By Ms. Lenita Toivakka, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Finland
Long live the GEF!
For Finland, the Global Environment Facility has been and remains the main financial instrument in the fight against environmental degradation and for the realization of global environmental benefits.
From the very beginning, the GEF's special strength has been its vast mandate and its inherent ability to generate synergy gains across various Multilateral Environmental Agreements and other thematic fields. In its own way, the GEF has been a precursor to the integrated spirit of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and with the Integrated Approaches Pilots it is already providing its new contribution to this common endeavour.
For us, it is crucial that the GEF remains faithful to its mandate as a key financial mechanism for a number of Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Fight against environmental degradation and efforts for global environmental benefits continue to need their steadfast supporter. At the same time, it is important to recognize the integrated and interlinked context within which the world community is striving towards economically, environmentally and socially sustainable development. The GEF2020 – the Facility's strategic vision – provides a good basis in this respect.
On the above solid foundation, I would like to highlight three aspects that I think remain important when directing the GEF into the future in the service of our beautiful planet. Firstly, women and girls all over the world need to get empowered to be involved in the sustainable management of natural resources on equal footing with men. Both women and men are needed to make our economies and societies sustainable. Secondly, we need to strengthen our efforts to turn all global financial flows sustainable and, in accordance with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, consistent with a pathway towards low emission and climate resilient development. Public money remains important, but if we are serious about safeguarding our global commons – if we really aim for going from billions to trillions – we have to be able to increasingly leverage private sector finances. And thirdly, we need to take care of those most in need which implies that all those more capable should shoulder increasing responsibilities.
The year 2015 was a big year for the global community coming together for the common good. The GEF, as a solid and trusted partner, has been and will be instrumental making the needed transformation happen. In Finland, the GEF can count on a good old friend in this endeavour.