WASHINGTON, D.C., 7 June 2012 – The Global Environment Facility's governing council today completed its 42nd meeting approving the largest work programme to date for addressing global environmental challenges.
The 32-member Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council unanimously approved an allocation of USD 667 million for 84 new stand-alone projects, two conceptual programmatic approaches, and 13 revisions to previously approved projects. Those funds will be bolstered by USD 4.4 billion in co-financing – funds raised from other sources, such as non-governmental organizations, international institutions, the private sector, regional authorities, and recipient governments. This co-financing ratio of 6.6-to-1 reflects the effort by GEF CEO and Chairperson, Monique Barbut, to obtain maximum leverage from the resources GEF raises from among its 182 member nations.
“The GEF is not just a funder of global environmental projects,” said Barbut. “It is a catalyst generating much broader financial support for addressing threats to our environment and toward our endeavors to bolster local and national economies through sustainable development.”
Barbut was attending her last GEF Council meeting as CEO. Her second term as head of the GEF expires on 31 July. The Council today unanimously named Naoko Ishii of Japan as her successor.
The work programme involves the distribution of funds across all of the GEF's focal areas, including climate, international waters, persistent organic pollutants, desertification, biodiversity and ozone depleting substances. The Council expressed unanimous support for the robustness of the work programme, congratulating the Secretariat, the donor nations, participating countries, the United Nations Environment Programme's Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, and the GEF Agencies for the work in putting together the ambitious programme.
This latest GEF work programme is remarkable not only for its size but also due to key innovations. The programme seeks to address environment issues in a more holistic and comprehensive manner than has been typical previously. It is a strategy that reflects the growing understanding in the environmental community of the inter-relationship between threats to the environment such as desertification and climate change, marine degradation and destructive land-use practices, and so on. In this programme, 25 of the 84 projects cover multi-focal areas.
Among the single focal area projects, there are 23 in biodiversity, 26 in the climate change field, with the remainder split among a variety of focal areas. The work programme includes notable large-impact programmes. For example, the Council endorsed two public-private partnership programmatic approaches for a total of more than USD 20 million in climate change. These funds will enable the scaling up of renewable energy technologies on the African continent and contribute to the delivery of universal power supply in the region. Through the support for renewable energy projects, the programme will contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the African Continent.
Other examples of a large-impact programme are a global project in land degradation and encompassing 47 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, which will finance activities in support of National Action Programmes (NAPSs) to help bring them into alignment with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification 10-Year Strategy and reporting process; and a regional project involving Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and Grenadines, which has been approved with a grant of USD20 million. The aim of the latter is to accelerate the achievement of global targets on access to safe and reliable water supplies and improved sanitation.
The project will enhance the functioning of ecosystems of global importance within the Caribbean Sea basin and in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS). In particular, it addresses adaptation to climate change through an integrated approach to water, land and ecosystem services management. It involves policy development, institutional and legislative reforms, improved technologies and methodologies. Ultimately, the best practices developed under this project may prove applicable across the globe.
The GEF Council expressed its continued support for the establishment of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), being set up under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This innovative initiative involves GEF efforts in the climate technology sector, with about US$9 million committed to each of three regions, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia.
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