News and Updates

STAP Retreat; Planning STAP's Role in GEF-6

STAP RetreatThe STAP Secretariat and Panel gathered in Stockholm between January 22nd and 26th, 2014 for an exciting and highly productive bi-annual retreat. The meetings were held at the headquarters of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), where STAP Panel member, Jakob Granit, is the Director. As a well known institution whose goal it is to bridge science and policy, SEI was the perfect place to host the GEF STAP. STAP Chair, Rosina Bierbaum, opened the session by welcoming everyone and laying the stage for discussions over the next few days. Topics included brainstorming STAP’s priorities for the Sixth Replenishment of the GEF (GEF-6) and the important role of science in improving our understanding of the linkages across environmental issues, among many others. Dr. Bierbaum welcomed GEF CEO Naoko Ishii on the first day, who stressed the importance of STAP’s work in supporting science-based solutions to help the GEF meet evolving global challenges and to deliver the highest impact in the most cost-effective way. STAP Panel members presented their current and upcoming work in each focal area and shared ideas on specific issues such as the development of science-based indicators across focal areas, as well-as broader concepts such as how to capture the changing dynamics occurring in the global commons. The STAP Panel and Secretary have developed a set of concrete action items and will convene again on the margins of the GEF Assembly in May 2014 in Cancun, Mexico to gauge progress and develop a workplan going forward.  

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The STAP's Role in the Fifth GEF Assembly

5th GEF Assembly[T]he Fifth Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was hosted by the Government of Mexico in Cancun during the last week of May, 2014. GEF Assemblies are held every four years, and are attended by representatives of all 183 GEF member countries. Through a combination of plenary and high-level panels, exhibits, side events and GEF project site visits, representatives are given the opportunity to assess and amend GEF policies, operations, and memberships. The STAP was heavily involved in the GEF Assembly through participation by the Chair and Panel Members in several side events and other meetings. The STAP Chairperson, Dr. Rosina Bierbaum, presented a report to the GEF Council on STAP's work programme, it's role in the GEF and next steps. For a copy of this presentation, click here.  Dr. Bierbaum also gave a presentation to the GEF Assembly which, among other things, provided STAP's vision for GEF-6, including new areas for integration. For a copy of this presentation, click here.


STAP Meeting

From 24-25 May, the STAP Secretariat and Panel gathered for their bi-annual meeting. The objectives of the meeting were to discuss and reach agreement on the major program activities of the STAP in FY15 and GEF-6, and to review proposed changes to the STAP's contribution to the GEF Project Cycle. The first day of the meeting (24 May) was open to all Assembly participants, and featured presentations by the UNEP's Chief Scientist and the GEF Secretariat.

To see the meeting agenda, click here. Links to the background documents for the meeting are provided below:

  1. Discussion Brief - STAP in GEF-6
  2. Discussion Brief - Proposed Changes to STAP's Role in the GEF Project Cycle
  3. STAP Report to the GEF Assembly - Delivering Global Environmental Benefits for Sustainable Development
  4. Chairperson's Report to Council
  5. GEF-6 Programming Directions
  6. GEF-6 Policy Recommendations
  7. Evaluation of the STAP of the GEF - Technical Document 15, OPS 5
  8. Progress Report on the GEF Project Cycle Streamlining and Harmonization Process
  9. Sub-Study on Results Based Management - Technical Document 10, OPS 5
  10. Knowledge Management in the GEF - Technical Document 11, OPS 5
  11. Research within the GEF - Proposals for Revising the Targeted Research Modality
  12. Draft STAP Key Points for PIF Screens + STAP Screen - January 2014
  13. STAP Schedule for the Assembly and Associated Events
  14. Logistics information for GEF Assembly and Associated Events


45th Council Meeting Dr. Rosina Bierbaum presents to the GEF Council at the 45th Meeting in November, 2013

STAP Report to the 46th Meeting of the GEF Council

The STAP Chairperson - Dr. Rosina Bierbaum - presented the STAP's Report to the 46th Meeting of the GEF Council on 26 May. The report highlights the STAP's work programme activities and products, summarizes a recent evaluation of the STAP that was conducted by the GEF's Evaluation Office (EO), and proposes operational changes to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the STAP's contribution to the GEF's Project Cycle. To see the Chairperson's Report to Council, click here. To view the Chairperson's presentation, click here.


