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About the GEF
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established in 1991 and unites 182 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues. Today the GEF is the largest funder of projects to improve the global environment.


The GEF as Financial Mechanism of the UNCCD
In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development called on the Second GEF Assembly to consider making the GEF a financial mechanism of the Convention. Shortly after, in October 2002, the GEF Second Assembly declared that the Facility should be available as a financial mechanism of the UNCCD if the Conference of the Parties should so decide. At COP 6 in decisions 6/COP.6, the GEF was accepted as a financial mechanism of the UNCCD by the Conference of Parties. This was followed by a Memorandum of Understanding between the COP and GEF annexed to decision 6/COP.7 to foster collaboration in supporting countries.

In May 2010, the Fourth GEF Assembly amended the GEF Instrument to list UNCCD among the treaties for which the facility is playing the role of financial mechanism. The GEF as financial mechanism of the UNCCD directly contributes to implementation of the Convention, including its Ten-year (2008–2018) Strategic Plan and Framework adopted by the Conference of Parties during the Eight Session (decision 3/COP.8).
Although the Strategy of the GEF 5 Land degradation Focal Area and the UNCCD 10-year Strategy have very different time frames, there are strong linkages at multiple levels, which both institutions are aiming to strengthen. One step in this direction was set with the elaboration of a joint plan of action at the UNCCD GEF retreat held in January 2011 in Bonn.
GEF 5 replenishment
In May 2010, the GEF completed a very successful 5th replenishment process for the period 2010-2014, which resulted in the highest allocation ever to the GEF - $4.25 billion. As a result of this increased replenishment, all focal areas received a much higher allocation of resources than in GEF-4. For the Land Degradation Focal Area (LDFA), which primarily supports priorities of the UNCCD, the total GEF-5 allocation is $405 million. This reflects an increase of more than 30% over GEF-4 levels.
Focal area set-asides for enabling activities
Following up from the recommendations made through the RAF mid-term review, a focal areas set-aside (FAS) for each focal area under the STAR is defined. The FAS falls outside the national STAR allocations to the amount of 20%. This set-aside is used to finance enabling activities and regional and global projects. A total of $25 million has been made available outside the STAR for all eligible countries to access up to $150,000 for enabling activities, including alignment of National Action Programs and reporting against the implementation of the 10-year strategic plan of the UNCCD.
Following modalities now in place for enabling activities under the other focal areas, the GEF Secretariat has three options for UNCCD Parties to access GEF funds for enabling activities:
   2. Through one of the GEF Agencies; or
   3. Through an Umbrella project with UNEP (see also a draft letter of endorsement)

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