Global Environment Facility

Global Environment Facility


The Global Environment Facility (GEF) unites 183 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants and concessional funding for activities related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, chemicals and waste in the context of development projects and programs. The GEF has 100 staff members and is headquartered in Washington, D.C, USA. The Facility's financing decisions amounted to USD 0.99 billion in fiscal year 2013.




Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function

The mission of the GEF Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) is to enhance global environmental benefits through excellence, independence, and partnership in evaluation. The GEF IEO has the central role of ensuring the independent evaluation function within the GEF. The GEF IEO sets common requirements for evaluation, ensures oversight of the quality of evaluation at program and project levels, and shares evaluative evidence within the GEF. The GEF IEO undertakes independent evaluations at the strategic level, focusing typically on cross-cutting themes, such as focal area-wide topics or integrated approaches. The office also undertakes institutional evaluations, such as assessing GEF governance, policies and strategies. The work culminates in the quadrennial Comprehensive Evaluation of the GEF.


The GEF IEO operates under the GEF Evaluation Policy of 2019. In fiscal year 2024, GEF IEO has 19 staff members (including 4 extended-term consultants), and an operating budget of USD 8.3 million.


Evaluation Policy:
GEF Evaluation Policy, 2019

Current Priorities:

  • Continue to provide feedback on the performance, results, and impacts of GEF support by focusing and organizing its work program around key evaluative issues, while enhancing the utility of the evaluations to the GEF partnership.
  • Knowledge management activities focus on greater dissemination of evaluation findings to promote learning across the GEF partnership and external stakeholders.
  • The IEO strives to remain at the forefront of evaluation approaches and methodologies, and it will contribute to creating and sharing knowledge through participation in evaluation communities and dissemination events.

Human Resources:

  • Unit Head: M
  • Evaluators: Total 16; F=7 and M=9 (not including the Director)
  • Support staff: Total 2; F=1 and M=1
  • Decentralized evaluation staff: Responsibility of the GEF Agencies.

Evaluations produced per year by the central unit and by decentralized units (where applicable):

  • Six centralized evaluations completed in fiscal year 2023 (one performance evaluation, three programme evaluations, one process evaluation, one annual evaluation report of the LDCF/SCCF funds)
  • 328 decentralized terminal evaluations completed in FY2022 & FY2023. These evaluations are conducted by the GEF Agencies.

Key resource:

  • GEF IEO website:

In 2023, independent evaluation in the GEF celebrates its 20 th anniversary.
See section 3.2 in GEF Evaluation Policy for details.


As a result of the Second Overall Performance Study and replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund, the GEF M&E Unit was made independent in 2003; it now reports directly to the GEF Council, the main Governing Body of the GEF. The GEF Monitoring and Evaluation Policy was revised in 2010 and underscored the independence of the Office and its direct link to the Council. The institutional independence has been further confirmed by the decision of the GEF Council in November 2013 to change the name of the Office to the GEF Independent Evaluation Office (GEF IEO).

The GEF IEO is independent from both the policy-making process and the delivery and management of assistance to guarantee that data gathering and analysis and judgments on criteria, findings, and recommendations will not be influenced by conflicts of interest or undue interference by management at any level. The Secretariat, Agencies, and other affected parties may receive, comment, and respond to the draft and final reports, but do not have the right to approve, hold back, request changes, or otherwise modify such draft and final evaluation reports. The Director issues final evaluation reports directly and simultaneously to the GEF Council and the GEF CEO without any prior clearance from anyone.

Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

The GEF Council provides the overall framework, starting with agreement on objectives, and corporate and focal area results frameworks. The GEF Secretariat proposes to the Council how these objectives and results should be monitored, and the GEF IEO proposes to the Council how these should be evaluated. Emerging environmental and development trends, and GEF results and performance within the context of these trends, are reported on in the overall performance study prepared by the GEF IEO as one of the key documents of the replenishment process. Based on this information, the GEF Council makes strategic and policy-level decisions. The GEF Agencies and their partners execute project, programme, and portfolio M&E. The GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) provides advice on indicators, targets, and evaluation approaches.

The GEF IEO collaborates with the independent evaluation units of the GEF Agencies to enhance collective capacity to fulfill evaluation needs effectively and efficiently. Each GEF Agency has its own system of governance and rules and regulations governing the implementation of activities, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of these activities. The GEF Council can adopt principles, norms, and standards for those parts of the GEF for which it is directly responsible, such as the GEF Secretariat, the GEF IEO, and the STAP, but it does not have the authority to do so for the GEF Agencies. However, the GEF Council can decide on which partners it collaborates with and can require minimum standards and minimum procedures to be applied in activities that it funds. For this reason, the M&E Policy contains principles, norms, and standards for the work of the GEF Secretariat in monitoring and for the work of the GEF IEO. It sets out minimum requirements on M&E for GEF-financed and each partner uses its own system for M&E projects and programmes. It also covers monitoring, evaluation, and reporting for programmatic approaches.


