By Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Post, Belgium
On this happy occasion of the Global Environment Facility’s 25th anniversary Belgium is more than pleased to extend its heartfelt congratulations to the organisation and express its high appreciation for the significant contribution that the GEF has made and continues to make to safeguarding and restoring our planet Earth.
With its unique focal area structure the GEF is unparalleled in the way how global environmental challenges need to be tackled, i.e. in an integrated manner that delivers multiple global environmental benefits. No wonder the GEF is at the same time the biggest and most efficient funding source for actions that address climate change, biodiversity, desertification, chemicals and waste, as well as international waters. And it does so following the guidance that the international community develops during the Conferences of the Parties of several Conventions and with a clear country-driven approach. Logically, time and again, independent evaluations have shown that the GEF fulfils its mandate by being responsive to the Conventions and producing tangible results on the ground, in accordance with recipient countries’ priorities, that have real impact on improving the global environment. In doing so, the GEF contributes significantly to the sustainable development of recipient countries. Therefore, today is also the moment to express sincere gratitude for the years of hard work by the GEF Secretariat under the successive Chief Executive Officers and Chairpersons.
Looking ahead and being fully aware that huge environmental challenges remain, Belgium is convinced that the GEF will continue to be a key player in delivering support to implement the objectives of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, as well as to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
There are many excellent lessons to be learned from the past 25 years on which the GEF can build to continue protecting the global commons while, at the same time, promoting the green development of its clients: fostering a strong partnership with all of its stakeholders, in particular its agencies, the civil society and the private sector, adapting its strategies and operations in a rapidly changing world and in harmony with the developments under the different conventions and continuing to enhance its modalities for providing support.
All of this, in combination with cutting-edge scientific and technological advice and diligently overseen by a well-working Independent Evaluation Office, should guarantee that the GEF remains the leader and pioneer in tackling global environmental problems for many years to come.
Belgium is proud to have been actively involved with the GEF for a long time, both in the Council and in the Conferences of the Parties of various Conventions, and seizes the opportunity to state its resolve to continue to work with all GEF stakeholders in order to perpetuate GEF’s important role in working towards a better world.