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GEF approves $916 million for urgent environmental actions

By Ojugbele Omotunde

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has allocated $916 million for global initiatives addressing pollution management, nature restoration, biodiversity conservation, and climate change mitigation.

During the GEF Council meeting held in Washington DC on Monday, February 5, 2024, funding was approved for 45 projects and programs, including four private sector initiatives, with the aim of directly assisting approximately 12 million people, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

CEO of GEF, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, announced a $530 million work program for Integrated Programs focusing on ocean conservation, sustainable food systems, transportation infrastructure, animal conservation, and vital forest biomes. These programs aim to break down silos and promote comprehensive actions across sectors and borders.

Rodríguez stressed the importance of inclusive and coordinated action, recognizing that funding alone cannot permanently halt environmental damage.

The GEF Trust Fund, covering 77 countries including 22 Least Developed Countries and 14 Small Island Developing States, is expected to leverage $7.5 billion in co-financing from bilateral governments and international development banks. The majority of the regional contributions are anticipated to benefit Africa and Asia.

Nearly half of the GEF’s record $5.3 billion eighth replenishment for the 2022–2026 period has already been utilized.

The benefits to the global environment include reduced greenhouse gas emissions, expanded protected areas, enhanced landscape management, and preservation of terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

Under GEF-8, grants have been allocated, and $81 million has been earmarked for four blended financing initiatives, aiming to attract $1.36 billion in external investment.

These initiatives focus on chemicals and waste management, biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, land restoration, and capital market solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. Gender mainstreaming is a key component of the work program to ensure the inclusion of women’s contributions and needs.

The funding also supports new Integrated Programs and projects, including initiatives such as:

– Clean and Healthy Ocean Integrated Program
– Food Systems Integrated Program
– Greening Transportation Infrastructure Development Integrated Program
– Wildlife Conservation for Development Integrated Program
– Integrated Program for the Amazon, Congo, and Critical Forest Biomes

Additionally, the funding facilitates private sector initiatives such as the Living Amazon Mechanism, IFC/GEF Green Global Supply Chain Decarbonisation Platform, and Private Sector Energy Efficiency Programme Phase 2 (PSEEP2).

The GEF-sponsored programs and projects are implemented by international organizations in collaboration with local and state entities.

Major financing shares are managed by organizations including the United Nations Development Programme, World Bank, International Fund for Agriculture Development, World Food Programme, World Wildlife Fund-US, and International Union for Conservation of Nature.



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