Twenty-nine donor governments have finalized $5.33 billion in pledges to the Global Environment Facility for the next four years, an increase of more than 30 percent from its last operating period and a surge of support for international efforts to meet nature and climate targets.
The record funding will support large-scale initiatives to address biodiversity and forest loss, improve ocean health, combat pollution, and reduce the effects of climate change within the decade. It reflects a growing consensus on the need to expand efforts in these areas and to work across borders and sectors.
“This generous support from our donors at a challenging time shows just how committed countries around the world are to healing rather than harming nature,” said GEF CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodriguez. “We are singularly focused on delivering the 2030 environmental goals, which are critical to make our planet healthier and safer for people. Our upcoming programming and policy support is all about shifting to a nature positive, carbon neutral, and pollution free future.”
“This highly successful replenishment is reflective of the strong collective commitment of all participants to achieving the GEF’s ambitious environmental goals. These goals are critical to the future of our planet and quality of life for all people,” said Akihiko Nishio, Vice President of Development Finance at the World Bank, which as the GEF’s trustee has responsibility for the mobilization of resources for the fund.
The final sum for the GEF-8 funding cycle includes additional pledges received in the weeks following the conclusion of formal replenishment negotiations in April. The GEF Council endorsed the final replenishment size during its 62nd meeting – the first time the governing body met in person since the COVID pandemic began.
Aliioiga Feturi Elisaia of Samoa, Co-Chair of the GEF Council, welcomed “the abundance of genuine goodwill” from donor countries leading to a record GEF-8 replenishment. “It is a huge vote of confidence in the GEF, the conventions it serves, its partners and circle of donors, and all stakeholders alike in their collective work to address the urgent environmental issues facing our planet.”
The Global Environment Facility is the only multilateral fund focused on biodiversity and is the funding mechanism for the Convention on Biological Diversity. It also finances the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, helping developing countries meet their international obligations under each.
The GEF’s integrated approach to addressing challenges means that its projects and programs target the drivers of environmental damage, with a goal of aligning policies and investment plans in favor of international environmental health.
Biodiversity will be the biggest focus of the GEF’s eighth programming period, which will run from July 2022 to June 2026. This support will be vital to the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, which aims to reverse species loss by 2030 by protecting land and ocean territory with globally important biodiversity. It will also power the implementation of the new Global Biodiversity Framework, which is expected to be agreed this year. Early action grants provided by the GEF in its seventh funding period have laid the groundwork for these efforts to reduce species loss and protect critical ecosystems.
Other priorities in GEF-8 include addressing threats from climate change, land degradation, and chemicals and waste, and easing pressures on the ocean and international waters. Much of the funding will be delivered through a set of 11 integrated programs that address multiple threats at once, such as environmental degradation linked to cities, food systems, plastics, water, and forest management.