STAP Report to the 5th GEF Assembly

On 28 May, Dr. Bierbaum also presented directly to the Assembly plenary to highlight the major findings of a thematic Report to Assembly by the STAP. The presentation provided guidance for how the STAP can assist the GEF with:

  • delivering global environmental benefits in the context of sustainable development
  • improving integration and synergistic benefits between focal areas and through the pilot integrated approach programs (IAPs)
  • supporting innovation through effective knowledge management frameworks and practices

To download the Report to Assembly, click here. To view the Chairperson's presentation, click here.


Side Events at the Assembly

The STAP also facilitated three Side Events that were held on the margins of the Assembly. Click on the title of each event for a detailed description and programme:


To see a schedule of the STAP's involvement in the GEF Assembly and Associated Events, click here.

To see Logistics information for the GEF Assembly and Associated Events, click here.

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STAP Workshop On Small Island Developing States, Groundwater and Interlinkages

[G]roundwater is a limited resource that is subject to over-exploitation, as well as pollution from various practices relating to sanitation, waste management, and use of external inputs in land use for agriculture. Further, there are often direct linkages between quality of groundwater and wetlands and coastal resources. Groundwater resources are also sensitive to climate change, biodiversity loss, and land management.

This Report indicates that these relationships are more evident and direct, that they have clearer and shorter feedback loops, and that they take on even more significance and urgency, in the context of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Moreover, it is apparent from much of the literature relating to SIDS that the sustained development of these countries depends heavily on the protection of ecosystem services, and on integrated management of their freshwater resources.

May 2007


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STAP's Climate Change Adaptation Postdoc and Kyoto University's DRC Program

VMorinIn 2012 our STAP Postdoc on Climate Change Adaptation, Veronique Morin, participated in a graduate exchange program with Kyoto University. The program was entitled "Disaster Resilient Countries (DRC)", and consisted of intensive short courses and field visits to tsunami, flood and earthquake disaster affected areas all over Japan and Thailand. Three years after completing the program, Kyoto University catches up with Veronique to see what kind of activities she is involved in at the STAP, and to reflect on how the DRC program helped her to prepare for her ongoing work.

To read Veronique's full article, please click here.

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Side Event on Climate Change and Biodiversity; Conservation and Adaptation at CBD COP 11

biologo[S]TAP of the Global Environment Facility hosted a side event on Climate Change and Biodiversity along with Conservation and Adaptation at the Convention on Biodiversity's Conference of the Parties (CBD COP 11) meeting in Hyderabad, India on October 17th.

Projected climate change will have impacts on forest ecosystems, affecting biodiversity, forest regeneration, growth rates and geographic distribution of plant species or forest types. Forest dependent communities (indigenous as well as agricultural) and their livelihoods are likely to be adversely affected. Yet we know that biodiversity rich forests are less vulnerable to climate change. To minimize the adverse Impacts of climate change, particularly on biodiversity and environmental services, there is a need for scientific assessments of the impacts of climate change on biodiversity in different forested ecosystems in order to guide the development and implementation of adaptation strategies. Policy initiatives incorporating climatic concerns into planning and implementation of forest conservation, afforestation and reforestation are needed, particularly in developing countries. The event presented impacts of climate change on biodiversity of forests and other natural ecosystems and opportunities for adaptation; assessing the implications of climate change Impacts on biodiversity for biodiversity-dependent communities, and identify approaches to reduce vulnerability of forest ecosystems and forest-dependent communities - and highlight the role of the GEF in this regard.

Please see the article in The Hindu regarding this side-event.

The event was Chaired by Dr. V.K. Bahuguna, Director General, Indian Council of Forestry Research

Presentations were made by:

Prof. N.H. (Ravi) Ravindranath, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and GEF-STAP Member for Climate MitigationClimate change and biodiversity; Current science and policy

Andrew Velthaus, Senior Policy Advisor, GEF SecretariatRole of the GEF in biodiversity climate adaptation

Dr. S. Suryakumari, Centre for Peoples Forestry, Hyderabad Community | Perspectives on climate change impact on biodiversity

Dr. Srinivasan Iyer, UNDP-India Biodiveristy Conservation ProgrammePresentation on MoEF-GEF-UNDP India Coastal Biodiversity

Hyderabad | 17 October 2012

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Workshop: Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation in Production Sectors

© Kent Redford © Kent Redford

[O]n October 1-3, a group of over 30 conservation practitioners from diverse backgrounds met at the research center of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) in Kristenbosch – Cape Town, South Africa. The meeting focused on what we have learned over the past 10 years in the practice of mainstreaming biodiversity conservation concerns into public policy and private sector decision making in areas well beyond traditional conservation activities such as protected areas. More importantly, the group considered how we may need to modify our strategies in this area for the future. Almost a decade ago a similar group met at the same location, also convened by the Global Environment Facility and STAP, to propose that initiatives such as payments for ecosystem services, certification, and similar activities in the landscape can result in numerous benefits for biodiversity conservation – as well as communities, land owners, farmers, and businesses. The current meeting reviewed the evidence from implementation in these areas over the past 10 years. While there have been numerous successes, and ongoing effort on site-based initiatives such as these was encouraged, it was also stressed that we will likely need to work much further upstream in decision making and supply chains in order to ensure biodiversity conservation in a world of 10 billion people. A repository of presentations from the meeting will be available here, and a final report from the workshop will be available by the end of the year.

