News and Updates

Marine Spatial Planning in Practice Technical Meeting

STAP Report

6-8 May 2014, Cambridge, UK

[I]nformed by the results of a global online survey of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in practice, 27 experts from 17 countries gathered at UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge to consider the added value of MSP to existing management approaches to marine and coastal systems.  The Meeting forms part of a wider initiative of UNEP’s Division for Environmental Policy Implementation in collaboration with GEF-STAP, CBD Sec, GIZ, TNC and other partners. STAP participated in the Meeting to deliver its own commitments to the GEF regarding advice on MSP and this report represents STAP’s viewpoint only.

STAP considers the results of the Meeting to be directly relevant to implementation of the programming directions for GEF-6 particularly within multi-focal investments by Biodiversity, International Waters and Land Degradation focal areas. STAP also understands that the results of the Meeting will inform work of UNEP, Regional Seas Programmes and partners to enhance national and regional capacities for ecosystem-based management. Results of the Meeting will also be presented to the forthcoming 18th session of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), and later as a major contribution to the CBD Expert Workshop to Provide Consolidated Practical Guidance and a Toolkit for Marine Spatial Planning, to be held 9-11 September 2014.  In turn that Workshop will report to the CBD Conference of the Parties, which will consider the application of MSP.

MSP in Practice Participants

The number and scope of MSP initiatives are proliferating. While many early applications were directed at the conservation and restoration of ecosystems and their services, MSP is increasingly seen as a vehicle for maintaining wider ecosystem services and achieving sustainable Blue Growth – in many instances in the form of for example renewable energy production. The discussion on MSP for Blue Growth highlighted the need for better understanding of how specific markets function, resource availability and use, and mechanisms to encourage investment to sustain long term outcomes vis a vis environmental sustainability. Blue Growth is to be supported in the EU area through the recent adoption by the EU Parliament of the new Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning, to be coordinated with and complement existing environmental legislation and targets and EU implementation of MSP has, for example, been demonstrated jointly by Finland and Sweden under the Plan Bothnia delivered through HELCOM.  This case study was discussed at the Meeting as one of the possible models for learning and experience transfer.

As the field matures the initial emphasis on principles for planning needs to be complemented by greater attention to methods for assessing impacts and outcomes. A survey distributed before the Meeting therefore emphasized experience on making the often difficult transition from planning to the implementation of an MSP.  This transition requires a number of enabling conditions and capacities. For example, formal MSP governmental approval and awarding the needed authority and long-term resources for its implementation is likely to lead to successful outcomes. Useful intermediate outputs can be gained in the planning and early implementation, for example better understanding of varied sector needs and aspirations, which can support underpinning policy development or management processes.

A second theme of the Meeting was to better understand how the setting within which an MSP initiative is undertaken influences the enabling conditions for effective implementation.  Some of the enabling conditions that were discussed regarding what worked included conservation, resource use and development scenarios projected up to 10 years ahead driven by transparent feedback on preferred outcomes and based on good baseline data. Some of the challenges reported in the meeting were too short a planning period coupled to poor communication with stakeholders and between governance sectors, inadequate data and spatial scope, which may lead to failure. MSP outcomes considered useful to sustain positive stakeholder engagement included incentives such as agreements on access rights with clear zoning, backed by valuation, payments for ecosystem services and market advantages gained through certification of marine and coastal products.

Comparing notes on what worked: Chantalle Clarke (Belize) and Jorge Jimenez (Costa Rica) Comparing notes on what worked: Chantalle Clarke (Belize) and Jorge Jimenez (Costa Rica)

MSP covers a broad range of initiatives that all aim to sustain the use of resources and ecosystem services through careful planning of available coastal or ocean space, structured in scale and through time. It is therefore the counterpart to terrestrial land-use planning which, together with MSP, can inform “ridge to reef” or “source to sea” governance and management. However, a concern raised repeatedly during the Meeting is the proliferation of variants in the ecosystem approach to planning and management each with their distinct name and acronym.  Many participants noted that this confuses those working to apply integrated approaches that address both the environmental and the societal dimensions of ecosystem change. Steps should be taken to emphasize the similarities in these many variants and clarify what often minor differences in emphasis distinguish one from another.

