UN Climate Change News, 16 June 2021 – The governing body of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved a support package worth USD281 million designed to help developing countries make a sustainable recovery from the pandemic and which will mobilize significant additional finance for environmental action.
The package, which was approved on the opening day of the 60th GEF Council meeting (14 to 18 June), is designed to underpin urgent environmental action with a focus on marine biodiversity, fisheries, chemical and waste management. It also includes support for projects related to biodiversity, climate change and land degradation.
Addressing the GEF meeting today, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa, highlighted the importance of the facility in tackling climate change, particularly in developing countries. She urged developed nations to finally deliver on their promise of USD 100 billion annually in support to developing nations to enable their transition to greener, more sustainable economies:
“Climate change, like the coronavirus, recognizes no borders or political ideologies. When one nation is impacted, all feel the pain. Support to developing nations is, therefore, an act of mutual self-interest,” she said.
New finance to generate many co-benefits
The new initiatives are set to benefit more than 18 million people, while generating global environmental benefits. Each dollar provided in the package is expected to mobilize more than 10 dollars in co-financing from other sources.
The GEF is an operating entity of the Financial Mechanism of the UN Climate Change Convention together with the Green Climate Fund. It serves the Paris Agreement by ensuring efficient access to financial resources for developing countries in the context of their national climate strategies and plans.
GEF support is critical to the implementation of countries’ national climate action plans, known as NDCs. Governments are preparing to submit or update their NDCs ahead of the crucial UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow in November, with finance seen as key to its success. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Espinosa spoke of opportunities presented by the climate and COVID crises:
“The rollout of trillions of dollars to address post-COVID recovery is an opportunity to accelerate the transition away from fossil-fuel and high-emissions-based economies towards economies that are low carbon, sustainable and resilient.”
GEF CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodriguez noted before the meetings that many developing countries had shown impressive resolve in continuing to prioritize environmental action over the past year, even in extremely difficult conditions.
“I am humbled by the commitment and perseverance we have seen by our partner governments to keep prioritizing environmental issues through the pandemic, and to raise collective ambitions to put our planet on a healthier path,” Rodriguez said. “I truly believe we are defeating the odds to build momentum for a green, blue, clean and resilient recovery, and I look forward to continuing to work together toward the change the world needs.”
Four climate adaptation projects supported by the GEF will also be considered for support this week from the GEF-managed Least Developed Countries Fund, which provides dedicated climate resilience support to Least Developed Countries.
About the GEF
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. GEF funding to support the projects is contributed by donor countries. These financial contributions are replenished every four years by the 40 GEF donor countries.