The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is one of the world’s leading funding sources for environmental projects. The international cooperation initiative has 183 member nations and works with international institutions, civil-society organizations and the private sector. The GEF was set up in 1991 as a pilot program with USD 1 billion from the World Bank to be used to protect the global environment and promote sustainable development. Since its beginning, it has disbursed some USD 13 billion to over four thousand projects across 150 countries, including Brazil.
The fund sets directives, policies and priority themes and entrusts its implementing agencies—GEF Agencies—with applying the rules, preparing the ground and monitoring the projects developed by the executing institutions. GEF Agencies confer enormous capillarity that enables the institution to spread its funding across the largest possible number of projects.
The World Bank, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) were the first three GEF Agencies, and others followed. In 2012, the GEF opened an accreditation process for new agencies, and Funbio applied.
During the process, Funbio worked to adapt its policies and implement the necessary safeguards. In February 2015, Funbio signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the GEF to become the 15th GEF Agency worldwide and the first national agency in Latin America. Funbio understands that this was a milestone in its institutional development and resounding recognition for its 20 years of hard work in biodiversity conservation. The GEF is in our DNA, as Funbio was created in 1995 with a GEF donation to the Brazilian government.
After that starter capital, Funbio became independent and went on to financially manage hundreds of projects in its own right, while executing countless others, some of them supported by the GEF, such as the Amazon Region Protected Areas Program (ARPA), the world’s largest tropical-forest conservation initiative.