Washington DC – The Global Environment Facility (GEF) announced a landmark allocation of $916 million to spearhead international efforts combating biodiversity loss, climate change, environmental renewal, and pollution control. During its session in Washington DC yesterday, the GEF Council, representing 186 member governments, greenlit funding for 45 projects and programs, marking a pivotal step in addressing pressing environmental challenges.

Included in the approved projects are four innovative blended finance initiatives engaging the private sector, reflecting a strategic approach to leverage diverse resources. These initiatives are poised to directly impact over 12 million individuals, encompassing Indigenous Peoples and local communities, underscoring the GEF’s commitment to inclusive action.

A significant portion of the allocated funds, totaling $530 million, is dedicated to Integrated Programs. These holistic endeavors aim to dismantle traditional sectoral boundaries, fostering collaborative action across borders. Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF, emphasized the importance of integrated and inclusive approaches, highlighting the imperative of sustained impact.

“The GEF is swiftly mobilizing resources to address urgent environmental needs, recognizing that financial support alone is insufficient to combat long-term degradation,” stated Rodríguez. “Our focus extends beyond mere funding; we advocate for a whole-of-society approach to mitigate harmful practices and drive sustainable change.”

The GEF Trust Fund’s work program is anticipated to catalyze $7.5 billion in co-financing, drawing contributions from bilateral governments and multilateral development banks. Encompassing 77 countries, including 22 Least Developed Countries and 14 Small Island Developing States, the initiative prioritizes regions most vulnerable to environmental threats, with Africa and Asia receiving significant shares of the funding.

Furthermore, the GEF Family of Funds is poised to surpass the $1 billion mark this week, with additional allocations from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) under consideration. The creation of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund Council further underscores the GEF’s commitment to global environmental stewardship.

Aligned with international frameworks such as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the GEF’s initiatives encompass diverse objectives, including protected area management, emissions reduction, and ecosystem preservation. Nearly half of the record $5.3 billion eighth replenishment for 2022-2026 has been allocated, reflecting the organization’s proactive stance towards environmental preservation.

Innovative financing mechanisms, including blended finance projects totaling $81 million, underscore the GEF’s commitment to mobilizing external investment. These initiatives, spanning biodiversity conservation, climate mitigation, and sustainable land management, aim to leverage capital markets and empower small- and medium-sized enterprises.

A cornerstone of the GEF’s approach is gender mainstreaming, ensuring the active participation and benefit of women in environmental initiatives. All projects and programs prioritize gender perspectives, aiming to address women’s needs and amplify their contributions.

The financing package includes support for four new Integrated Programs, alongside expansions of existing initiatives. These efforts encompass diverse domains such as ocean conservation, food systems, transportation infrastructure, and wildlife conservation, underscoring the multifaceted nature of environmental stewardship.

Implemented in partnership with international and local institutions, GEF-funded projects are poised to drive tangible environmental outcomes worldwide. Leading organizations such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, UN Development Program, and the World Bank will oversee the execution of initiatives, ensuring effective implementation and sustainable impact.

Source: The GEF

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