The GEF created the Small Grants Programme in 1992 with the aim of developing community-led and -owned strategies and technologies for reducing threats to the global environment while addressing livelihood challenges. Implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the SGP awards small grants—up to a maximum of $50,000—to needy communities to support the use of practices and technologies that benefit the global environment. Since start-up, the SGP has provided over 18,000 such grants to communities in more than 125 countries.
In 2008, the SGP was jointly evaluated by the independent evaluation offices of the GEF and UNDP. That evaluation was crucial in shaping the way forward for the SGP. This second joint GEF-UNDP evaluation of the SGP covers the period 2008 to 2014, with a focus on the fifth SGP operational phase, which began in 2011. The evaluation assesses the extent to which the most important recommendations and related GEF Council decisions emerging from the 2008 evaluation have been implemented, the factors that have affected their implementation, and the extent to which these recommendations and Council decisions remain pertinent in light of current and future circumstances. The evaluation also reports on the SGP’s current role and results in terms of effectiveness in achieving global environmental benefits while addressing livelihoods, poverty, and gender equality; broader adoption of grant-level results; the SGP’s strategic positioning; and monitoring and evaluation. Initial findings of the evaluation have contributed to the chapter on the SGP in the Fifth Overall Performance Study of the GEF (OPS5).