The Marshall Islands is convening an entirely online Virtual Summit of the Climate Vulnerable Forum on 22 November 2018. Photo: Shutterstock.
The Marshall Islands is convening an entirely online Virtual Summit of the Climate Vulnerable Forum on 22 November 2018. Photo: Shutterstock.

The world’s first-ever Virtual Climate Summit will take place tomorrow, November 22, to renew political momentum in tackling climate change.

Announcing the summit at the 6th GEF Assembly in Da Nang Hilda Heine, the President of the Marshall Islands and Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) told the 1,200 delegates, including representatives from all of the GEF’s 183 member countries, that the Marshall Islands was grappling with “an existential threat in the face of the growing environmental crisis”. But she added that the Assembly was “an engine room of hope” and was “at the forefront of efforts to help overcome this crisis.,”.          

Following the recent release of the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, the Virtual Summit will highlight new national efforts and share perspectives on climate risks and on opportunities of putting the world on a safer 1.5°C pathway.

“What we face, the world will face,” said President Heine while stressing that “all nations must urgently find ways to step up and do more to tackle climate change if we are to protect vulnerable nations and people everywhere from an escalation of life-and development- threatening danger, including existential threats to nations like my own.”

“Time is running out, and we cannot afford to fail,” says GEF CEO Naoko Ishii in her video address to the CVF Virtual Climate Summit. “In our new four-year investment strategy, the GEF puts a strong emphasis on financing for Least Developed Countries (LDC) and Small Island Developing States. We have put systems transformation at the heart of our strategy.  And we are making new resources available for adaptation priorities and for other pressing sustainable development challenges.”

The GEF has been a strong partner and supporter of sustainable development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) since it was founded over 25 years ago. It  has supported the development of green and blue economy approaches in SIDS because nowhere is the inextricable connection between people’s wellbeing, prosperity, and the environment clearer than on small islands.

In recent years, growing recognition of the vital importance of the oceans to economies and livelihoods in SIDS has increased calls for integrated blue economy approaches. At the same time, SIDS face fundamental challenges that must be tackled immediately - including high vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, limited land and water resources, and often unsustainable natural resource use.

The GEF is allocating $233 million in its new four-year investment cycle (known as GEF-7) for countries within the GEF SIDS constituency as national allocations to address pressing sustainable development challenges. The four pieces compiled below will provide more insights about the GEF work in SIDS and share real stories from project staff and beneficiaries.