Another topic of the Meeting discussions was how capacity building needs are shaped by the context and the scope and scale of an initiative. The survey revealed that the priority barriers to MSP implementation are governance issues, inadequate human capacity and accessing sustained funding that bridge from planning to implementation.  Discussions of barriers to implementation during the Meeting emphasized the criticality of engaging with stakeholders drawn from civil society, the relevant business interests and government in all phases of the planning process (planning, formalization, implementation, evaluation). It was noted repeatedly that stakeholder engagement in the planning phase leads to frustration and an erosion of trust if the conclusions reached are not reflected in the policies and actions subsequently adopted by government. This requires that those responsible for planning and negotiations among interested parties are clear as to the process by which final decisions on the content of an MSP will be made.

Blue Solutions' Ilona Porsche (GIZ) discussing knowledge transfer and capacity development Blue Solutions' Ilona Porsche (GIZ) discussing knowledge transfer and capacity development

Capacity needs are closely related to the setting in which an MSP initiative is undertaken and the scale and complexity of the issues to be addressed.  This suggests that further investments in capacity building should be directed at audiences selected with an eye to common issues and their related analytical and technical needs.  Adequately understanding the context within which an MSP initiative is undertaken and the associated capacity building needs reaffirmed the value of assembling a governance baseline as a feature of the initial design and planning process. Differences among contexts may also be highlighted by the development of a typology of contexts that highlights the differences between initiatives undertaken, for example, in settings where marine users are in poverty, the existing governance system is weak and ecosystem services are degraded in contrast to initiatives undertaken where human and environmental conditions are generally good and the governance system is more robust.

Governance discussion with Paul Gilliland (UK) and STAP's Stephen Olsen (USA) Governance discussion with Paul Gilliland (UK) and STAP's Stephen Olsen (USA)

Finally, there was an initial discussion of the need for simplifying frameworks that complement guidance on the processes of MSP with a sequence of outcomes that trace the evolution of effective MSP initiatives.  Such outcomes mark the completion of a successful planning process, proceed to document the changes in behavior associated with the implementation of an MSP that, when sustained, generates the societal and environmental conditions that signal the attainment of fundamental MSP goals. As the number of MSP initiatives increases it will be important to place a greater emphasis on methods and indicators for assessing the impacts and outcomes of MSP (social, economic, ecological) as the basis for assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of MSP practices.

Published Date:

STAP Meeting September 2012

STAP-2012-septPost Meeting Update

[T]he STAP successfully held its biannual meeting in Washington DC, which ran across three days of closed and open sessions (19-21 September, 2012). The meetings began with a one-day closed session on19th September, 2012, at which three new STAP Members were officially inducted into the STAP process: Jakob Granit for the International Waters focal area; Annette Cowie, Land Degradation; and Anand Patwardhan, Adaptation under the Least Developed Countries Fund/Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF). This was immediately followed by a two-day open session, from 20-21 September, 2012, during which the STAP was introduced to the vision of the new GEF CEO Dr Naoko Ishii for GEF 6, and worked with the GEF Secretariat, representatives from the Secretariats of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), GEF agencies and other experts to explore expectations for GEF 6, and brainstorm on the role and elements of work the STAP should take onboard in GEF 6 and beyond. In addition, the meeting saw presentations from agencies, experts and private sector, on critical environmental issues, as well as potential technologies and approaches that might be important in the near to mid-term. The meeting closed out with breakout sessions where each Panel Member got to work with their Focal Area Task Teams to discuss prioritization or re-adjustment of the STAP’s current work programme.

The new CEO has envisioned a far more dynamic GEF, with an emphasis on innovation and working closer with the private sector, which she is developing into a formal longer term “2020 GEF Strategy”. She expressed a desire to see further value-added by the work of the STAP, and committed to fuller STAP engagement as the GEF looks towards GEF-6.

For more details about this event please contact us.

Washington DC | 20-21 September 2012


Published Date:

Report to the Third GEF Assembly

[T]he report reflects STAP’s important advances in its scientific understanding of the environmental and technical issues that are directly relevant to the GEF. It also identifies emerging technologies, which could play a significant role in strengthening the effectiveness of GEF activities across the world.

June 2006


Published Date:

Green Chemistry and Bio-based Chemicals Workshop

greenchemistry[O]n March 19 2013, the GEF and the STAP co-organized a workshop to explore the technologies, business models, and the potential for future GEF projects and programs in the area of green chemistry and bio-based chemicals. “Green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry applies across the life cycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture, and use.” (US EPA definition). Many of green chemistry developments utilize the principle of “cradle to cradle” and avoid waste generation “benign by design”. Green chemistry field is dynamic and accelerating area for innovation. Some of green chemistry developments, however, if commercialized and broadly adopted could have a significant potential in many industries reducing their environmental footprint. Among relevant categories of green chemistry applications are bio-based alternatives substituting fossil-based chemicals, environmentally sound approaches to water purification; biodegradable polymers including biodegradable plastics; environmentally friendly refrigerants; bio-based batteries; substitution of hazardous chemicals in consumer products including toys and electronics and many others.