Stakeholder involvement and promoting national evaluation capacity development

A number of locally and internationally based stakeholders are involved in GEF M&E activities. Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or institutions that have an interest or stake in the outcome of a GEF-financed project or programme, including those potentially affected by a project or programme. Stakeholders may include national project or programme executing agencies, groups contracted to conduct activities at various stages of the project or programme, and other civil society groups including local community members who may have an interest in the project or programme or who are living in the project or programme area, or who are dependent for part of their livelihoods or in times of stress on the natural resources of the project or programme area. Their involvement in M&E depends on the project or programme and their role. For example, academic institutions or private sector companies may support M&E activities directly and provide outside perspectives and expertise. NGOs and civil society organizations may play an important role in monitoring project or programme activities, as well as in providing feedback as beneficiaries or as representatives of community groups.

Consistent with provisions in the GEF Instrument, there should be transparency in the preparation, conduct, reporting, and evaluation of public involvement activities in all projects and programmes, including for M&E. This ensures full disclosure of all non-confidential information, and consultation with major groups and representatives of local communities in M&E. M&E in the GEF shall involve project stakeholders and beneficiaries, both as participants and contributors and as users and beneficiaries as appropriate. Local stakeholder participation and participatory approaches to M&E are particularly necessary in projects and programmes that affect the incomes and livelihoods of local groups, especially disadvantaged populations in and around project sites (for example, indigenous and other local communities, women, and poor households).

Quality Assurance

The GEF Independent Evaluation Office uses several quality assurance mechanisms, peer review panels, reference Groups, quality assurance panels, technical advisory groups, steering committees, as well as including inter-agency and stakeholder meetings, and the GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP). The IEO also has developed a quality assurance mechanism for project evaluation reports, together with GEF Agency evaluation offices.


Use of Evaluation


A management response is required for all evaluation reports presented to the GEF Council by the GEF IEO. The GEF CEO coordinates the preparation of the management response with GEF stakeholders for GEF Council consideration, tailored to each evaluation report. Management responses are expected to clearly indicate whether management accepts, partially accepts, or rejects the recommendations, and explain the reasons. The GEF IEO is not responsible for the substance of the response, although it verifies the quality of responses to ensure findings have been presented correctly and recommendations have been addressed. The GEF Agencies ensure that recommendations from GEF-related evaluations, whether conducted by the GEF IEO or independent evaluation units within the Agencies, are submitted for decision-making and action within the Agencies.

The GEF Council discusses and reviews GEF M&E reports, the recommended actions, and the management responses; takes any necessary decisions; and gives guidance to the GEF on policies or an appropriate plan of action within specific time frames.

There is systematic follow-up to evaluations, including dissemination of evaluation reports, management responses, and follow-up reports. There is also systematic follow-up on the implementation of the evaluation recommendations that have been accepted by management and/or the GEF Council, with periodic review and follow-up on the status of implementation of the evaluation recommendations. In consultation with the appropriate GEF partners, the GEF IEO and the GEF Secretariat report to the Council on the follow-up of Council decisions; these decisions and follow-on actions are compiled in a management action record provided to the Council on an annual basis.


Joint Evaluation


The evaluation units of the GEF Agencies exchange their evaluation agendas or work plans with the GEF IEO to seek possible areas of common interest and cooperation, and where possible joint evaluations. For relevant evaluations covering issues of GEF concern and the GEF portfolio, the evaluation units provide opportunities to the GEF IEO to interact with regard to terms of reference, approach, and scope. Where a notable GEF portfolio exists, the Agency corporate evaluations should integrate and reflect this as much as possible - for example, in their country portfolio evaluations, impact evaluations, and thematic evaluations. The Agency evaluation units are also expected to cooperate on norms, standards, and quality of evaluations. Agencies are expected to provide adequate financial support for evaluation units to undertake their work in a way that does not detract from the independent conduct of evaluations. Bilateral consultations are organized between the GEF IEO and Agency evaluation units to address any systemic issues, including budgetary issues. This cooperation has led to a steady flow of joint evaluations, most of which have been done with UNDP's Independent Evaluation Office, but also with the Evaluation Unit in UNEP and with the Independent Evaluation Group of the World Bank, as well as with other evaluation offices of the GEF Agencies. All these joint evaluations are recognized as such and are available on the GEF Independent Evaluation Office website.



UNEG Members

Anna Viggh

Senior Evaluation Officer, GEF

Anupam Anand

Evaluation Officer, GEF

Carlo Carugi

Senior Evaluation Officer, GEF

Francisco Grahammer

Information Analyst, GEF

Geeta Batra

Chief Evaluation Officer and Deputy Director, GEF

Jeneen Garcia

Evaluation Officer, GEF

Independent Evaluation Office

Juan Portillo

Senior Operations Officer, GEF

Juha Uitto

Director, GEF

Independent Evaluation Office

Fact Sheet