Close to 30 countries have jointly pledged US$4.1 billion to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to better protect the future of the planet and human well-being. With the health of the global environment worsening, the GEF has received strong support for its new four-year investment cycle, (known as GEF-7), to help safeguard the world’s forests, land, water, climate, and oceans, build green cities, protect threatened wildlife, and tackle new environmental threats like marine plastic pollution.
“We are pleased with the outcome of the negotiations; It is entirely in line with government priorities,” said Isabella Lovin, Deputy Prime Minister and Climate Minister of Sweden, who hosted the donors meeting here today. “Also, the Fund’s working methods have been further strengthened, giving it more of a strategic climate focus and increased resources, including for biodiversity, chemicals and waste.
“A clear majority of donors have stepped up their support for the GEF, signaling the urgency of the global environmental agenda, and trust in the GEF to help tackle the problem and achieve even greater results,” said Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson. “We need to forge the partnerships that will help transform the food, urban and energy systems in an integrated way. GEF-7 is designed to do just that,” she said.
With an emphasis on addressing the drivers of environmental degradation, gender equality, and stronger collaboration with the private sector, the GEF is now poised to deliver even greater results for the environment, and better value for money: The new strategy doubles the target for greenhouse gas emissions mitigated from GEF projects compared to the last funding cycle, and increases by almost 50% the targets for the protection of biodiversity and valuable ecosystems.
“Over the last 25 years the GEF has been an essential mechanism for addressing environmental challenges at a multilateral level and has made a great difference”, said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Vice President, Development Finance, and co-Chair of the replenishment meeting. “Today, the international community again gave GEF a strong vote of confidence through the endorsement of a $4.1 billion financial support package for the next four years. With this renewed mandate, GEF will be able to continue its important role as an impact investor in environmental programs around the globe.”
The new funding will support countries to meet their obligations under various multilateral environmental agreements, including the recently adopted Minamata Convention on Mercury, the three Rio Conventions on Biodiversity, Climate, and Land Degradation, and the Stockholm Convention. Also, strong emphasis is given to financing for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States.
“Cote d’Ivoire is pleased to return as a donor in GEF-7. The first major conference of the GEF took place in Abidjan in December 1992 under the leadership of HE Mr. Alassane Ouattara, then Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire. Now, as President of the Republic, he has been instrumental in the return of Cote d’Ivoire as a donor in GEF-7,” said Adama Koné, Minister of Economy & Finance for Côte d’Ivoire. “Cote d’Ivoire welcomes and strongly supports GEF-7 Impact programs and strategies aimed at addressing the concerns of the beneficiary countries while maximizing the global environmental benefits.”
In recent years, the world agreed on the Global Goals of Agenda 2030, and the Paris Agreement, elevating the ambition and action needed to put the world on a sustainable path. GEF-7 is the first replenishment of the GEF after these landmark agreements and another sign that the world is responding.
“The Global Environment Facility’s new focus on transforming food systems, sustainable forest management, and cities is not only good for the planet and human well-being, but an enormous business opportunity,” said Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. This is an exciting moment for the GEF, which is tackling complex problems by inviting stronger collaboration with the private sector. Business can help innovate, finance and scale solutions for environmental sustainability, which in turn can open up better and more inclusive growth opportunities.”
GEF-7 comes at a critical time for the world, and will help ensure that the hopes and aspirations of millions of people are met without stretching Earth to a breaking point.
“Countries have given a central role to the Global Environment Facility in helping to transform our economies and to safeguard the global commons – the land, seas and atmosphere we share, and the ecosystems they host”, said Nicholas Stern, Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. “Protecting and nurturing our global commons and ecosystems is fundamental to sustainable growth and poverty reduction. No other kind of growth can last. This is the growth story of the 21st century. The next 15 years will decide the future of the world for the rest of the century and beyond. The cost of inaction is immense. Congratulations to the entire GEF partnership for adopting this ambitious new agenda.”
The GEF-7 replenishment will be formally concluded at the upcoming GEF Assembly that will take place from June 27-28 in Da Nang, Viet Nam.
Source: Global Environment Facility