The Small Grant Programme (SGP) under GEF is administered by the UNDP, and is currently offered in 73 countries. Since its inception in 1992, the SGP has occupied a strategic niche within the GEF system by supporting community-based initiatives that respond to the GEF criteria and objectives. Importantly SGP has; i) promoted outreach and awareness on selected global environmental concerns; ii) built capacities of communities NGOs and CBOs to address these concerns; and provided a mechanism for demonstrating and disseminating community-level and community-led solutions to global environmental problems. Moreover, SGP offers the GEF system and the environment and development sector as whole, field-tested approaches that may be replicated and expanded to benefit the global environment.
The SGP complements the regular and medium-sized GEF project funding by providing a window for the direct participation of NGOs, CBOs, local communities, and other grassroots organizations. The SGP is rooted in the belief that global environmental problems can only be addressed adequately if local people are involved, and that with small amounts of funding (less than US$50,000 per project) local communities can undertake activities, which will make a significant difference in their lives and their environment. The programme has paid special attention to local and indigenous communities and gender concerns, and aimed for the replication and sustainability of its initiatives. SGP’s effects extend beyond providing grants in the GEF focal areas to NGOs and CBOs. By raising public awareness, building partnerships, and promoting policy dialogue, the SGP seeks to promote an enabling environment within countries for achieving sustainable development and addressing global environmental issues. The SGP has helped NGOs, CBOs, and countries to simultaneously support local, community-based initiatives while meeting national obligations and global commitments.
In the Operational Phase-3 2005-2007 of the GEF/SGP it highlighted its main goal of;
“Securing global environmental benefits in the GEF Focal Areas through community- based initiatives and actions”
The global principal objectives (outputs) for SGP to achieve are;
1. Increasing the global reach of the programme especially to address global environmental problems in vulnerable countries
2. Implementation of well-designed project portfolios that incorporate new GEF focal areas and themes
3. Strengthening of existing country programmes strategy
4. Demonstration of local and global benefits of the programme and application of lessons learned and good practices
5. Enhancing sustainability of SGP-funded projects
6. Realization of SGP’s potential as a GEF corporate programme
However at the country level the SGP has worked towards accomplishing these principal objectives;
· To demonstrate community-level strategies and technologies that could reduce threats to the global environment if they are replicated over time.
· Draw lessons from community level experience, and support the spread of successful host governments, development aid agencies and the GEF
· Build partnerships and networks of local stakeholders to support and strengthen community, CBO and NGO capacity to address environmental problems and promote sustainable development
The Central Programme Management Team (CPMT) based in New York provides overall operational management, supervision and technical support to all SGP’s around the world. While SGP is an integral part of the GEF Corporate Business Plan and the UNDP GEF unit, its implementation is decentralized and country-driven, under the full guidance of the National Steering Committee, along with the active participation of the locally-based NGOs, CBOs and local communities. The involvement of the UNDP Country Office and Resident Representative continues to provide overall programmatic and management support to operations in each of the SGP country programmes. The Resident Representative is the main authority on behalf of the United Nations Operations Programme (UNOPS), the executing agency for SGP, to sign Memorandum of Understanding between SGP and grantees when a proposal has been approved. In Samoa the SGP formally commenced operations in August 2004, with the recruitment of the National Coordinator and later the appointment of members for the SGP National Steering Committee.