Project Cycle

The GEF project cycle defines the stages that a project must go through from its approval by the GEF to its complition. Each funding modality follows its own project cycles.

Full-Sized Projects (FSPs)

The FSP project cycle included the following two key steps:

  1. Council approval of a work program:  a work program comprises a list of project concepts in the form of a PIF (Project Identification Form) and program concepts in the form of a PFD (Program Formulation Document)
  2. CEO endorsement of the Final Project Document:  CEO endorses a project after it is well-prepared and ready to start implementation once it is approved by Agency’s internal management approval.

After CEO endorsement of the project, it goes back to the Agency which carries out the following two steps:

  1. Agency internal management approval; and
  2. Implementation and completion of the project.

Project cycle performance target has been set at 18 months since the beginning of GEF-5 and this 18 months performance target will remain in GEF-6.  18 months are the elapsed time from when a project is expected to complete preparation in the concept stage to a fully prepared project ready for implementation.   This 18-month target will be the timeline against which FSPs will be evaluated for their project cycle performance efficiency.

The project cycle starts with the approval of work program, going through CEO endorsement, Agency approval, implementation and ends with project completion, but fits back into concept preparation as lessons learned from completed projects should serve as input for all future project concepts.  With this last loop, it completes the full project cycle.


Medium-Sized Projects (MSPs)

In GEF-6, MSPs will follow a one-step CEO approval process, i.e. Agencies and countries can prepare the project from concept until the project is fully-prepared and submit it for CEO approval before Agency’s internal management approval and implementation start.  Under this one-step process, since there is no PIF approval, there is no target timeline that binds the preparation performance.

On an exceptional basis, MSPs can also follow a two-step process, i.e. submission of a PIF for CEO approval, and within 12 months of preparation, submit a final MSP project document for CEO approval.  Under this two-step process, the 12-month timeline will serve as project cycle performance target to which MSPs will be evaluated against for their project cycle performance efficiency. Elapsed time for MSPs requiring a PPG continues to be 12 months from the date CEO approves the PIF to the date CEO approves the final project document for the MSP.


Enabling Activities (EAs)

EAs follow the expedited approval process by CEO under the delegated authority from Council.  No concept submission is required for EA and therefore goes through only a one-step process with a final well-prepared EA document for approval by the CEO.


Programmatic Approaches (PAs)

In GEF-6, a simplified approval process will be adopted with the following key steps:

  1. Program Framework Document (PFD) is submitted to the Secretariat for review and to be cleared by the CEO for entry into the work program that will be approved by Council.
  2. Child projects under the program are to be submitted for CEO approval or endorsement once they are well-prepared and ready to be implemented.

Program Commitment Deadline:  Programs are given the flexibility to establish their performance target in consideration of the usual complex nature of programmatic approaches.  Once it is established and agreed upon by the stakeholders in the program, all child projects will be committed to submit the well-prepared project document for CEO approval or endorsement by the deadline.  Beyond this deadline, uncommitted program funds will be cancelled.

The project cycle steps and procedures presented above are the results of a number of Council papers/decisions.  The policy papers and original Council papers are listed below in chronological order.