The Global Environment Facility has joined the Leadership for Urban Climate Investment (LUCI), a framework aiming to raise ambition and fill funding gaps for cities’ climate action by 2025.

The GEF’s engagement is taking place through UrbanShift, its Sustainable Cities program. The GEF is a member of the Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance, which is hosting LUCI. 

Globally, the investment gap for climate-smart urban infrastructure exceeds $1 trillion a year, equivalent to more than 1 percent of global GDP. This shortfall means that needed projects are not being developed at the scale and speed required, holding back cities’ clean development and delaying health and social improvements linked to green and hybrid designs.

LUCI brings together action-oriented initiatives – like UrbanShift – that commit to remove barriers in preparing and financing climate-smart urban projects.

By aggregating these efforts, LUCI strengthens each initiative’s impact through improved cooperation, communication, analysis, and exchange. It brings together over 15 programs working across the project cycle – from project development, to financing, to implementation. 

Together, the initiatives have committed to achieve measurable and trackable results by 2025. More precisely, LUCI initiatives will:

  • support 2,000 cities with project preparation;
  • develop 1,000 financially viable projects and link those to financing;
  • enable 100 urban projects to use new financing mechanisms;
  • strengthen national frameworks, including the capacity of national development banks.

This coordinated action is both vital and urgent. Cities already account for 75 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and by 2050, two of every three people will live in cities affected by the impacts of climate change. By then, as many as 800 million urban dwellers are expected to be at direct risk of flooding from rising seas and storm surges – and 1.6 billion people are expected to face conditions of extreme heat, being exposed to temperatures of over 35°C.

The GEF’s Sustainable Cities program is one of the largest grant-funded urban sustainability initiatives and supports cities through an integrated approach to climate and environmental benefits. To date, through the GEF’s sixth and seventh funding cycles, the program has directly supported 50 cities across 17 countries and created a global platform to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and innovative ideas between urban centers. In joining LUCI, the GEF is committing to build on its strong focus and established relationships in the urban sustainability space and to foster long-term partnerships to close the investment gap for urban transformation and climate action.

Photo credit: zhangyouyang/Shutterstock

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