IEO conducts accountability and learning-focused evaluations that generate lessons learned for the GEF. The evaluations focus on results, impact and performance of the GEF, and address strategic issues of the partnership.
Overall Performance Studies (OPS) are performed every four years to provide solid evaluative evidence to donors. These evaluations provide an independent assessment of performance and results of the GEF over a GEF replenishment period. The comprehensive evaluations assess the extent to which the GEF is achieving its objectives and identify potential areas of improvement.
When a project is closing, the Implementing or Executing Agency conducts a terminal evaluation. The main purpose of such evaluations is to review the implementation process and achievement of results and draw lessons.
The Guidelines for Terminal Evaluations provide guidance on how to conduct such final project evaluations, based on the GEF M&E policy.
The GEF Independent Evaluation Office Ethical Guidelines provide guidance to its staff and consultants on ethical behavior to ensure that evaluations are free of bias, transparent, and considerate of stakeholder rights and interests.
The ethical guidelines contain specific provisions to prevent conflict of interest on three levels: institutional, staff, and consultants hired to contribute to evaluations. The guidelines will be periodically revised in the light of experience and comments received from external review.
Incremental cost is the fundamental operational principle of the GEF. The GEF funds the increment, or additional costs associated with transforming a project with national/local benefits into one with global environmental benefits. The principle of incremental cost was originally envisaged to ensure that GEF funds do not substitute for existing development finance but provide new and additional funding to produce agreed global environmental benefits.
In 1999, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council approved expanded opportunities to undertake GEF projects for seven Executing Agencies (ExAs): the Asian Development Bank, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Inter-American Development Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, and United Nations Industrial Development Organization. However, their involvement in the GEF did not grow as expected.
In June 2005, the GEF Council welcomed the proposed evaluation to assess the efficiency of the GEF activity cycle and modalities, and underscored that efforts to improve the cycle had so far not succeeded: “the project cycle elapsed times are still too long.” The evaluation was approved as a special initiative of the GEF Evaluation Office: to analyze the strengths and weaknesses in the GEF Activity Cycle and related delivery modalities, and uncover the underlying causes of inefficiencies.
The catalytic role of the GEF is reflected in the GEF Operational Strategy (OS, 1994) as one of 10 Operational Principles for the development and implementation of the GEF Work Program. This evaluation points the difficulties in implementing and assessing this principle and explores in more depth various approaches to the GEF catalytic role and its implications.
Capacity development is a major priority within the global environmental conventions. This evaluation assessed the capacity activities and modalities supported by the GEF.
The GEF Second Annual Performance Report (APR) 2005, presented and prepared by the GEF Evaluation Office, focuses on completed projects for which terminal evaluations were submitted during fiscal year 2005. The full report provides an assessment of project outcomes, project sustainability, project completion delays, and the quality of monitoring in completed projects.
At its November 2004 meeting the GEF Council requested the GEF Evaluation Office to initiate an evaluation of the biosafety activities financed under the GEF’s Initial Strategy. This report presents the results of this evaluation.
The evaluation contains many valuable findings that will allow the GEF to improve and adapt its support. For example, it was found that countries that already had considerable experience with biosafety issues were better able to utilize the support.
This study analyzes the relationship between local benefits and global environment benefits in the GEF covering 132 GEF projects, including 18 field case studies. The study concentrated only on those GEF projects that had stated objectives to generate local benefits as an essential mechanism in achieving their intended global benefits. The study focused on the role of benefits at the local level: that is, the geographical area directly affected by the intervention.