Financing Innovation: Opportunities for the GEF
Ahead of the GEF’s 7th replenishment cycle, the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the GEF is interested in exploring ways that innovation contributes to GEF objectives, and the GEF may promote innovation more effectively. This review is also timely insofar as the opportunities and challenges related to innovative approaches have changed dramatically since the GEF’s creation, starting as a pilot in 1991 and formalized by an Instrument in 1994. GEF responsibilities have greatly expanded, many additional agencies have been given access to GEF resources, and much has been learned about what does – and doesn’t work in response to global environmental challenges. Advances in technologies have created opportunities for new solutions. Perhaps most dramatically, the world of global finance has expanded enormously, particularly in the form of private investments and support for new technologies. The deliberations associated with GEF 7 thus call for a fresh look at the role of the GEF in this rapidly evolving financial landscape. This paper looks specifically at how GEF might identify and support innovative approaches for the GEF in relation to technology, business models, and policy, as well as opportunities associated with more creative use of financial instruments, particularly non-grant support.