On the opening day of its 60th meeting, the Global Environment Facility’s governing body approved a US$ 281 million work program designed to further support developing countries’ sustainable recovery from COVID-19 and to build on growing international momentum toward international climate and biodiversity goals.
GEF Council members welcomed the new set of initiatives which are set to benefit more than 18 million people while generating global environmental benefits.
The GEF’s CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodriguez thanked the 184-country partnership for working hard to keep environmental issues high on the agenda throughout COVID-19 and to find ways to efficiently design and advance priority initiatives for a strong pipeline of projects. The work program spans 92 countries, including 30 Least Developed Countries (LDC) and 35 Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Nearly half of the work program funding is allocated for international waters - with a focus on marine biodiversity and fisheries - and for chemical and waste management. It also includes support for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, land degradation and includes expansions of the ISLANDS, GOLD+, African Minigrids Program to additional countries.
Four climate adaptation projects supported by the GEF under this work program will also be considered for support later this week from the GEF-managed LDC Fund, which provides dedicated climate resilience support to Least Developed Countries.
According to the GEF’s Director of Programs Gustavo Fonseca, most of the trust Fund’s impact goals for GEF-7 have already been met, with a year to go until the next four-year cycle begins. Fonseca noted that each project in the work program was subjected to COVID-19 screening to assess the risks and opportunities associated with the pandemic, with special attention given to initiatives contributing to a clean, resilient, blue and green recovery.
Included in the work program are two non-grant instrument projects related to climate adaptation. The first supports climate-resilient technology and sustainable land solutions through CRAFT, a new fund managed by Conservation International and Lightsmith Group LLC. The second includes first loss guarantees for green retrofits of small and medium-sized hotels, in partnership with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
Representatives of the GEF’s 184 member Governments also approved more than US$ 60 million from the LDC Fund for urgent climate adaptation projects in Bhutan, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Kiribati, Lesotho, Somalia and Timor-Leste. The LDC Fund is the only dedicated source of climate adaptation support for the LDC.
The GEF-supported LDC Fund and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) have provided more than US$ 2 billion in targeted support to enhance the climate resilience of developing countries’ agriculture, water, natural resource management sectors and to kickstart entrepreneurship and investment in climate adaptation products, services and technology. These initiatives have reduced the climate vulnerability of 30 million people to date.
(Source: Vietnam Environment Administration Magazine, English Edition III - 2021)