GEF-CSO Network Philippines adopts Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan (2018-2025)Posted on April 25, 2018
Last April 10-11, 2018, 25 leaders from various CSOs nationwide converged at the Verjandel Hotel in Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City to discuss the future of the Global Environment Facility-Civil Society Organization (GEF-CSO) Network in the Philippines in a strategic planning exercise.
In attendance were the convenors (principal and alternate) of the GEF-CSO Network- Philippines for the National, Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and the academe; GEF-Philippines Operational Focal Point (OFP); UNDP-Small Grants Programme Country Program Manager; and, CSO partners of the GEF CSO Network.
The GEF-CSO Network convenors and participants agreed on a GEF-CSO Strategic Plan 2018-2025 (covering GEF 7 and 8), with a common vision, mission, guiding principles, objectives, and strategies. A governance structure and annual work plan for 2018 were likewise agreed on.
Participants of the Summit.
With its mission as “a network of GEF CSOs committed towards a sustainably-managed Philippine environment, and ecosystems by building the capacity of network members in influencing policy, and taking collective action, “ the GEF-CSO Network Philippines envisions that “By 2025, we have a pro-active, inclusive and empowered Network that contributes to sustainable development at the global, national and local levels.”
In her message, GEF OFP/DENR Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh expressed her appreciation on the active participation of the GEF-CSO Network in moving forward civil society participation in GEF implementation in the Philippines. She advised the participants to be strategic and to look at the bigger picture – to work collectively as a Network for greater impact and sustainability, to look at other possible entry points for engagement, like in ongoing or pipeline projects with pre-defined activities, to look at other funding windows like the national budget as defined in the General Appropriations Act, the Green Climate Fund (GCF), and key investment projects such as in knowledge management, coastal and marine resources management, water resources management, and disaster risk reduction. She also advised the Network to develop their expertise, including on monitoring and evaluation, and niche within the Network, and to attend regular meetings whether in the GEF- Philippines National Steering Committee, the GEF Council, the CSO, or in the GEF Expanded Constituency Meetings where the Philippines is part of the Pacific region constituency.
In sharing his experience on managing small grants, Atty. Ferdinand Quicho, Country Manager of the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP5), emphasized that the SGP5 is the only program for, of and by NGOs, where financial grants directly benefit and support small community-based organizations. Lessons he shared include: a) the next generation of SGP should focus not only on biodiversity but also on other focal areas such as chemicals and waste, land degradation, and climate change so that NGOs are able to address challenges from the perspective of a bigger landscape and/or seascape; b) institutional arrangements, including NGO structures, should be and flexible to ensure efficiency of operations and implementation; and, c) national and local governments are critical partners to ensure that the gains of NGOs are mainstreamed into policies and programs. He likewise shared that SGP5 is now preparing plans for sustainability and scaling up of SGP5 success projects. Lastly, he said that the new GEF-CSO Philippine Network, guided by transparency and accountability, should build on the lessons of SGP5, scale up efforts of CSOs, and has the potential as an implementing partner to manage the next SGP.
Four main objectives were identified as critical components of the Strategic Plan, namely, to: 1) strengthen the organization and human resources capacity of the Network to actively participate in GEF-related activities and focus areas; 2) develop and promote effective engagement of CSOs in GEF operations and activities; 3) improve communication and knowledge management strategies of the CSOs in promoting its advocacies, activities, and knowledge products; and, 4) contribute to the development of policies in safeguarding the environment and ecosystems. The consensus for the Network’s guiding principles and core values are as follows: a) transparency and accountability; b) ecological integrity; c) partnership; d) cultural sensitivity and appropriateness; e) inclusiveness; and f) equity.
As next steps, the Network agreed to further detail the Strategic Plan, prepare and submit to the GEF-OFP concept notes for GEF7, participate in the GEF7 Programming and PIF Trainors’ Training scheduled in July 2018, and for identified CSOs to continue to serve as Principal and Alternate Convenors of the Network.
With the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE) as the lead convenor, the following are the GEF CSO Network principal and alternate convenors, respectively: National - FPE, BAN Toxics; Luzon - Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance (SSMNA), Daloy ng Buhay, Inc. (DALUHAY); Visayas - Guiuan Development Foundation, Inc. (GDFI), Cebu Uniting for Sustainable Water (CUSW); Mindanao - Xavier Agricultural Extension Service ( XAES), Tribal Leaders Development Foundation, Inc. (TLDFI); and Academe: Mindanao State University (MSU) – Naawan and Northern Samar Environmental Protectors, Inc. – University of Eastern Philippines (NSEP–UEP) Catarman. The Strategic Planning exercise was supported by the Forest Foundation Philippines and FPE.