27 September 2022


The GEF Small Grants Programme wishes to honour and pay tribute to Gustavo Fonseca who passed away on 31 August 2022.

Joining the GEF Secretariat in 2007, Gustavo played a pivotal role in steering global environmental policy dialogues, and provided strong leadership in developing integrated and holistic GEF programming directions over four successive replenishment cycles. Gustavo consistently promoted an inclusive approach to conservation by strengthening engagement with civil society, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities, culminating most recently in the highest-ever record replenishment as part of the current GEF-8 cycle.

Gustavo will be greatly missed for his unwaivering commitment to conservation and sustainable development, a cause which he cared so deeply about. Gustavo contributed in innumerable ways to expanding the ambition of the GEF, including his work on integrated programming across focal areas, the sustainable forest management programme, as well as engagement of non-state actors as co-equal partners in project management. He was instrumental in supporting the development of the GEF’s principles and guidelines on the engagement with Indigenous Peoples.

Reflected in his lifetime of dedication to wildlife management and the recognition of protected and conserved areas in Brazil and beyond, Gustavo had a profound understanding of global and national realities, underlying complexities, and political ecology needed to bring about long-term transformations in favour of sustainable development compatible with the conservation of nature.

Gustavo was an unflinching advocate of the GEF Small Grants Programme, acutely aware of the importance and role of the corporate programme dedicated to reaching civil society and local communities as key partners. He was a true friend and mentor for many SGP staff and partners. Gustavo’s legacy will live on as the Small Grants Programme celebrates its 30 years of achievements this year, expanding its scope and scale through increased financing and a new generation of partnerships under GEF-8.  

The Small Grants Programme extends its heartfelt sympathies to Gustavo’s family and friends for the loss of a true champion of the global environment.

Photo (L to R): Yoko Watanabe, Monique Barbut and Gustavo Fonseca at a GEF event.yoko monique gustavo

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