International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

Partnership with the GEF

As recent as 2005, a comprehensive review of the GEF’s partnerships with the private sector made various observations regarding the barriers the GEF faces to work with the private sector.  Among the key issues raised were the following:[1]

  • “Most companies are unfamiliar with the GEF;”
  • “The GEF and private sector vocabularies are different;” and
  • “GEF activities are perceived as taking too long to satisfy private sector timeframes.”

The foregoing is illustrative of the lack of the issues and overall successful strategy that the GEF possess for engaging the private sector.  Recognizing the importance of this critical area, a GEF IW:LEARN project activity was commissioned to address these issues.  IW:LEARN has engaged GETF to accomplish three interrelated goals: 1) to produce a guidance document for GEF IW projects to engage the private sector; 2) Host a roundtable on CSR; and, 3) Promote the PPPs though pilot projects within the GEF IW portfolio.

Steps for Project Manager Engagement

GETF reached out to GEF IW project managers from 80 GEF IW projects and 112 private sector companies, NGOs and other organizations to achieve the following objectives:

  • Identify best practices and experiences from past GETF private sector partnerships to:
    • Leverage resources to meet co-finance requirements and ensure greater outcomes and impacts;
    • Provide rigorous life-cycle costing and vested private sector ownership for project sustainability;
  • Gauge the level of interest and involvement of the business community;  and
  • Scope out what works to prepare regional basin pilot projects.

Based on these surveys (see results in Additional Material), discussions and additional research, key steps emerged for PMs to follow when engaging the private sector.  The following summarizes the Checklist in Section 4:

  • Identify project objectives and rationale for potential collaborations;
  • Identify private sector companies, NGOs and foundations with operations and/or priorities in your project’s region;
  • Identify project resource requirements, capacity needs and how private sector or other organizations can help fill these gaps; and
  • Engage key potential partners that are strategic and will assist the project in meeting its goals and outcomes, including cultural fit, meeting user needs and reducing private sector risks to resource mismanagement.

[1] GEF/C.27/13, GEF Strategy to Enhance Engagement with the Private Sector, 2005.