In an encouraging stride towards environmental conservation, representatives from 185 nations gathered during the Seventh Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly in Canada to unveil a groundbreaking initiative – the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF). This innovative fund aims to galvanize support from governments, philanthropists, and the private sector, bolstering investments in the protection and revitalization of endangered species and ecosystems. These natural treasures face imminent peril from phenomena such as wildfires, flooding, extreme weather events, and unchecked urban expansion.

The GEF Assembly in Vancouver marked the official launch and endorsement of the GBFF, with Canada and the United Kingdom leading the way by announcing initial contributions of 200 million Canadian dollars and 10 million pounds, respectively.

This monumental event, which brought together 1,500 global leaders from various sectors, including government, business, academia, and civil society, emphasized the urgency of addressing ecological challenges. Notably, it took place amid British Columbia’s record wildfire season and at the onset of a predicted historic hurricane season in North America, fueled by record ocean temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, remarked, “Countries have come together in Vancouver to turn things around for the health of the planet and its people. This is a hugely positive moment that will be remembered far into the future. We have shown at the Seventh GEF Assembly that even in difficult conditions – with wildfire smoke as our backdrop – we can move forward to build a more biodiverse planet for everyone’s benefit.”

The GBFF’s ratification follows the historic agreement on global biodiversity goals known as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, reached eight months earlier at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. This landmark accord led to the establishment of the GBFF, managed by the GEF, to support its implementation.

The GEF, comprising various funds, is committed to aiding developing countries in addressing interconnected environmental challenges, including biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution. In June, the GEF Council greenlit the arrangements for setting up the fund during a meeting in Brazil.

Halt and reverse biodiversity los

The contributions announced in Vancouver will advance efforts to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, ultimately placing nature on a path to recovery by 2050. Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister of International Development, underscored Canada’s commitment, saying, “Canada is making a significant contribution to this new fund and continuing to show our support for the GEF’s eighth replenishment to ensure the protection of our planet’s biodiversity for generations to come.”

Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, emphasized the importance of international cooperation in the face of environmental crises, stating, “Canada’s longstanding partnership with the GEF is central to our efforts and underscores our shared commitment to collaboration and climate action.”

United Kingdom Nature Minister Trudy Harrison also highlighted the collaborative effort, saying, “Our initial contribution to the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund showcases the United Kingdom’s ongoing dedication to protecting our planet’s natural diversity – and through vital international cooperation we are paving the way for a more sustainable future for our planet.”

Support for Indigenous communities

The GBFF will mobilize and allocate resources from public, private, and philanthropic sources, prioritizing the sustainability of biodiversity and ecosystems. Up to 20 percent of its resources will support initiatives led by Indigenous communities for biodiversity protection, with additional emphasis on aiding Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries, which will receive over a third of the fund’s resources.

Lucy Mulenkei, Co-Chair of the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity, expressed her appreciation for the fund’s commitment to Indigenous Peoples and local communities, stating, “The creation of this fund and its commitment to supporting Indigenous Peoples and local communities is an important and clear recognition of the fundamental role they have had for generations protecting biodiversity.”

David Cooper, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, welcomed the fund’s ratification and donor contributions, emphasizing the world’s transition from agreement to action in the pursuit of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

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