To find more information on this event, click here.

© Kent Redford © Kent Redford


Mark Zimsky – Reflections on Biodiversity Mainstreaming Principles in the GEF

Nik Sekhran – UNDP and Biodiversity Mainstreaming: Principles and Realities

Kent Redford – Synthesis of Lessons Learned from a Decade of Biodiversity Mainstreaming Experience

Kristal Maze – Lessons Learnt from Policy and Planning Mainstreaming Approaches Implemented since 2004 in South Africa

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez – Economic Growth and Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation: the Costa Rican Case

Didier Dogley – Mainstreaming biodiversity in the Seychelles - a Small Island Developing State

Dilys Roe  Lessons Learned on Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Development

Jason Clay – The Market Transformation Initiative

Courtney Lowrance – Leveraging the Commercial Banking Sector to Mainstream Biodiversity Conservation

Andrew Bovarnick – Scaling up Sustainable Agricultural Commodities

Jeff Milder – Shaping Land-use Practices and Supply Chains through Commodity Certification: the Experience of the Rainforest Alliance

Anthea Stephens – At the Coal Face: Mainstreaming Biodiversity within Agriculture, Forestry and Mining Sectors in South African Grasslands

Valerie Hickey – Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES): a Global Partnership

Ahmed Khan – Natural Resource Management Programmes

Mandy Driver – Mobilising Finance for Managing Biodiversity Assets and Ecological Infrastructure in South Africa

Fernando Veiga  Water Funds

Arne Geschke  Trade and Biodiversity

José Carlos Fernández  Mainstreaming Biodiversity & Financing: Experience of PES, REDD and Perspectives

Marieta Sakalian  Mainstreaming of Agricultural Biodiversity Conservation and Use: UNEP-GEF Experience

Deon Nel  Surviving & Thriving in the Anthropocene: Beyond Mainstreaming to Global System Transformations

Richard Cowling  Why Mainstreaming Biodiversity is Like Swimming Upstream and What can be Done about It

Trevor Sandwith  Protected Areas: the Invisible (Helping) Hand for Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Development


Relevant Documents Are Available Below

Workshop Detailed Programme   | (September 2013)

Background Discussion Paper - Mainstreaming Biodiversity  | (Kent Redford, May 2013)

Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Production Landscapes   | (Caroline Petersen and Brian Huntley, November 2005)

Draft GEF-6 Programing Directions   | (GEF Secretariat, August 2013)

A State of Knowledge Review   | (the NBSAPS 2.0 project, 2013)

Breaking Down the Silos   | (Report of the Thematic Consultation on Environmental Sustainability in the Post-2015 Agenda, 2013)

Strategies to Reduce Deforestation in Brazil - Outline  | (Rio + 20, June 2012)

Strategies to Reduce Deforestation in Brazil | (Rio + 20, June 2012)

Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 - 2020 and the Aichi Targets 

International Trade Drives Biodiversity Threats in Developing Nations | (M. Lenzen et al, June 2012)

Workshop Agenda

Speaker Guidance

Participants List

Logistics Information


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Soil Organic Carbon for Global Benefits: A Scoping Workshop for the GEF

soc_0[T]he Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) organized a workshop for the GEF on “Soil organic carbon for global benefits”. The meeting was held 10th – 12th September at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

The purpose of the meeting was to scope what the GEF could do to deliver global environment benefits by focusing on the role of soils. In particular, the workshop discussed the following questions:

  • How could the GEF support program development that would comprehensively focus on soils, ecosystem services, and water?
  • What strategy would be appropriate for the GEF to deliver multiple benefits?
  • Which ecosystems and agro-ecologies have the best scope to deliver multiple benefits and under what conditions?

These questions and the relevance of soils were discussed prominently in the context of the current, and future, GEF land degradation strategy.

The complete set of conclusions and recommendations will be developed fully in a technical report to be completed by November 2012. STAP will draw from the technical report to develop specific policy recommendations for the GEF on soil organic carbon. The GEF Secretariat will consider both documents for the development of the GEF – 6 land degradation strategy. Please refer below to the presentations to learn more about the workshop.

