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GEF Details Success Stories from Investments in Biodiversity 2010-2012

Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Head of the Natural Resources Team, presentingthe bi-annual report to the CBD COP11


Hyderabad, India, October 11, 2012: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) at the eleventh Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD-COP11) presented its bi-annual report on GEF investments and their impact in the biodiversity focal area. The report covered the period between July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2012; the first 2 years of the fifth replenishment of the GEF (GEF-5).

Gustavo Fonseca, Natural Resources Team Leader at the GEF, delivered the GEF presentation to the CBD-COP’s plenary session. Fonseca outlined that during this period, the GEF approved 155 projects that directly addressed biological diversity and biosafety objectives. With two years to go in the four-year GEF-5 cycle, the GEF has already approved $572 million, or about 53% of the resources allocated to the biodiversity focal area during GEF-5, the most advanced programming rate of all the GEF focal areas at the midway point of GEF-5.  These resources leveraged an additional $ 2.5 billion in co-financing from project partners including the GEF Agencies, bilateral agencies, recipient countries, private foundations, and the private sector for a total of more than $3 billion.  This resulted in a cofinancing ratio of four dollars in co-financing for each dollar in direct GEF investment. Overall, this represents an efficient functioning of all participants in the GEF partnership: including nations that are members of the GEF, GEF agencies, civil society, and the GEF Secretariat.

According to the report, the GEF also approved 46 multi-focal-area projects and programs, including Sustainable Forest Management and Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (SFM-REDD+) projects, with significant contributions from other focal areas of the GEF, totaling $389 million. These 46 projects leveraged $5.1 billion for a co-financing ratio of $8 in co-financing for every dollar of GEF grants.

During the two-year reporting period, the Small Grants Program (SGP) financed approximately 746 biodiversity-related projects totaling $21 million in financing from the GEF, in addition to $18 million in cash and in-kind co-financing from partners and grantees, GEF agencies, bilateral agencies, national and local governments, and the private sector. 

Also, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) provided funding for 172 projects in 41 countries, amounting to $16 million, bringing the program’s global investment portfolio since inception to $143 million in grants awarded to 1,667 civil society organizations, and leveraging $323 million from partners around the world.

As an example of a successful program involving the private sector, the Save Our Species Program (SOS) provided funding for 28 projects to conserve 75 threatened species in 34 countries amounting to $4 million and leveraging $7 million in co-finance.

Six projects funded under the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) during the reporting period contributed to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use totaling $22 million of SCCF resources, which leveraged an additional $201 million of co-finance, for a total of $223 million.

Under the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), eight projects funded during the reporting period contributed to biodiversity conservation and sustainable use totaling $44 million of LDCF resources, which leveraged an additional $164 million of co-finance, for a total of $208 million.

The report to the COP also describes GEF financed activities in the GEF focal areas of international waters and land degradation, which also contributed directly or indirectly to the objectives and implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity. 

Through the international waters focal area, the GEF approved 4 projects during the reporting period benefiting 19 countries, for $43 million which leveraged an additional $234 million in co-financing that supported the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity.

In the land degradation focal area, 10 projects amounting to a total GEF commitment of $28 million were approved during the reporting period and each contributes to the sustainable use of biodiversity.  An additional $113 million was leveraged as co-financing for these land degradation projects. 

In sum, during the reporting period, the totality of GEF investments that have contributed to the achievement of the objectives of the CBD, including direct investments from the biodiversity focal area, projects funded through the international waters and land degradation focal areas, and the LDCF and the SCCF, totaled $1.098 billion, which leveraged $8.3  billion, for a total investment of $9.3  billion and an overall co-financing ratio of $1 (GEF): $9 (co-financing). 

As Parties progress towards the achievement of the ambitious Aichi Targets, it bodes well for the CBD that the GEF, as its financial mechanism, provides such a diversity of funding pathways to help Parties mobilize the resources necessary to achieve these Targets.  

As the President of COP-X, Japan proposed to establish a new multi-donor trust fund managed by the GEF to support implementation of the Nagoya Protocol which was subsequently established as The Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund or NPIF. In addition to the project approved under the NPIF for Panama referenced in the report, the GEF has approved three more projects under the NPIF. Colombia and Fiji have received approval for projects that seek to develop concrete ABS agreements.  Furthermore, the GEF has approved a global project targeted to facilitate the ratification process for the Nagoya Protocol in 30 countries through a series of scoping studies and awareness-raising activities.

With these four projects, the GEF has programmed 30% of the resources generously donated to the NPIF by  the Governments of Japan, Switzerland, Norway , France and the UK. To date the GEF has approved proposals from 111 countries to revise their NBSAP, or 77% of GEF eligible countries.   This total includes nine more countries added to the list since the GEF report was filed with the CBD on June 30, 2012.  In the plenary at the COP, the GEF finally encouraged countries that have yet to present proposals to the GEF to advance these proposals and to engage with GEF agency and the GEF Secretariat during the COP if any obstacles remain.