GEF funding is provided by participating donor countries and made available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of international environmental conventions and agreements.

The Council-approved funds are transferred through 18 GEF Agencies to government agencies, civil society organizations, private sector companies, research institutions, among the broad diversity of potential partners, to execute projects and programs in recipient countries.


Financial contributions by donor countries are provided via several trust funds administered by the GEF Trustee and serviced by a functionally independent Secretariat housed at the World Bank.

The Trustee helps mobilize GEF resources through a replenishment process every four years; transfers funds to GEF Agencies; and prepares financial reports on investments and use of resources. The Trustee creates periodic reports that contain an array of fund-specific financial information.

The GEF Secretariat also provides secretariat services, on an interim basis, for the Adaptation Fund.

Other Trust Funds

The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), established under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), addresses the special needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) that are especially vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. 

The LDCF reduces the vulnerability of sectors and resources that are central to development and livelihoods, such as water, agriculture and food security, health, disaster risk management and prevention, infrastructure, and fragile ecosystems.

Tasked with financing the preparation and implementation of National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs). NAPAs use existing information to identify a country’s priorities for adaptation actions. The LDCF is the only existing fund whose mandate is to finance the preparation and implementation of the NAPAs. Read more

The Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) supports adaptation and technology transfer in all developing country parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), supporting both long-term and short-term adaptation activities in water resources management, land management, agriculture, health, infrastructure development, fragile ecosystems, including mountainous ecosystems, and integrated coastal zone management. Read more

As part of the Paris Agreement, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed to establish a Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT). The goal of CBIT is to strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of developing countries to meet the enhanced transparency requirements of the Paris Agreement, as defined in Article 13.

The Nagoya Protocol Fund supports signatory countries, as well as those in the process of signing The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (the Nagoya Protocol) and that intend to ratify the Protocol in order to accelerate the ratification and implementation of the Protocol. 

The fund encourages engagement with private sector entities interested in exploring the economic potential of genetic resources and facilitate the transfer of appropriate technologies. Through the implementation of this type of project, countries should be generating additional information that can help to understand their capacities and needs on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS), with focus on the provisions from existing policies, laws and regulations affecting genetic resources.

The Adaptation Fund (AF) was established to finance concrete adaptation projects and programmes in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. It was established under the Kyoto Protocol of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and since 2010 has committed funds for localized climate adaptation and resilience activities. Initiatives are based on country needs and priorities. 

AF is one of the most innovative and unique climate funds, and has achieved impressive progress in just a few short years. It has proven its effectiveness as a highly efficient and transparent Fund for channeling adaptation finance to developing countries by pioneering Direct Access, in which accredited National Implementing Entities (NIEs) can directly access climate finance and manage projects from design through implementation while building the country’s own local and national adaptive capacity. AF-funded projects are implemented around the world through accredited National Implementing Entities, Multilateral Implementing Entities and Regional Implementing Entities. The Fund also has a growing Readiness Programme that provides capacity building workshops, small technical assistance grants and south to south cooperation to facilitate accreditation of new implementing entities and reach more vulnerable communities with urgently needed climate adaptation solutions. 

The original primary source of revenue for the Fund – the sale of Certified Emission Reduction credits through a 2% levy on UN Clean Development Mechanism projects that help meet Kyoto’s emission reduction targets – has drastically diminished due to market forces. The Fund is increasingly attracting funds through developed country and private donations by delivering concrete, effective and localized projects and continuing to innovate through pioneering programs like Direct Access, human-rights-based social and environmental risk management policies, a gender policy and action plan, and flexible finance modalities. The Fund is also in high demand, receiving record numbers of project proposals in 2015. Projects are country-driven, replicable and scalable. 

Further, the Paris Climate Agreement included adaptation as a key component in the global response to climate change and recognized that the AF may serve the Agreement, subject to a process that has already started. The Adaptation Fund is overseen by the Adaptation Fund Board, which has a majority of members that represent developing countries and meets in person twice a year to review policy and project proposals. Read more