The novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is spreading rapidly and is by now affecting most countries and regions of the world. It affects how we work and interact with each other in a myriad ways. We have little understanding of how long the situation will last.
The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) of the GEF continues to operate remotely, as our offices are closed and all travel has been indefinitely suspended. Nevertheless, the work program is on track and we are completing ongoing evaluations and conducting new ones. Field work has at this stage been postponed until later dates. We will also deliver on schedule the Annual Performance Review of the GEF and the Annual Evaluation Report of the Least Developed Countries and Special Climate Change Funds (LDCF/SCCF).
We have communicated with all the GEF Agencies informing them that the timelines for completing terminal evaluations have been relaxed due to the situation. In those rare cases where field work is not essential and interviews can be conducted remotely, we encourage Agencies to complete the evaluations as planned. Where field work is required to verify results on the ground, evaluations can be completed once the current crisis subsides.
It is a clear scientific fact that pandemics like the current one have their root causes in how we interact with the natural environment. As human activities encroach deeper into nature through road building, logging, mining and other economic activities, this gives increased pathways to pathogens to cross over from non-human animals to humans. The COVID-19 crisis is a dire reminder of the importance of the work of the GEF and strengthens our motivation further to carry out our work.
On behalf of the IEO, I would like to thank our partners for the continued cooperation. I hope that you and your families and loved ones all weather this storm in good health and spirits. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any requests or issues.