GEF Small Grants Programme


Organizational profile:

The Small Grants Programme (SGP) is a corporate programme of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Established in 1992, SGP's grantmaking in 129 countries promotes community-based innovation, capacity development, and empowerment through sustainable development projects of local civil society organizations with special consideration for indigenous peoples, women, youth and persons with disabilities. SGP has supported over 25,000 community-based projects on biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, climate change mitigation, sustainable land management, conservation of international waters, and chemicals and waste management, while generating sustainable livelihoods. The programme has also financed community grants for climate change adaptation with co-financing resources.

The portfolio of projects in GEF SGP’s climate change mitigation focal area include carbon storage, such as reforestation, cultivation and compost creation initiatives and low-carbon energy transformation at the community level through introduction of low-GHG technologies with proven environmental and economic co-benefits contributing to multiple SDGs and improved livelihoods. Typical SGP activities in the biodiversity focal area include improvement in management effectiveness of protected areas and mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and sustainable use into production landscapes/seascapes and sectors. SGP projects tackle threats to globally significant biodiversity in all arid and semi-arid ecosystems, coastal and marine, freshwaters and wetlands, forests and mountains. SGP has concentrated its efforts on protected areas and indigenous and community conserved areas (ICCAs), as an effective approach to conservation of biodiversity and forests. SGP also supports the sustainable use of biodiversity-based products, promoting sustainable biodiversity-friendly practices in activities that depend on biodiversity resources, such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism. SGP also supports the equitable sharing of benefits derived from the use of biological resources, as well as respect for and preservation of traditional knowledge. Regarding land degradation, SGP projects aim to improve agricultural management to maintain the cover and functionality of agroecosystems, and forest ecosystems in dryland areas. Activities supported mainly target rural communities, which are highly dependent on agroecosystems and forest ecosystems for their livelihoods. Within the sustainable forest management area of work, projects include activities in support of forest rehabilitation, forest protection and socioeconomic functions.

Financing Instrument: Grants

Project scale: The SGP provides up to US$5,000 for preparation grants; up to US$50,000 for project grants; and up to US$150,000 for strategic projects that supports scaling up across several communities. The average size of a project grant is around US$25,000.

Recipient countries regions/country groups: Global

Recipient categories: civil organizations, NGOs

Eligibility Criteria: SGP grants are made directly to community-based organizations (CBOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) in recognition of the key role they play as a resource and constituency for environment and development concerns. Applicants must be an CSO/CBO in an SGP participating country, the proposed project corresponds to one of their areas of work – GEF focal areas- and is aligned with the respective Country Programme Strategy (CPS).

Application guidelines: The usual steps for application are as follows:
1. A national CBO or CSO- contacts the SGP National Coordinator to receive project application guidelines and forms. 
2. With assistance from the National Coordinator the proponent prepares a brief project concept paper and submits this to the coordinator. 
3. The national coordinator reviews and pre-screens the concept paper according to see if it meets the GEF SGP criteria and other criteria adopted by the National Steering Committee (NSC) for activities in that country and explain in the Country Programme Strategy (CPS). 
4. If the project is judged eligible, the project proponent prepares a project proposal; in some cases this step may be supported by a planning grant.
5. Completed project proposals are submitted by the National Coordinator to the NSC. 
6. The NSC reviews the proposal and either accepts it, rejects it, or returns it to the proposer with a request that further work be done on formulating and refining the project data. 
7. Approved proposals enter the national SGP work program.
All project proposals submitted to SGP country teams need to demonstrate:
- How the proposed project proposal meets the GEF SGP criteria by articulating how project objectives and activities would have an impact in the SGP areas of work -GEF focal areas-. For more information on this please visit their areas of work section.
- How they respond or are aligned to the targets and objectives of the SGP Country Programme Strategy(CPS) of their country. Please visit your country page to download a copy of the CPS or contact the NC.
- Be proposed by national CBOs and NGOs.

 For inquiries regarding local grant applications and seeking technical guidance or details of GEF SGP projects, please directly contact the National Coordinator and/or Programme Assistant in your country. Their contact details can be found on the individual country pages of GEF SGP.

Publication Date
Wednesday, 21 April 2021
Applicable location
Renewable energy
Forest conservation and management
Biodiversity conservation
Community forestry
Financing opportunities