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The Records of the Global Environment Facility

The World Bank


On December 12th, 2015, delegates from 196 countries signed a historic global climate change agreement in Paris, France. The Global Environment Facility, or GEF, along with the Green Climate Fund (GCF), were named the financial mechanisms of the Paris agreement. That the GEF was given this role was no surprise: the GEF has been engaged in similar activities for more than twenty years.

Established in October 1991 as a pilot program within the World Bank Group, the GEF was designed to assist in the protection of the global environment and to promote environmental sustainable development by providing grants and concessional funding to support development projects with environmental benefits. In 1994, the GEF moved out of the World Bank and became a permanent and separate institution. However, the World Bank continued to serve as its Trustee and provide administrative services.

Because of its continued affiliation with GEF, the World Bank has custody of GEF archival records. The World Bank Group Archives preserves these records and makes them available to researchers in line with approved policies. On our Archives Holdings website, you can find a description of the Records of the Global Environment Facility. This collection, or fonds, contains records relating to the activities of GEF, including project monitoring and assessment, policy and standards development, and corporate affairs and liaison. 

The World Bank
Moeen Qureshi
The Global Environment Facility fonds contains only the records created or received by GEF after it began operations. Researchers interested in records that provide information on the creation of GEF and the Bank’s role in its establishment can find this information in other sources. For example, the subject files of Moeen Qureshi in the Moeen Qureshi files sub-fonds of the Individual Staff Members fonds. Qureshi served as World Bank Senior Vice President, Operations (SVPOP) in the years leading up to the creation of GEF and was active in its planning and negotiations. His records contain revealing correspondence, memoranda, and reports from 1989 to 1991 discussing these activities.

A particularly interesting example from Qureshi’s records is presented below. By late 1989, the World Bank as well as France and other European countries determined that there was sufficient support for a meeting of potential donors for a new environment fund. A meeting was planned for March 15 and 16, 1990, in Paris. It was the Bank’s responsibility to encourage attendance by representatives of 18 prospective donor countries. The records sampled below provide a view of the work that went into drafting the invitation that Bank President Barber Conable ultimately disseminated. The suggestions made by Qureshi and Cofinancing Vice President Koji Kashiwaya exhibit the type of sensitivity and thoroughness necessary for this type of communication. 

The records of the Global Environment Facility are just one avenue towards learning about how development and the environment intersect. Visit our Archives Holdings site to search for other records related to the topic and then visit our Access to Information page to submit a request or to communicate with an archivist. Also, check out our new World Bank Group Archives website and find out about other resources available through the World Bank and the Archives. 


The World Bank
Correspondence between Senior Vice President, Operations (SVPOP) Moeen Qureshi and Cofinancing Vice President Koji Kashiwaya (CFSVP) related to the drafting of an invitation to the March 1990 donors meeting. Click on image to read the full series of correspondence.