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GEF Council Approves US$1 Billion For Urgent Environmental Action

The Global Environment Facility’s 186 member governments this week agreed to invest $1.1 billion for international action on biodiversity, climate change, nature renewal, and pollution control.

The GEF Council, meeting in Washington, DC, approved $918 million for 45 projects and programs from the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund, including four blended finance initiatives involving the private sector and five Integrated Programs designed to tackle complex challenges in their entirety.

Government representatives also endorsed $203 million for 21 climate change adaptation projects funded by the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF).

Country representatives meeting as the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBFF Council reached an agreement in Washington, DC on how donor resources will be allocated, and how projects will be designed and approved. During the Council meeting, Spain announced a new contribution to the GBFF, adding to previous contributions announced by Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez said that   “We are conscious of our unique role in environmental finance, and are committed to achieving lasting positive impacts by working in an integrated and inclusive way. The investments and plans approved by our member governments this week reflect this determined commitment,”   He said the support the GEF is deploying stands out not only for its size and accelerating speed, but also its reach. “We are breaking down silos to move the needle on the environmental challenges both donor and recipient countries are facing,” added Carlos Manuel Rodríguez said

The GEF Trust Fund work program – the second-largest in the multilateral institution’s history – is set to mobilize $7.5 billion in co-financing, including from bilateral government aid and multilateral development banks.   It includes $530 million for Integrated Programs for the ocean, food systems, transportation infrastructure, wildlife conservation, and critical forest biomes that have been designed to advance holistic action across sectors and borders.

The approved projects and programs will contribute to global environment benefits across the board, with boosts for protected areas, landscape management, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and terrestrial and marine ecosystems. They span 77 countries including 22 Least Developed Countries and 14 Small Island Developing States.

While most of the GEF Trust Fund support will be provided as grants, the work program also includes $81 million for four blended finance projects that are set to mobilize $1.36 billion in outside investment.

Speaking at the Washington, DC meeting, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, David Cooper stressed the need for Indigenous Peoples, local communities, women, and youth to be involved in the fund in order to work towards that 20 percent allocation for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and to ensure that the work it supports is gender-responsive and addresses calls for intergenerational equity.

“Your contributions to this process are going to be very important,” Cooper said.

Dawda Badgie, Executive Director of the National Environment Agency of The Gambia and Co-Chair of the GEF Council, welcomed the agreement among countries to jointly address environmental issues that directly affect human well-being everywhere.

“These decisions can change peoples’ lives for years to come,” Badgie said, pointing in particular to support for coastal resilience and women’s livelihoods. “We have to act collectively about the challenges we are facing. They do not spare anybody.”

-URN

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