read More


Managing Soil Organic Carbon for Global Benefits
small

The STAP Publication on Managing Soil Organic Carbon for Global Benefits presents a well grounded overview of the current technical and scientific knowledge of soil organic carbon.... Read More


Revised Methodology for Calculating Greenhouse Gas Benefits of GEF Energy Efficiency Projects (Version 1.0)

Improving energy efficiency (EE) is the single most important abatement opportunity reducing global warming. For the next couple of decades, energy efficiency’s contribution to energy use or emission reduction is estimated between 25-50% of the total mitigation potential depending on the model used. Most models put the associated absolute CO2 emission reduction potentials in 2030 between 4 and 8 Gt (IEA, 2011).... Read More


Climate Change: A Scientific Assessment for the GEF
Scientific Assessment to the GEF

STAP releases assessment of climate mitigation science – calling on the GEF to make a transformational contribution towards a global low-carbon economy... Read More


Marine Spatial Planning in the Context of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Marine_Spatial_Planning

Area-based planning and management processes have been important environmental and resources management tools for many decades. They provide effective frameworks to consider environmental, social, cultural, institutional, and economic variables within a common bio-geographic context – bringing what are at times competing interests together to form a common management vision.... Read More


Impacts of Marine Debris on Biodiversity: Current Status and Potential Solutions
Imapacts_of_Marine_Debris

Large quantities of debris can now be found in the most remote places of the ocean, and persist almost indefinitely in the environment. This represents a significant cause for concern, although much of this growing threat to biodiversity and human health is easily preventable with solutions readily available.... Read More


Emerging Chemicals Management Issues in Developing Countries and Countries with Economies In Transition
ECMIcover_0

In the face of rapid globalization and demand for products, increased trade, expansion of manufacturing into Developing Countries and Countries with Economies in Transition (CEIT), new chemicals, uses, or products, along with an increased awareness of real or potential negative impacts of chemicals, the last two decades has also seen the rapid implementation of a number of regional and international agreements regarding chemicals management, which have focused concerns on the need for a globally effective and sustainable chemicals management process.... Read More


Experimental Project Designs in the Global Environment Facility
Experimental_Design

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.... Read More


Selection of Persistent Organic Pollutant Disposal Technology for the GEF
Selection_of_POP_Disposal_Tech_for_the_GEF

This advisory document builds on the original 2004 STAP study on the selection of POPs disposal technologies for GEF-financed projects, and utilizes experience gained during GEF-4.... Read More


Marine Debris as a Global Environmental Problem
Marine_Debris

Being confronted by the sight of debris littering the shores of otherwise beautiful and pristine isolated oceanic islands pushes home the cold realization that this world is both immensely rich in diversity, scenery, and sounds, as well as small when the visible products of mankind’s industry are present far from their source, having travelled great distances on ocean currents.... Read More


Hypoxia and Nutrient Reduction in the Coastal Zone
Hypoxia_and_Nutrient_Reduction

Reported cases of coastal hypoxia or low oxygen areas have doubled in each of the last four decades, threatening global environment benefits in most of the Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) in which GEF supports programs.... Read More


Calculating Greenhouse Gas Benefits of Global Environment Facility Transportation Projects
Greenhouse_Gas_Benefits_of_GEF_Projects

The primary purpose of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is to generate global environmental benefit. The essential path for achieving this goal is the financial support of projects whose completion delivers substantial, measurable reductions in greenhouse gases (GHG).... Read More


Sustainable Low-Carbon Transport
Sustainable_Low-Carbon_Trasport

This report defines “Sustainable low-carbon transport” as a strategy to provide economically viable infrastructure and operation that offers safe and secure access for both persons and goods whilst reducing short and long term negative impact on the local and global environment.... Read More


Environmental Certification and the Global Environment Facility
Environmental_Certification_and_GEF

Sustainable certification (“eco-certification”) initiatives certify that commercial producers adhere to predefined environmental and social welfare production standards. Such initiatives are common in GEF-funded projects aimed at mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services in production landscapes and seascapes.... Read More


The Evidence Base for Community Forest Management as a Mechanism for Supplying Global Environmental Benefits and Improving Local Welfare
Evidence_Base_for_CFM

Community forest management (CFM) initiatives comprise a range of efforts to involve people who live in and around forests in forest management decisions. CFM initiatives often vest in communities some degree of decision-making power over forest management and rights to the benefits from such management.... Read More


Payments for Environmental Services and the Global Environment Facility
Payments_for_Environmental_Services_and_GEF

