News and Updates

Liquid Biofuels in Transport

[T]his report from STAP, while providing clear recommendations to the GEF, clearly demonstrates that the sustainable development and use of biofuels is only one part of a larger picture involving the need for much greater efficiencies in existing transport systems. The report also cautions that where new technologies offer promise, they also need to be appropriate solutions to problems facing developing countries.

May 2007


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Side Event CBD SBSTTA 16

In collaboration with the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity and other partners, STAP organized two side events at the 16th Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (CBD SBSTTA 16) of the CBD in Montreal, Canada on May 2nd and 3rd 2012. The information submitted by the STAP to the CBD SBSTTA-16 and discussed at both events informed participants at the meeting and was used to develop specific SBSTTA-16 recommendations to the Conference of the Parties to CBD (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/L.15 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/L.16).

The first event entitled “Marine Spatial Planning and Management using the Ecosystem Approach: From Principles to Practice” was organized in collaboration with UNEP, The Nature Conservancy, and IOC-UNESCO. Side event responded to the request of the CBD Secretariat and the CBD Decision X/29, paragraph 75:

“To compile and synthesize available information in collaboration with Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations on their experiences and use of marine spatial planning, in particular on ecological, economic, social, cultural and other principles used to guide such planning and the use of area-based management tools.”

STAP in collaboration with partners prepared a report that synthesizes available information on the scope of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) activities around the world, lessons learned about the utility of spatial planning and management processes and tools, and criteria for successful use of MSP at various scales. This report explores spatial management as an effective contribution to protecting marine and coastal biodiversity while at the same time addressing human needs, concentrating especially on valuable ecosystem services in coasts, estuaries and deltas, near-shore environments, and open oceans. The report reviews conventional planning processes, identifies innovative new tools, and discusses the potential MSP has -- as yet not fully realized -- in aligning conservation and development interests while protecting vital ecosystems, the services they deliver, and the biodiversity they support. The draft report was made available as information document to the participants at the 16th meeting of Subsidiary Body of Scientific, Technological and Technical Advice (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/18).

The side event presented findings of the report and initiated a discussion on the necessary strategies and activities to build on the successes of MSP around the world focusing on the following three issues:

  1. Overview of theory and practice of designing and implementing MSP;
  2. Barriers and lessons learned in MSP applications throughout the world;
  3. Implications for the CBD.

Prepared By: Lev Neretin
Montreal | May 2012

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Observing the Success of GEF Investments

STAP Chair’s Visit to the Menengai and Olkaria Geothermal Fields

Kenya, August 2013

rig[E]arlier this month, while on mission in Kenya to meet with senior UNEP officials, the STAP Chair Dr. Rosina Bierbaum, and the STAP Secretary, Thomas Hammond accompanied by Dr. Meseret Zemedkhun, Program Manager of ARGeo, had the opportunity to visit and observe Kenya’s fast expanding geothermal development projects – the Menengai and Olkaria Geothermal Fields.

Located 10km north of Nakuru, the Menengai Caldera is a trachytic central volcano underlain by a high-level magma chamber.  The activity found in the Volcano provided a significant opportunity for the development of the Menengai Geothermal Development project, aimed at meeting the needs of Kenya’s increasing demand for power in accordance with the country’s green growth vision. The Geothermal Development Company (GDC) has so far drilled 15 wells from which the steam equivalent of over 100Mwe has been proven. Drilling continues with the hopes of targeting up to 400Mwe in the coming years. The tour of the site included a visit to the drilling sites, view wells, pump stations and tree nursery.

The Olkario Geothermal area is located within the Greater Olkaria Volcanic Complex which consists of a series of lava domes/flow and ashes.  To date, 186 wells have been drilled in Olkaria with a proven power potential of 620 MWe. As works continue in this area, the target potential of 1400 MWe will prove to be a substantial contribution towards the improvement in Kenya’s green power supply. The Olkaria geothermal area has been divided into seven development sectors. The scope of the visit was limited to three of the sectors, Olkaria III (South West Field) and Olkaria II (North East Field) and the Olkaria – Domes Field, where the members of STAP were able to visit specific power stations, drilling sites and gain more understanding about the project.

GEFKenyaThe African Rift Geothermal Development Facility Project (ARGeo), a GEF funded projected being implemented by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has played a crucial role in the development of these geothermal facilities and its operations, more specifically the Menengai Geothermal Development. This GEF investment has allowed for a leap frog effect in the project’s work in terms of lower financial costs, reduced risk associated with the resource’s exploration and leveraging new technologies. The success of such an investment has had, and will continue to have, an immense effect within other countries in the region and other nearby regions.


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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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Carbon Benefits Project Review Meeting

cbp2_0[F]rom 13 to 16 September, STAP led a review of the UNEP-GEF “Carbon Benefits Project” at Voi Wildlife Reserve in Kenya. STAP was asked by the GEF to lead a review of the carbon benefit tools (CBP) tools as the project nears its completion. The project developed a standardized system for the GEF to measure, model, and monitor carbon stock changes and greenhouse gas emissions from land management projects. In response to this request, the meeting objective focused, therefore, on the applicability and usefulness of the suite of tools developed by the CBP. The CBP team (composed of scientists from several institutions based in Africa, Europe, and the United States) led with presentations on the modeling and measurement components, as well as one day training on the use of the tools. STAP will now draw from the meeting outcomes to develop its conclusions and recommendations about the future use of the CBP tools in GEF projects.

Further information about the CBP can be found here.

For further information about the CBP, please contact Gemma Shepherd.

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

Further information about the workshop, including presentations by the CBP team, can be found below. 

Prepared By: Guadalupe Duron

Nairobi | 13-16 September, 2012

DOWNLOAD All Documents

DOWNLOAD Community carbon accounting

DOWNLOAD Cost benefit analysis and DPSIR tool

DOWNLOAD Detailed assessment and dynamic modelling

DOWNLOAD Guidance module

DOWNLOAD Measurement outreach and user engagement

DOWNLOAD On-line tools for monitoring reporting and evaluation

DOWNLOAD Overview of CBP measurement component

DOWNLOAD Overview of the CBP modelling

DOWNLOAD Overview on CBP project

DOWNLOAD Research and development of CBP field measurements

DOWNLOAD Soil Carbon Measuring Monitoring

DOWNLOAD Tools development and outcomes

DOWNLOAD Simple assessment module

DOWNLOAD Project description module

DOWNLOAD Remote sensing add-ons

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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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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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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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