SGP is rooted in the belief that global environmental problems can best be addressed if local people are involved and there are direct community benefits and ownership. SGP is convinced that with small amounts of funding, members of local communities can undertake activities that will make a significant difference in their lives and environments, with global benefits, in contrast with top-down, expert-reliant development interventions.
Participation, democracy, flexibility, and transparency are cornerstones of the SGP approach. The programme encourages and supports the participation of communities, local people, NGOs, CBOs (community-based organizations), and other stakeholders in all aspects of programme planning, design and implementation:
The formulation of country programme strategies;
The development, presentation,and execution of project concept papers and proposals;
Building partnerships to broaden the scope of the programme and to communicate and replicate successful SGP initiatives;
Raising public awareness of global environmental issues and changing public attitudes and practices;
Influencing government environmental policies and programmes and
Mobilizing in-kind and monetary resources to support project and programme sustainability.
The flexible decentralized structure of SGP encourages maximum country and community-level ownership and initiative:
Each participating country develops a country programme strategy, which adapts the climate changeSGP global strategic framework to specific country conditions. SGP country strategies take into account existing national biodiversity and climate change strategies and plans, as well as those relating to national development and poverty eradication. They may put emphasis on certain thematic areas and, particularly in large countries, are encouraged to adopt geographic concentration to ensure synergy and impact as well as to facilitate programme administration.
Gather lessons from community-level experience and initiate the sharing of successful community-level strategies and innovations among CBOs and NGOs, host governments, development aid agencies, GEF and others working on a regional or global scale.
A locally recruited National Coordinator is appointed to carry out day-to-day management of the programme and serve as secretary to the NSC. An SGP office is established either in UNDP or in a host NGO. The National Coordinator, working with the NSC, reaches out to the NGO community and CBOs to inform them of availability of grants, and receives and screens proposals.
A voluntary National Steering Committee (NSC), performs the central role in SGP and provides the major substantive contribution to and oversight of the programme. The NSC typically comprises representatives from local NGOs, government, academia, UNDP and occasionally co-funding donors, indigenous peoples' organizations, the private sector and the media.
The NSC develops a country programme strategy, considers whether proposals for grants are feasible and meet SGP criteria, and what kind of technical support is needed for implementation. The NSC is responsible for final approval of grants, helps undertake site visits and review, advises on design of grant proposals, ensures monitoring and evaluation, and champions SGP in national fora.
Government membership on NSCs and collaboration with local government agencies enable local communities to highlight areas requiring policy change at the district, regional and national levels and influence decision-making.
SGP's monitoring and evaluation system is intended to provide stakeholders and partners with information about the status and results of individual projects, the progress of country programmes and the achievement of overall programme objectives.
SGP views monitoring and evaluation above all as a participatory and forward-looking process that enables capacity building and learning, maintains accountability, promotes sustainability, and provides opportunities to identify and communicate lessons learned from project and programme experiences. In the case of SGP, monitoring and evaluation are required at three levels - project, country and global.