Payments for Environmental Services (PES), sometimes called Payments for Ecosystem Services, are a popular intervention in GEF projects that aim to generate ongoing financial incentives for environmental objectives.... Read More


Benefits and Trade-Offs Between Energy Conservation and Releases of Unintentionally Produced Persistent Organic Pollutants
Benefits_and_Trade-offs

The report was commissioned following the request from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to explore the relationship between management of unintentionally produced POPs and climate change mitigation strategies in GEF operations.... Read More


Sustainable Forest Management
Sustainable_Forest_Mgmt

The purpose of this paper is to advise on scientific and technical issues that should receive high priority in the development of activities in SFM. The advice is based upon a consultation amongst STAP members. It develops ideas for SFM already submitted by GEF agencies (e.g. FAO) and the UNFF Multi-Year Programmes of Work and Plan of Action (UNFF-6 and UNFF-7).... Read More


Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms Volume 3: Methodologies for Transgenic Fish
Environmental_Risk_Assessment_3

The decline of many individual and wild fish stocks has commanded an increase in aquaculture production to meet the protein demands of a growing population.... Read More


Land Degradation As A Global Issue
Land_Degradation_Report

A synthesis of three studies commissioned by the Global Environment Facility to strengthen the knowledge base to support the Land Degradation Focal Area.... Read More


Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms, Volume 2: A Case Study of Bt Cotton in Brazil
Environmental_Risk_Assessment_2

Many international forums have identified the need for comprehensive, scientific methods for the pre-release testing and post-release monitoring of transgenic plants to ensure their environmental safety and sustainable use.... Read More


Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms, Volume 1: A Case Study of Bt Maize in Kenya
Environmental Risk Assessment_1

International forums have identified the need for comprehensive, transparent, scientific methods, for the pre-release testing and post-release monitoring of transgenic plants to ensure environmental safety.... Read More


Assessing the Effects of Terrestrial Protected Areas on Human Well-Being
Assessing the Effects of Terrestrial Protected on Human Well-Being

The STAP Publication on Assessing the Effects of Terrestrial Protected Areas on Human Well-Being reports on the results of a systematic review of evidence related to the impacts of human well-being arising from the establishment or maintenance of terrestrial protected areas (PAs).... Read More


Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Practice
Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Practice

The STAP Publication on Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Practice outlines lessons learned from researching, designing and implementing mainstreaming biodiversity interventions.... Read More


Environmental Certification and the Global Environment Facility
Environmental_Certification_and_GEF

Sustainable certification (“eco-certification”) initiatives certify that commercial producers adhere to predefined environmental and social welfare production standards. Such initiatives are common in GEF-funded projects aimed at mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services in production landscapes and seascapes.... Read More


The Evidence Base for Community Forest Management as a Mechanism for Supplying Global Environmental Benefits and Improving Local Welfare
Evidence_Base_for_CFM

Community forest management (CFM) initiatives comprise a range of efforts to involve people who live in and around forests in forest management decisions. CFM initiatives often vest in communities some degree of decision-making power over forest management and rights to the benefits from such management.... Read More


Payments for Environmental Services and the Global Environment Facility
Payments_for_Environmental_Services_and_GEF

Payments for Environmental Services (PES), sometimes called Payments for Ecosystem Services, are a popular intervention in GEF projects that aim to generate ongoing financial incentives for environmental objectives.... Read More


Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms Volume 3: Methodologies for Transgenic Fish
Environmental_Risk_Assessment_3

The decline of many individual and wild fish stocks has commanded an increase in aquaculture production to meet the protein demands of a growing population.... Read More


Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms, Volume 2: A Case Study of Bt Cotton in Brazil
Environmental_Risk_Assessment_2

Many international forums have identified the need for comprehensive, scientific methods for the pre-release testing and post-release monitoring of transgenic plants to ensure their environmental safety and sustainable use.... Read More


Environmental Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Organisms, Volume 1: A Case Study of Bt Maize in Kenya
Environmental Risk Assessment_1

International forums have identified the need for comprehensive, transparent, scientific methods, for the pre-release testing and post-release monitoring of transgenic plants to ensure environmental safety.... Read More


Revised Methodology for Calculating Greenhouse Gas Benefits of GEF Energy Efficiency Projects (Version 1.0)

Improving energy efficiency (EE) is the single most important abatement opportunity reducing global warming. For the next couple of decades, energy efficiency’s contribution to energy use or emission reduction is estimated between 25-50% of the total mitigation potential depending on the model used. Most models put the associated absolute CO2 emission reduction potentials in 2030 between 4 and 8 Gt (IEA, 2011).... Read More


