New Delhi, Apr 9 (IANS):The Global Environment Facility has received pledges from 29 countries totalling more than $5 billion. This provides a major boost in international efforts to preserve biodiversity and reduce threats from climate change and plastics.
The GEF’s new support totals $5.25 Billion, nearly 30 percent more than its last four-year operating cycle.
It comes at an important moment for developing countries, whose ability to address worsening environmental problems has been limited by rising inflation and fiscal pressures from Covid-19.
“This replenishment is important not only for the GEF’s programmes and projects around the globe, but also for the global environmental benefits they bring. It is a strong signal to the international community that we are ready to work together to tackle the tough challenges that face us all, as we seek to restore health to our planet and its inhabitants,” Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson, GEF.
“The robust outcome of the GEF refillment is one we can all be immensely proud off as it strengthens global environmental action for nature and humanity,” said Akihiko Nishio, Vice President of Development Finance at the World Bank and Co-Chair of replenishment.
“The GEF is better equipped to address global environmental challenges than ever at this moment in time when the planet faces unprecedented risks, and challenges.”
The GEF is the principal source of funding for biodiversity protection worldwide and is the only multilateral fund that covers all aspects of environment health.
Its financial and policy support assists developing countries in meeting their obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“Small Island Developing States are pleased with the increase funding in the GEF’s eighth replenishment, that will facilitate enhanced ambitions on many environmental fronts, where transformational change needs to be achieved,” Caroline Eugene, Saint Lucia’s former Operational Focal Point for the GEF, said. She represented Small Island Developing States at the replenishment negotiations.
“We are grateful for the efforts of the GEF in aligning international and national priorities and to work in an integrated manner to achieve global environmental benefits. This is the post-Covid-19 era.
“Germany is a strong supporter for the Global Environment Facility, which brings together countries and stakeholders to address environmental challenges in a manner that others cannot. This strong GEF-8 replenishment will be very beneficial for our joint efforts in addressing species loss, climate change and other threats in the years ahead,” Jargen Zattler (Director-General for International Development Policy and United Nations 2030 Agenda and Social and Environmental Transformation in Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) said.
The largest portion of the GEF’s eighth programming cycle, known as GEF-8 (July 2022 to June 2026), will be dedicated to biodiversity protection.
This support is vital for the achievement of The Leaders’ Pledge For Nature, which aims reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 through protections of land and sea territory that contain globally important biodiversity.
GEF-8 also prioritizes addressing climate change, land degradation and chemicals and waste. It also supports international negotiations and their outcomes, as well as projects and programs.
A number of integrated programs will provide funding that addresses multiple threats simultaneously. These include environmental degradation related to cities, food systems and forests, as well as water management and plastics.
GEF’s increased support over the next four years will be crucial to the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework. This framework is expected to be approved at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP-15 summit in Kunming, China later this year.
GEF provided seven funding periods of early action grants, which have laid the foundation for these efforts to reduce species losses and protect critical ecosystems.
The GEF was established in 1991 and has provided grants totalling nearly $22 billion and co-financed $119 billion to address environmental threats and protect biodiverse regions on land and at sea.
GEF investments have also prevented more than 9 billion tons carbon emissions to date. They have also helped Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Small Island Developing States (SID) strengthen their defenses against climate change.
The GEF will continue to prioritise blended finance solutions and private sector involvement in its next operating period to mobilize additional funding for biodiversity, climate change, and nature.
It will also collaborate with governments to facilitate efficient, targeted financing. Engagement through an enhanced Country Support Program and knowledge exchange and learning initiatives linking the 184 member countries of the GEF will be possible.