3 June 2020 – The 58th Council Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was held for the first time virtually, gathering participants from the GEF’s 183 member countries located in 17 different time zones. During its first day, two major decisions were taken: Council approved a Work Programme amounting to US$645.4 million in 63 projects and five programmes in various focal areas of the GEF. In addition, it selected a new CEO and Chairperson to lead the GEF for a four-year term. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Costa Rican Environment and Energy Minister, will be the first Latin American national to lead the GEF.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) was able to secure US$44.9 million of this GEF funding for its submitted concepts, thereby supporting 15 recipient countries with their transformational shift towards more sustainable development pathways. The approved concepts will be developed into fully-fledged projects over the next 18 months to contribute to UNIDO’s active project portfolio in 2021/22. UNIDO's GEF funding highlights the organization’s commitment to support its Member States in their efforts to tackle some of the most pressing environmental challenges.
Among the successful UNIDO concepts is the Global Greenchem Innovation and Network Programme (GGINP), which will support participating countries in scaling up green chemistry for Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), mercury and microplastics replacement through capacity building and innovation. There is an immense economic, social, and environmental potential to demonstrate the benefits of Green Chemistry at scale in developing countries. The project will engage Yale University, which will bring along an innovation ecosystem of entrepreneurship training, venture capital, and mentoring.
UNIDO and the GEF will also support the promotion of circular economy in the textile and garment sector through the sustainable management of chemicals and waste. The circular economy concept aims at going beyond a simple ’re-use‘ logic to create a system in which value is not lost. By recycling and conversion of textile/garment discards and related wastes into economically viable and socially beneficial products and services, the initiative will stimulate adoption of circular practices in Lesotho, Madagascar and South Africa.
The Global Opportunities for Long-term Development of artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) Sector Plus (GEF GOLD+) programme, funded by the GEF and led by Conservation International (CI), will be implemented by UNIDO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment (UNEP), in collaboration with a range of other partners, including members of the Global Mercury Partnership. The programme aims to reduce the use of mercury in artisanal gold mining by introducing and facilitating safe, mercury-free technologies in the ASGM sector.
UNIDO will also support Member States through the GEF’s Global Program to Support Countries with Shift to Electric Mobility, a programme led by UN Environment (UNEP). The key objectives of the programme are to de-risk investments in electric vehicles through demonstration projects that strengthen developing countries’ experience with e-mobility and facilitate learning, while raising awareness of the multiple benefits of accelerating the electrification of the transport sector.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, the GEF has provided more than US$20.5 billion in grants and mobilized an additional US$112 billion in co-financing for more than 4,800 projects in 170 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme, the GEF has provided support to more than 24,000 civil society and community initiatives in 133 countries.
For more information, contact:
Chief and GEF Coordinator, UNIDO Partnerships Coordination Division