Climate Change: A Scientific Assessment for the GEF
Scientific Assessment to the GEF

STAP releases assessment of climate mitigation science – calling on the GEF to make a transformational contribution towards a global low-carbon economy... Read More


Calculating Greenhouse Gas Benefits of Global Environment Facility Transportation Projects
Greenhouse_Gas_Benefits_of_GEF_Projects

The primary purpose of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is to generate global environmental benefit. The essential path for achieving this goal is the financial support of projects whose completion delivers substantial, measurable reductions in greenhouse gases (GHG).... Read More


Sustainable Low-Carbon Transport
Sustainable_Low-Carbon_Trasport

This report defines “Sustainable low-carbon transport” as a strategy to provide economically viable infrastructure and operation that offers safe and secure access for both persons and goods whilst reducing short and long term negative impact on the local and global environment.... Read More


The Political Economy of Regionalism: The Relevance for International Waters and the Global Environment Facility
The Political Economy of Regionalism

The STAP Publication on The Political Economy of Regionalism provides the context and analytical tools needed to understand contemporary regionalism and regional organizations from a global and political economy perspective.... Read More


Marine Spatial Planning in the Context of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Marine_Spatial_Planning

Area-based planning and management processes have been important environmental and resources management tools for many decades. They provide effective frameworks to consider environmental, social, cultural, institutional, and economic variables within a common bio-geographic context – bringing what are at times competing interests together to form a common management vision.... Read More


Impacts of Marine Debris on Biodiversity: Current Status and Potential Solutions
Imapacts_of_Marine_Debris

Large quantities of debris can now be found in the most remote places of the ocean, and persist almost indefinitely in the environment. This represents a significant cause for concern, although much of this growing threat to biodiversity and human health is easily preventable with solutions readily available.... Read More


Marine Debris as a Global Environmental Problem
Marine_Debris

Being confronted by the sight of debris littering the shores of otherwise beautiful and pristine isolated oceanic islands pushes home the cold realization that this world is both immensely rich in diversity, scenery, and sounds, as well as small when the visible products of mankind’s industry are present far from their source, having travelled great distances on ocean currents.... Read More


Hypoxia and Nutrient Reduction in the Coastal Zone
Hypoxia_and_Nutrient_Reduction

Reported cases of coastal hypoxia or low oxygen areas have doubled in each of the last four decades, threatening global environment benefits in most of the Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) in which GEF supports programs.... Read More


Managing Soil Organic Carbon for Global Benefits
small

The STAP Publication on Managing Soil Organic Carbon for Global Benefits presents a well grounded overview of the current technical and scientific knowledge of soil organic carbon.... Read More


Land Degradation As A Global Issue
Land_Degradation_Report

A synthesis of three studies commissioned by the Global Environment Facility to strengthen the knowledge base to support the Land Degradation Focal Area.... Read More


Emerging Chemicals Management Issues in Developing Countries and Countries with Economies In Transition
ECMIcover_0

In the face of rapid globalization and demand for products, increased trade, expansion of manufacturing into Developing Countries and Countries with Economies in Transition (CEIT), new chemicals, uses, or products, along with an increased awareness of real or potential negative impacts of chemicals, the last two decades has also seen the rapid implementation of a number of regional and international agreements regarding chemicals management, which have focused concerns on the need for a globally effective and sustainable chemicals management process.... Read More


Selection of Persistent Organic Pollutant Disposal Technology for the GEF
Selection_of_POP_Disposal_Tech_for_the_GEF

This advisory document builds on the original 2004 STAP study on the selection of POPs disposal technologies for GEF-financed projects, and utilizes experience gained during GEF-4.... Read More


The Resilience, Adaptation Pathways and Transformation Assessment (RAPTA) Framework
RATA framework

The concepts of resilience, adaptation and transformation are gaining prominence and being translated into aspirational goals that guide policy development. Understanding resilience, adaptation and transformation is critical to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to climate change adaptation, food security, and safeguarding ecosystem functions. Devising interventions to progress resilience goals requires methods... Read More


Optimizing the global environmental benefits of transport biofuels
biofuels

This report identifies and evaluates necessary conditions for the GEF's support of biofuel projects, and provides recommendations to the GEF Partnership. It outlines a strategic framework for supporting the supply of sustainable biofuels at scales that are significant to the global climate. It reconciles energy and food security challenges with local developmental needs and aspirations. Finally, it evaluates the growing controversy surrounding... Read More


