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Hilton McLean Tysons Corner, VA, United States

The Council, the GEF's main governing body, comprises 32 members appointed by constituencies of GEF member countries (14 from developed countries, 16 from developing countries, and two from economies in transition). Council members rotate at different intervals determined by each constituency. The Council, which meets twice annually, develops, adopts and evaluates the operational policies and programs for GEF-financed activities. It also reviews and approves the work program (projects submitted for approval), making decisions by consensus.

IISD Council Coverage

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Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, GEF CEO and Chairperson, opened the final meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council of the seventh replenishment period of the GEF (GEF-7), emphasizing the importance of the two funds’ focus on adaptation, given that our ability to keep global warming at or below 1.5°C is “by no means certain.” Council members adopted the final work program for LDCF projects in the GEF-7 cycle, which amounted to $72.44 million for eight projects.

Rodríguez highlighted the input that had been received around the new strategy for the LDCF and SCCF, and stressed the need to scale up and provide predictable funds. He underscored that the work program represented an almost 100% expenditure of the available LDCF funds.

Madeleine Diouf Sarr, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group, expressed appreciation for the growing number of adaptation projects, the inclusive and transparent process in developing GEF-8, and the proactive training provided for LDCs to understand the new strategies, saying this strengthened their collective vision on adaptation and transformation.

In his presentation of specific projects in the work program, Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Secretariat, highlighted that with this work program, 100% of LDCs were supported during GEF-7. He said all eight projects in this work program would respond to the ambition and requirements of GEF policy on gender equality, and noted that four of the projects address urgent and immediate climate change adaptation priorities in at least four LDCs, including:

  • work by Comoros to strengthen the resilience of climate-smart agricultural systems and value chains;
  • work by Niger to strengthen the resilience of small farmers through climate-smart agriculture techniques in Tahoua region;
  • ecosystem-based adaptation for improved livelihood in Tuvalu; and
  • upscaling ecosystem-based adaption for Madagascar’s coastal zones.

Fonseca added that all projects are expected to deliver adaptation benefits, with: 1,308,995 beneficiaries, 51.1% of whom are female; at least 101 policies and plans; 233,498 hectares of land under climate-resilient management; and 41,043 people (51.9% of whom are female) with enhanced capacity.

Two countries pledged funding to the LDCF. Finland announced it will provide EUR 2 million for LDCF in 2022. Denmark announced it will provide DKK 150 million in 2022 and the same amount in 2023.

The GEF Council concluded a discussion that had begun on Wednesday by adopting text calling for the GEF Secretariat, in consultation with the STAP and interested Council members and alternates, to prepare a paper on a GEF-8 programming risk framework for consideration by the Council at its 64th session.

Council members were also briefed on negotiations on an international legally binding instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ), and the process that would be required if the GEF were to be proposed to serve as its financial mechanism.

At the end of the day, the GEF Council and LDCF/SCCF Councils reviewed the co-chairs’ summary of the meetings, which comprised the decisions that were taken during each meeting, and adopted the summaries without changes.

GEF CEO Rodríguez thanked the Council members and GEF staff for making the in-person meeting successful. He highlighted that the meeting capped off a successful GEF-7 cycle, and looked forward to the new GEF-8 cycle and the opportunities that it will bring. The 62nd meeting of the GEF Council closed at 4:00 pm.

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GEF Council members discussed inputs by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) to guide and evaluate GEF project implementation, kicking off the second day of the 62nd meeting of the Council. The Executive Secretaries of several of the multilateral environmental agreements for which the GEF serves as a financial mechanism discussed funding priorities for the conventions. At the conclusion of the day, Council members were briefed on preparations for the seventh meeting of the GEF Assembly.

At the opening of the day, Rosina Bierbaum, STAP Chair, provided an overview of scientific developments related to the GEF-8 agenda, explaining that we have now transgressed six planetary boundaries, including climate change, biogeochemical flows, biosphere integrity, land system change, novel entities (toxics and plastics), and green water. She called attention to the “transformation/risk/innovation trio,” saying transformational change will require innovation, which can entail risks.

Among other conclusions from the nine new papers prepared by STAP, Bierbaum noted that policy coherence creates synergies, helps manage trade-offs, avoids damaging behaviors, and ensures global environmental benefits are not undermined by misaligned policies. She highlighted many possibilities for future work, including a report for the GEF Assembly focusing on the transformation/risk/innovation trio, developing a training course on the theory of change and multi-stakeholder dialogues, and developing a data and knowledge management platform on mercury.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, GEF CEO and Chairperson, opened the discussion on relations with the conventions, recalling that he had recently attended the meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, and highlighting the upcoming meetings of the conferences of the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He called for more integration across the conventions and noted the opportunity that a focus on the topic of nature provides in this regard.

In her final address to the GEF as UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Patricia Espinosa highlighted that the GEF-8 replenishment negotiation outcomes point to the GEF’s role as a key financial source for climate action and sustainable development.

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, CBD Executive Secretary, highlighted that GEF-8 has substantially increased the funding for biodiversity. She noted that the GEF is supporting early action grants for national planning in response to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. She added that this activity seeks to promote early national planning with an eye towards the successful adoption of the new biodiversity framework and to jumpstart its implementation.