More than 30 participants from the GEF family, the US government, academia, private sector, and NGOs attended the workshop. Participants discussed the benefits and challenges supporting green chemistry applications including in the GEF context. They largely agreed on several areas for potential future work in the GEF, including:

  • Promote awareness of green chemistry among recipient countries and GEF agencies as a foundation for new projects. It was proposed to ask STAP to develop a paper for the GEF Council on “what, where and how” green chemistry applications could support GEF recipient countries in protection of global commons;
  • Support projects that reduce risks of innovative green chemistry technologies and make them ready for scaling–up – to overcome “valley of death” between R&D and pilot demonstrations. Demonstrating “success” in early applications will help catalyze future investments;
  • Identify, support and promote tools such as public procurement and certification/standards (e.g., GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals, Roadmap to Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals in apparel industry, Plastics Scorecard and others) that can be expanded to GEF recipient countries;
  • Promote studies of countries and sectors that establish baselines and opportunities for green chemistry applications assessing maturity of potential “leapfrog” technologies, institutional readiness and other factors.
  • Support existing institutions and partnerships such as UNEP/UNIDO Cleaner Production Centers Programme and Green Industry Platform as important vehicles for promoting and supporting green chemistry applications;
  • Identify key cross-cutting multi-focal area green chemistry concepts that are candidates for GEF-6 and could be included in strategic documents.

Agenda for the workshop can be downloaded here along with the presentations below.

1. Paul Anastas Director, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering
Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment, School of Forestry &
Environmental Studies, Yale University | Green Chemistry: Environmental and health protection through innovation

2. Mark Rossi Research Fellow at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Co-Chair
| Environmental & Economic Benefits of Green Chemistry (from the perspective of “downstream users”)

3. Stephen Gatto Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Myriant | Commercializing Bio-Based Chemicals

4. David Anton Chief Technology Officer, Codexis | Codexis Corporate Presentation to GEF

5. David Rodgers Senior Energy Specialist, GEF | Accessing GEF Funds | GEF Replenishment Process

6. Heinz Leuenberger Director of the Environmental Management Branch, UNIDO | Green Industries

Prepared By: Margarita Dyubanova

Washington DC | 19 March 2013


Published Date:

In Memory of Angela Cropper

Angela Cropper

[T]he former Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and the first Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Angela Cropper, passed away on November 12, 2012, at the age of 66, after a long struggle with cancer. Among her many contributions and achievements in support of environmental conservation and sustainable development over her career, Angela was a member of the GEF’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel as Vice Chair for a time between 2005 and 2007.

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and UN Undersecretary General, indicated how much Angela appreciated her time on STAP, as it spoke directly to her desire for substance.

The former Chair of STAP, Yolanda Kakabadse – under whom Angela served – expressed that “as a STAP member her clarity of thought and long term vision made her an invaluable colleague – always concerned about the need to prioritise themes and activities that would benefit the most vulnerable and poor in all regions and societies.”

The current STAP Panel and Chair recognized Angela’s invaluable contributions to the conservation of biodiversity throughout her life; Tom Lovejoy – current Chair of STAP – expressed that “she will be sorely missed” by our community.

Special Advisor to the STAP Chair Dr. Michael Stocking, remarking on Angela’s dedication in all aspects of her life, recalled a STAP workshop hosted by Angela in her native Trinidad on the challenges faced by small island developing states in groundwater management – she was “always gracious” in her work.

Personal remembrances may be posted on the following website.

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Expert Workshop: The Political Economy of Regionalism and International Waters

This Expert Workshop is designed to allow for a discussion on the extent and the manner in which regionalization processes influence GEF interventions and how GEF interventions can be better positioned in these processes for mutual benefit.



Fredrik Söderbaum - The Political Economy of Regionalism and International Waters

Phera Ramoeli - Overview of the SADC Transboundary Water Management: River Basin Management

Hashali Hamukuaya - Science to Governance in the BCLME: 20 Years of Institutional and Capacity Building for Integrated Transboundary LME Management

Canisius Kanangire - The Role of LVBC in the EAC Developmental and Integration Agenda

Peter Kanyi Maina - The Role of NELSAP In Regional Integration

Tuğba Evrim Maden - Turkey and the Implementation of the EU Aquis in the Context of Transboundary River Basins

Cletus Springer - Lessons from the Regionalization of Water Programs in the Americas

Robin Mahon - The Importance of Regional Cooperation and Governance Arrangements for Small Island Developing States

Douglas Taylor - Regional Collaboration Lessons Learned

To find more information on this event, click here.