Review of GEF Climate Resilience
GEF climate resilience

  This review provides an updated, structured assessment of the impacts of climate change on GEF projects. In particular, the review focuses on the impact of climate change on ecosystems and species and its implications on GEF-6 strategy focal areas of biodiversity, land degradation, international waters and sustainable forest management. The review is intended primarily for the GEF Partnership and particularly the GEF Secretariat. ... Read More


Experimental Project Designs in the Global Environment Facility
Experimental_Design

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.... Read More


Benefits and Trade-Offs Between Energy Conservation and Releases of Unintentionally Produced Persistent Organic Pollutants
Benefits_and_Trade-offs

The report was commissioned following the request from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to explore the relationship between management of unintentionally produced POPs and climate change mitigation strategies in GEF operations.... Read More


Sustainable Forest Management
Sustainable_Forest_Mgmt

The purpose of this paper is to advise on scientific and technical issues that should receive high priority in the development of activities in SFM. The advice is based upon a consultation amongst STAP members. It develops ideas for SFM already submitted by GEF agencies (e.g. FAO) and the UNFF Multi-Year Programmes of Work and Plan of Action (UNFF-6 and UNFF-7).... Read More


Good news from the South: Biodiversity mainstreaming – A paradigm shift in conservation?

BJ Huntley

Bad governance stifles everything’ said ecologist Richard Cowling, a pioneer in promoting mainstreaming approaches to conserving biodiversity. Cowling was addressing an international workshop convened in Cape Town in October 2013 to review progress in the impressive body of 327 projects in 135 countries supported since the late 1990s by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). With over USD1.6 billion invested by the GEF, and USD5.6 billion in co-financing by partners, the mainstreaming agenda is one of the largest biodiversity initiatives on record. A whopping 48% of these funds went to the 10 countries that hold most of the world’s biodiversity treasure troves – Brazil, India, China, Mexico, South Africa, Colombia, Russian Federation, Indonesia, Vietnam and Argentina.

The obvious reciprocal to bad governance – good governance – certainly holds true, and is demonstrated by the success of mainstreaming projects in post-apartheid South Africa and in that icon of democratic good governance, Costa Rica. These two countries lead the world in innovative approaches to biodiversity conservation, most especially in moving from the traditional ‘protected areas’ model to an integrated landscape paradigm. The emerging trends and the challenges to the successful implementation of mainstreaming are considered here.

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Does community forest management provide global environmental benefits and improve local welfare?

Diana E Bowler, Lisette M Buyung-Ali, John R Healey, Julia PG Jones, Teri M Knight, and Andrew S Pullin

Global financial donors have invested billions of dollars in “Sustainable Forest Management” to conserve forests and the ecosystem services they provide. A major contributing mechanism, community forest management (CFM), aims to provide global environmental benefits (reduce deforestation, maintain biodiversity), while also improving local human welfare (alleviate poverty). We have systematically reviewed available evidence of CFM effectiveness and consider the implications of our findings for future investment in CFM programs. There is evidence of CFM being associated with greater tree density and basal area but not with other indicators of global environmental benefits. We found no data on local human welfare amenable to meta-analysis. Poor study design, variable reporting of study methodology or context, and lack of common indicators make evidence synthesis difficult. Given the policy interest in and the planned donor expenditure on CFM, evaluation must be improved so that informed decisions can be made about appropriate investment in this approach.

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Human well-being impacts of terrestrial protected areas.

Andrew S Pullin, Mukdarut Bangpan, Sarah Dalrymple, Kelly Dickson, Neal R Haddaway, John R Healey, Hanan Hauari, Neal Hockley, Julia P G Jones, Teri Knight, Carol Vigurs, and Sandy Oliver

Establishing Protected Areas (PAs) is among the most common conservation interventions. Protecting areas from the threats posed by human activity will by definition inhibit some human actions. However, adverse impacts could be balanced by maintaining ecosystem services or introducing new livelihood options. Consequently there is an ongoing debate on whether the net impact of PAs on human well-being at local or regional scales is positive or negative. We report here on a systematic review of evidence for impacts on human well-being arising from the establishment and maintenance of terrestrial PAs.

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Biodiversity and ecosystems for a planet under pressure- Transition to sustainability: interconnected challenges and solutions

RIO +20 POLICY BRIEF

We share this planet with millions of other species and varieties of life, and depend on ecosystems for all our basic needs. While current trends in biodiversity and ecosystem services are sharply and dangerously negative, the right actions, developed and implemented promptly, can restore a biologically rich and ecologically viable planet. This policy brief sets out the main challenges facing the world as we seek to protect and enhance our vital biodiversity and its human benefits. In addition, we suggest pathways that will lead us towards a more sustainable future.

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