Opening of GEF Side Event on Adaptation at COP 21: Investing in Resilience: Responding to the Adaptation Needs of the Most Vulnerable

Download Files

November 30, 2015

Investing in Resilience: Responding to the Adaptation Needs of the Most Vulnerable

Naoko Ishii, CEO & Chairperson, Global Environment Facility

Monday, November 30, 2015, Observer Room 02, Blue Zone, Le Bourget

Check Against Delivery


Excellencies, Honorable Ministers, dear friends and colleagues,

First, I would to thank our French hosts for welcoming us here in Paris; and for your resolve and leadership at this very trying time. On behalf of the Global Environment Facility, I would like to express condolences and solidarity with the people affected by the attacks on November 13.


COP21 is a huge opportunity to demonstrate political ambition and collective action on climate change.  Today, we have already heard of much progress from many global leaders.   


At this incredibly busy moment, the presence of so many Ministers and senior officials here (and arriving shortly) is testament to importance countries put on addressing adaptation.   I want to thank Mary Robinson, the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Climate Change for her tireless work on this issue


Given that we’re already locked into climate change trajectories for many years to come, increased investment in adaptation has to be at the core of the new climate agreement.


We know that many billions are required over the next few years to fill the gap in climate finance, but the money pledged today is vital to help some of the most vulnerable people on the planet cope with the immediate impacts of our rapidly warming world.


Vulnerable developing countries and communities around the world continue to demonstrate impressive leadership and ingenuity as they seek to cope with the effects of climate change. Over the past decade, we have witnessed some of the poorest and the most vulnerable countries go from a nascent understanding of impacts and vulnerability to an emerging shift towards climate-resilient development.

The GEF has played a pioneering role in supporting these efforts. 

Since 2001, the GEF—through the LDCF and SCCF - has provided $1.3 billion in grant financing and mobilized $7 billion from other sources for 320 adaptation projects in 129 countries, including all Least Developed Countries and 33 Small Island Developing States. These projects are expected to directly reduce the vulnerability of 17 million people.


Additional funding for adaptation is now urgently needed to sustain the hard-earned momentum that the most vulnerable countries have achieved. The GEF Secretariat has a robust pipeline of 31 projects for financing from the LDCF; with grant requests amounting to $215 million. These projects can be approved as soon as additional funds are received.


On this first day of COP 21; let us send a signal of solidarity for the most vulnerable; and let us work together to invest in resilience.


Thank you very much.