Elodia Castillo Vásquez is the mayor of the Mayan town of Ch'orti, in Guatemala, where the community is working with support from the GEF Small Grants Programme to safeguard water sources, plant trees, improve soil quality, and help natural ecosystems regenerate. In an interview, she reflected on the links between social justice and environmental stewardship, and shared how the sustainable management of natural resources is helping bolster livelihoods in her community.
As a child in East Germany, Ulrich Apel collected pictures of landscapes around the world, never expecting to spend his career working to restore and protect them. In an interview, he shared lessons from his efforts to reverse land degradation and empower local communities through the GEF’s Drylands Impact Program.
When did you start to become interested in global environmental issues?
Faris Khader is a UNDP Regional Technical Specialist for Climate Change, based in Addis Ababa. In an interview, he shared lessons and insights from his work expanding access to off-grid renewable energy through the GEF-supported Africa Mini-grids Program.
What are mini-grids and why are they important?
Desertification, land degradation, and drought affect soils, vegetation, and water, increase greenhouse gas emissions, and threaten vulnerable populations due to less agricultural productivity and food production. The Global Environment Facility and its partners have been helping countries across sub-Saharan Africa tackle these interwoven challenges in an integrated way through the Resilient Food Systems program, with the goal of promoting greater resilience and more sustainable agricultural and food production.
Alejandro Anganuzzi is Global Coordinator of the Common Oceans ABNJ Tuna Project, an FAO-managed and GEF-supported Common Oceans program, which aims to promote sustainable decision-making around both fisheries and conservation in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Christian Severin is the GEF’s Coordinator for the International Waters focal area. In an interview in advance of World Oceans Day, he charted his academic and professional path spanning all aspects of water management, from sanitation to irrigation to problem-solving around transboundary rivers and oceans. He also reflected on the power of a vibrant community of practice in the international waters space.
The Global Environment Facility’s governing body, meeting remotely, has agreed on $700 million for projects and programs to help developing countries keep advancing urgent environmental priorities through and beyond the coronavirus pandemic. The new and expanded programming under the GEF-7 replenishment cycle spans oceans, chemicals, land use, wildlife trafficking, green shipping, and climate change adaptation, and the LDCF work program focuses on helping vulnerable countries and communities continue to build their climate resilience.
The Global Environment Facility’s governing body will meet online June 2-3 to consider $700 million for projects and programs spanning wildlife, biodiversity, oceans, land degradation, chemicals and waste, and climate change adaptation under the Least Developed Countries Fund. At its first-ever virtual meeting, the GEF Council will also select a new CEO and Chairperson to succeed Naoko Ishii, whose second term ends in July.
Jean-Marc Sinnassamy is a Senior Environmental Specialist who oversees the GEF’s project portfolio related to land and forest management in Africa, including the new Congo Basin Sustainable Landscapes Impact Program. In an interview, he shared life lessons from his work with communities, activists, academics, government officials, and business leaders to prioritize nature at both the global and local levels.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced us all to confront how environmental degradation bringing wildlife and people too close together endangers economies and societies alike. In a document prepared for the 58th GEF Council, the Global Environment Facility Secretariat outlines its planned response to COVID-19. Read it here.