For further information about this workshop, please write to Guadalupe Duron.

Prepared By: Guadalupe Duron

Nairobi | 10-12 September, 2012

DOWNLOAD All Documents


DOWNLOAD Workshop Information Note

DOWNLOAD List of participants

DOWNLOAD Estimating soil carbon change from land management using remote sensing and modeling

DOWNLOAD GEF Land Degradation Focal Area

DOWNLOAD Measuring monitoring and modelling soil organic carbon

DOWNLOAD Soil organic matter - soil fertility and climate change

DOWNLOAD Soil organic carbon management for global benefits

DOWNLOAD Soil organic matter and ecosystem services

DOWNLOAD Spatial assessment of soil degradation and its impact on SOC under different land covers

DOWNLOAD Spatial distribution variability and behavior of soil carbon

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Marine Spatial Planning in Practice

MSP by NOAA[M]arine spatial planning (MSP) is an area-based management framework that provides a means for improving decision-making as it relates to the use of marine resources and space. As human activities continue to exert increasing pressures on marine ecosystems, MSP is gaining international recognition as a valuable approach that integrates, rather than polarizes, environmental, social, and economic interests to achieve multiple management objectives.

STAP, in collaboration with UNEP and UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and guided by Panel Member Jakob Granit, is undertaking a cross-cutting advisory task to reflect available global experience of implementing MSP.  The partnership undertaking this task have invited all relevant GEF focal points, and a wide range of national and regional agencies, in liaison with the CBD Secretariat, to contribute their experience through a survey. The findings of this survey will be analysed in an expert workshop in Cambridge, UK, from 6-8 May.  The expected outputs will include lessons on the challenges of successfully making the transition from planning to implementation, lessons on the analysis of the governance context and identification of capacity building needs by context and MSP type.

To view a recent publication about MSP that was produced by the STAP and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), click here.

To find more information about this event, click here.

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STAP Meeting 2014

STAP Meeting (Open Session), October 27, 2014

The STAP will once more run its Biannual meeting concurrently with the GEF Council meetings. For the Fall 2014 session, the STAP Open Meeting will be held on October 27, 2014 at the World Bank MC Building in Washington DC. The main meeting objectives are as follows:-

  • Finalize the major program activities of STAP in FY15 and GEF-6;
  • Review STAP’s contribution to the IAPs, GEF Knowledge Management;
  • Review of STAP Screening Process in GEF-6.

The meeting Agenda and STAP Provisional Work Programme for GEF-6 can be accessed at the links below.

STAP Contribution to the 47th Meeting of the GEF Council (October 28-30, 2014)

The GEF Council is a high level meeting of representatives from the GEF's 32 constituencies, who act as the GEF's governing board of directors. They are responsible for developing, adopting, and evaluating policies and programs for GEF-financed activities. Council meetings are open to Council Members, Council Alternate Members, and the GEF CEO or his/her representative. The STAP is one of the invitees to this biannual meeting of the GEF partnership, and at each Council Meeting the STAP Chair presents a written and visual report on the activities of the STAP. In addition, the STAP Work Programme, the implementation of the work programme, and any other strategic or policy-related views of the STAP requested by the Council can be presented at the Council Meetings.

The STAP Chair's Report and the STAP Provisional Work Programme for GEF-6 will be the main documents presented to the Council.

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STAP/UNESCO Workshop Managing the Subsurface Environment

STAP/UNESCO Workshop Managing the Subsurface Environment: Integrated Managed Aquifer Recharge

[T]he significance of groundwater, and its intrinsic social and economic characteristics, are insufficiently recognized and valued in national development plans, or in the administration of water resources and the environment. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) was, therefore, asked by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to identify the principal threats, and strategic issues on groundwater.

In response, STAP convened a workshop on strategic priorities and options in groundwater resources in April 2004. The workshop recognized that Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is integral to the management and sustainability of groundwater resources. Furthermore, the workshop acknowledged that MAR technologies can help address threats to groundwater (e.g. aquifer degradation due to salinization and seawater intrusion).

The GEF, therefore, asked STAP to convene a second workshop on managing the subsurface environment, with a focus on MAR. The purpose of the workshop was to assess the effectiveness of MAR, including, and in combination with related technologies, such as water reuse, in a range of hydrogeological and environmental settings. These included: transboundary water impacts in international waters, the impacts of extreme climatic events on groundwater recharge/storage, and groundwater management for sustaining groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

May 2006


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