By Isabella Lövin Minister for International Development Cooperation, Sweden
The year 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the Global Environment Facility. Twenty-five is a highly respectable age for an international organisation – sufficient to have accumulated a considerable amount of experience, young enough to retain the energy needed to continue to play a vital role in its area. It is an age which allows us to draw several conclusions on the outstanding value the Swedish Government believes the GEF has had, and will continue to have.
First of all, the GEF has proved to be the visionary creation many hoped it would be. As the linkages between the environment, climate change and development have become even clearer over the past few decades, the idea of creating a facility jointly serving several environmental conventions, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and related areas has perhaps proved even more useful than originally expected. Like no other organisation in the field, the GEF has been able to unite interrelated concerns such as biodiversity, chemicals and waste, ocean management and climate change. The value of having such a coherent instrument has been confirmed repeatedly, from the original decisions at the 1992 Rio Conference, through the Millennium Development Goals to, most recently, the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Second, the GEF has demonstrated a high degree of effectiveness. It has served several conventions in a focused and attentive way. It has demonstrated an ability to adjust its programming and methods to further improve its current work, for example, on programmes with an integrated approach across the GEF’s range of responsibilities.
Third, I believe that the GEF has offered a role model for international cooperation in its area. From Sweden’s perspective as a member state, the consistently cooperative spirit of the GEF partnership has spawned a consensual approach that has long been the GEF hallmark and a source of inspiration in other contexts. The GEF Secretariat and its leadership have been instrumental in generating this spirit.
The Swedish Government is proud to have contributed financially to the GEF from the beginning. Climate change is the defining issue of our time. Serious environmental challenges remain on all continents. As the largest intergovernmental financing body uniting climate, the environment and development, the GEF will continue to play a necessary and vital role in the years ahead.