Published Date:

Reducing the Long Term Costs of Low Greenhouse Gas-Emitting Energy Technologies

[T]here are two main problems. First, the technologies promoted to date have been regarded as too risky, because they are large scale and capital intensive, produce power which costs more (a financial risk) and also carry higher technological risks. And second, the need to reconcile the global, long-term benefit of lower greenhouse gas emissions with sufficient local benefits, i.e. more reliable generation of electricity at affordable prices.

STAP believes that promoting low greenhouse gas emitting technologies should remain fundamental to the GEF's work.

March 2004


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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.

Published Date:

STAP Meeting March 2013

stapmeeting2013[T]he meeting focused heavily on presenting an overview of the draft GEF 6 Focal Area Strategies as well as potential innovative technologies and approaches that might be incorporated into GEF programs and projects. Apart from presentations from the GEF Secretariat and other members of the GEF fraternity, the STAP meeting also welcomed noted experts from academia and other global think-tanks.


STAP Panel

Annette Cowie, Director, Rural Climate Solutions, University of New England and NSW Department of Primary Industries, STAP Land Degradation Panel Member | Presentation: Enhancing the GEF's Contribution to Sustainable Development

GEF Secretariat

Bob Dixon, Climate Change & Chemicals | Presentation: Towards GEF-6, Climate & Chemicals Strategy

Claus Astrup, Front Office | Presentation: GEF 2020 Strategy

Gustavo Fonseca, Natural Resources Management | Presentation: The Dawn of the Anthropocene

Evaluation Office

Aaron Zazueta, Chief Evaluation Officer and Team Leader | Presentation: Fifth Overall Performance Study (OPS5)Evaluation of STAP for OPS5

Specially Invited Experts

Joseph Alcamo, UNEP | Presentation: The Post Rio+20 Agenda, Three Actions Bringing Global Benefits

Paul Anastas, Director, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering, Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment, School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Member of Yale faculty since 2007 | Presentation: Sustainability and Transformative Innovation: Catalytic. Nexus.

Pavan Sukhdev, Yale University (visiting fellow), Former Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative and author of Corporation 2020 | Presentation: How Can GEF Engineer Change?

Washington DC | 20-22 March, 2013

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STAP at the UNCCD 2nd Scientific Conference

cbp2_0 Soil Organic Carbon Project Team

[T]he STAP participated at the UNCCD’s Second Scientific Conference held 9-12 April 2013 in Bonn, Germany. The conference theme was Economic Assessment of Desertification, Sustainable Land Management and Resilience of Arid, Semi-arid and Dry Sub-humid Areas. The STAP contributed to the Conference by designing and leading a 90 minute session titled “GEF Special Session on Carbon – a Valuable Global Benefit of Sustainable Land Management.” The session objectives were to ...

  • Demonstrate the importance of the current work of the Land Degradation Focal Area of the Global Environment Facility, with special reference to Sustainable Land Management (SLM).
  • Identify the multiple potential benefits derived from above- and below-ground sequestration of carbon.
  • Show how GEF investments and strategic planning support the UNCCD.
  • Consult the scientific community on issues related to SLM that might be included in future GEF strategic plans.

The session abstract can be downloaded here

During the session, the STAP also launched its report “Soil organic carbon management for global benefits: a discussion paper”. The paper provides an overview of soil organic carbon and its relevance to soil organic carbon management within the context of generating global environmental benefits and contributing towards food security and livelihoods. The report can be downloaded here.

The paper was presented at the session by Gerard Govers. The session presentations and their titles are listed below.

  1. Mohamed Bakarr, GEF Secretariat | Sustainable Land Management in the Global Environment Facility – Enhancing Ecosystem Services in Production Landscapes
  2. Gerard Govers, University of Leuven, Belgium | Soil organic carbon management for global benefits – A review for STAP
  3. Eleanor Milne, Colorado State University, U.S.A. | A New Tracking Tool for Carbon Benefits
  4. Annette Cowie, University of New England, Armidale, Australia | Value of Soil Organic Carbon: the case for biochar

For further information about this event, please contact Guadalupe Durón at the STAP Secretariat or visit the UNCCD website

Prepared By: Guadalupe Durón

Bonn | 9-12 April 2013

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