Nationally implemented protected area measures for biodiversity conservation generate cross-border externalities. For internalizing these externalities at the international level, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has been established as a multilateral mechanism of transfer. This paper empirically analyzes the use of GEF funds for protected area projects in biodiverse developing countries. It turns out that transfers generally do not play the role of compensations in that they directly balance foregone payoffs from alternative land uses. The funds are also not primarily directed to the expansion of protected area systems but address improvements in the management of already legally designated sites.