The GEEP was launched by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Taiwan Ministry of Environment (formerly the Environmental Protection Administration of Taiwan), and the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) in 2014.
In 2014, environmental education leaders from several countries came together to discuss each country’s needs for achieving their environmental protection goals and addressing such issues as climate change through environmental education and citizen engagement. This group, now known as the GEEP, developed a list of more than 25 topics in environmental education, with the following rising to the top as the most important globally in environmental education:
- Professional development
- Globalization of environmental education standards guidelines
- Legislation and national-level policies that support environmental education
- Access to effective and promising practices
- Research and evaluation
- How environmental education can best address key issues, such as climate change, water shortages, and loss of biodiversity
To help countries improve the use of, access to, and quality of environmental education, the leaders recognized a need for a centralized way to share best practices and resources to help practitioners use environmental education more effectively in their countries. No such platform existed at that time. The GEEP was then envisioned as a global network and platform to share best practices and improve the quality and quantity of environmental education around the world.
In 2015, GEEP delegates met to establish the purpose and mission of the GEEP, as well as goals and objectives, through a series of in-person meetings that were informed by surveys, research, and interviews. The GEEP is designed to provide a space for collaboration among the member countries including sharing of experiences and promising practices and creative thinking, idea generation and problem solving. Additionally, in 2015, the NAAEE was named the secretariat of the GEEP.
In 2016, the Advisory Group (formerly the Steering Committee) met in Bristol, England, to discuss the strategy, governance, and audience, as well as options for how to sustain the GEEP. Then in April 2018, a sub-group of the Advisory Group met to update the vision, mission, goals, governance, and membership to reflect the evolution of the partnership.