GEF Small Grants Programme
The GEF Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) is a Corporate GEF Programme implemented by UNDP to provide financial and technical support to communities and civil society organizations (CSOs) to meet the overall objective of “Global environmental benefits secured through community-based initiatives and actions”.
Launched in 1992, with 33 participating countries in the Pilot Phase, GEF SGP is rooted in the belief that community-driven and civil society-led initiatives that generate environmental benefits while at the same time supporting sustainable livelihoods and local empowerment are among the most effective ways to address global environmental challenges.
SGP funds “small grants” up to a maximum of $50,000, although in practice the average grant amount is in the $20,000 to $25,000 range.A “strategic projects” window has recently been added for grantmaking up to a maximum of $150,000 to allow for scaling up and to support initiatives that cover a large number of communities within a critical landscape or seascape.
Small grants allow communities and CSOs, in particular those that are poor and vulnerable, to access the appropriate level of funding as they develop their capacity and for the programme to take measured risks in testing new methods and technologies and to innovate as needed.
Each SGP Country Programme has a volunteer multi-sectoral National Steering Committee (NSC) which assures a “country-driven” approach to SGP implementation and allows civil-society leadership and capacity building in the management of a national program. Strong NSCs foster joint efforts between key national civil society leaders and government officials and serve as useful platforms for CSO-government dialogue and consultations in GEF matters as well as broader national sustainable development concerns.