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57th GEF Council meeting to target impact, from cities to the sea

December 13, 2019

As part of their core discussions, Council members will consider up to $700 million in projects and programs under GEF-7, including innovative new initiatives related to expanded marine protected areas, food and land use, mini-grids, and cities, including the new Sustainable Cities Impact Program. Photo: Fabio Lamanna/Shutterstock.

The 57th meeting of the GEF Council, taking place December 16-19 in Washington DC, will be an opportunity for governments worldwide to take stock of environmental challenges and to chart next steps for shared action in pursuit of sustainable cities and the protection of biodiversity on land and sea.

The meeting occurring immediately after the latest Climate Summit (COP25) in Madrid, will also be a chance for donor and recipient governments and their partners to make plans to help the world’s poorest countries and most vulnerable communities increase their climate risk resilience.

“It is so important that we come together to face environmental challenges by embracing the needed ambition required to transform our economic systems and bend the curve for climate, oceans, and biodiversity,” said Naoko Ishii, the GEF’s CEO and Chairperson. “I very much look forward to connecting with our partners at the GEF Council to join the dots between what the science is telling us and what transformative actions are required for the health of the planet.”

The GEF Council is a semi-annual meeting of representatives of the Global Environment Facility’s 183 country participants, grouped into 32 constituencies (14 for developed countries, 16 for developing countries, and two for economies in transition). Council members review and take decisions on policy changes, strategies, projects, and programs. The 57th Council meeting is the fourth to take place under GEF-7, a $4.1 billion cycle which started in July 2018.

Kicking off this year’s Council meetings will be a day of civil society consultations on December 16 focused on the illegal wildlife trade, which will feature keynote remarks from TRAFFIC Executive Director Steven Broad and Africa Wildlife Foundation CEO Kaddu Sebunya. Those discussions will look at opportunities to help local communities and indigenous peoples identify and support solutions across the value chain - from poaching to trafficking to demand.

As part of their core discussions, Council members will consider up to $700 million in projects and programs under GEF-7, including innovative new initiatives related to expanded marine protected areas, food and land use, mini-grids, and cities, including the new Sustainable Cities Impact Program. The Council will also consider a new private sector engagement strategy including the role of blended finance. At the Council’s conclusion, there will be a joint meeting of the GEF’s Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), which together provide financing for climate resilience-building in the poorest nations, where members will consider a $64.8 million work program for adaptation.