Frances Howe, The Lesotho Council of NGOs (LCN) Natural Resources Management
Advisor for the Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Commission attended
the Ministry of Environment monthly meeting on February 12, 2015 to share information
and track progress re Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects in Maseru.
The monthly meetings and the task teams are to identify and develop proposals for GEF
projects, and track progress on existing GEF projects in the country. It was discussed
at the meeting that Lesotho needs to show it is hungry for GEF funds, to continue to be
eligible and this will be reflected by the NGOs involvement to help identify and generate
proposals. It was also highlighted that the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) provides
funding for eligible NGOs for grassroots projects. NGOs were also given information
that the GEF CSOs network is a hub on GEF funds for relevant NGO projects.
According to Howe, LCN should consider applying to join the GEF CSOs network. This is free
but requires an online application and accreditation process including provision of financial
documents and referees.
The GEF-CSO Network or NGO Network of the Global Environment Facility was established
in May 1995 following the GEF Councilâ€™s decision to establish a formal relationship
between the NGOs and the GEF Secretariat, Council Assembly and partner agencies.
The decision tasked the Network with the responsibility of disseminating information
on the GEF to the NGO community and other stakeholders at the national, regional
and international levels. The GEF-CSO Network was subsequently launched as a
volunteer structure of GEF-accredited organizations.
From the GEF's inception, during its Pilot Phase, the NGOs have been active in
shaping its policies and projects. Subsequent GEF documents and decisions have
reaffirmed and expanded that role. Section VI of the "Instrument for the Establishment
of the Restructured GEF" -- the document creating the permanent GEF structure -- titled
"Cooperation with Other Bodies", allows for the role of NGOs and other members of civil
society in "GEF project preparation and execution".
The GEF's policy paper of June 1996, "Public Involvement in GEF-Financed Projects",
further solidified the NGO role in the GEF activities. The paper observes that "the
GEF Council approved the principles presented herein as a basis for public involvement
in the design, implementation, and evaluation of GEF-financed projects". Paragraph
15 refers specifically to NGOs by stating: "In collaboration with the Implementing
Agencies, explore ways in which roles of NGOs and other stakeholders can be strengthened
in project preparation, design, implementation, and evaluation..." That paragraph concludes:
"Ensure that funding is available to recipient governments, Executing Agencies,
and as appropriate, NGOs for conducting effective public involvement."
The Network has played a strategic role in contributing to and shaping many key policies
of GEF as well as acting as a mechanism to monitor and provide feedback on the implementation
of GEF programmes. Information materials such as the A-Z guide on GEF were developed to enhance
understanding among civil society on GEF and opportunities for involvement. Since 2006, the role
of the network has evolved further. The Network has prepared a Strategic and Operational plan
guide the network in its future activity and examine ways to enhance the role of the member
organisations in directly contributing to GEF programmes at the regional and country level.