The Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme

The Global Environment Facility’s Small Grants Programme offers grants of up to US$50,000 directly to local communities, community organisations and NGOs, including for projects related to biodiversity. A 2019 review reported the following[i]:

  • About US$163 million has been granted to biodiversity-related projects that were either managed by indigenous organisations or by NGOs to benefit indigenous peoples. This represents 37 per cent of biodiversity projects in countries with indigenous peoples.
  • The proportion of indigenous-led projects, or projects intended to benefit indigenous peoples, is increasing steadily.
  • Of the indigenous-led projects, 12 per cent began with a US$5,000 ‘development grant’ to work on their project proposal. Feedback suggests that planning grants are a useful means to facilitate indigenous projects.
  • Alternative forms of project proposal based on videos and photo stories have been piloted and may be useful in improving accessibility to IPLCs. However, they are challenging for programme management. Eighteen projects have been funded on this basis.
  • In 2018–19, 35 per cent of participating countries had an indigenous representative on the national steering committee.
  • Strategic financial partnerships with local governments, NGOs and the private sector have not only increased the total funding available but have also been found to increase the sustainability of projects, strengthen inter-institutional relations, and build awareness and appreciation of indigenous peoples’ contributions.

[i] Ledwith, L. (2019) ‘Strengthening GEF SGP support to Indigenous Peoples: A review of SGP’s 25-year portfolio’. Unpublished report to the GEF SGP.

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