Rolph Payet, BRS Executive Secretary, said the Secretariat is putting together a strategy to achieve the “maximum possible elimination” of PCBs by the upcoming 2025 and 2028 deadlines, and called for exploring how to leverage the GEF-8 replenishment in support of this goal. He said priority areas of work include PCBs, newly listed persistent organic pollutants (POPs), stockpiles of obsolete POPs, unintentionally produced POPs, and national implementation plans.

 

Monika Stankiewicz, Executive Secretary of the Minamata Convention, underscored that compliance-related challenges are mounting for developing countries, and said the GEF-8 allocation will be spent in its entirety. She noted that parties agreed on the terms of reference for the second review of the financial mechanism, which she said would allow parties to make any necessary adjustments.

UNCCD Deputy Executive Secretary Andrea Meza Murillo reviewed that Convention’s recent COP15 outcomes and welcomed the GEF-8 replenishment and increased flexibility for countries to allocate resources across focal areas. She highlighted the need for pre-project support and financial requirements to promote implementation of land degradation neutrality targets.

The Council also discussed GEF support to sustainable forest management, the report of the Ad-Hoc Working Group on Governance, and preparations for the seventh meeting of the GEF Assembly, which is expected to take place in Vancouver, Canada, in mid-2023.

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The 62nd meeting of the Global Environment Facility Council opened with a briefing on the recently concluded negotiations for the eighth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF-8). Following the announcement of pledges from two additional countries on Tuesday morning, 29 donor governments will provide $5.33 billion for GEF-8 in the next four years. This replenishment is over 30% higher than GEF-7. The Council also approved the final work program under GEF-7 on Tuesday, among other agenda items.

Prior to opening the 62nd meeting of the GEF Council on Tuesday morning, June 21, 2022, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, GEF CEO and Chairperson, expressed sorrow at the news that Delphin Aidji (Benin), the GEF Council Member from the West Africa constituency, had passed away over the weekend. Rodríguez invited the Council to stand for a moment of silence.

In his first in-person address to the GEF Council after two years of online meetings, GEF CEO Rodríguez expressed hope that GEF-8 would provide inspiration in this difficult time, with multiple challenges caused by the global pandemic. He recognized the work of the Secretariat, GEF agencies, GEF CSO Network, and others to support the GEF through the end of GEF-7 without significant consequences for its portfolio.

Rodríguez expressed his hope that by the end of GEF-9 the GEF would be able to support countries where all public and private investments are aligned with the Paris Agreement on climate change and other environmental agreements. He stressed that we can address the triple planetary crisis by working together with governments, the private sector, and civil society organizations, and noted that, based on the discussions in the recent meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm (BRS) Conventions, there is a clear desire for more integration. Rodríguez also announced Qatar would be joining the GEF partnership and highlighted its interest in climate adaptation issues.

GEF Council Co-Chair Ambassador Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia highlighted that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) had a seat at the table at the GEF-8 replenishment negotiations for the first time, and said being in the room was “not only priceless but eye opening and empowering.” He reported that developing and developed countries had pledged funding for GEF-8, which represents a “vote of confidence” in the GEF and its stakeholders.

Many Council members lauded the historic level of funding for the GEF-8 replenishment. Several expressed appreciation for the participation of SIDS in the process, and expressed hope that least developed countries (LDCs) could be similarly involved in the GEF-9 process. One Council member underscored the importance of continuing to work with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, young people, and women.

During the discussion of the work program for the GEF Trust Fund, Council members adopted a proposal for allocating $165.8 million for 19 projects and programs from all five focal area envelopes and from the non-grant instruments (NGI) funding window. The Secretariat highlighted that the work program would contribute to a green and blue recovery and direct significant resources at SIDS and LDCs, with Africa holding the largest share.

The Secretariat also provided an overview of the entire GEF-7 cycle, noting that progress had been made on all programming fronts, with 93% of total resources being programmed in GEF-7 once the Council approved the work program. The Secretariat highlighted that, despite the difficult circumstances due to the global pandemic, all focal areas except climate change were over 90% programmed, and the levels of co-financing were better than expected.

Additional agenda items discussed on Tuesday included the GEF-8 Integrated Programs lead agency terms of reference and selection process, updating the System for Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR), and the FY23 corporate budget and business plan.

At the conclusion of the day, the GEF Council celebrated the 30th anniversary of the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP).

GEF Voices

This interview series highlights individuals from across our partnership, including Council members and focal points, whose collective actions are helping the GEF unlock a healthier, safe, more prosperous world for future generations. See all the interviews here >>

Joint Summary
Number Title Document Summary Documents
GEF/C.62/Highlights Highlights
Document
GEF/C.62/Jointsummary Joint Summary of the Co-Chairs
Document
Information Documents
Number Title Document Summary Documents
GEF/C.62/Inf.01/Rev.03 Provisional Timetable
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.02/Rev.01 Provisional List of Documents
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.03 GEF Council Members, Alternates and Constituencies
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.04 GEF Corporate Scorecard June 2022
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.05 Progress Report on the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.06 Progress Report on Agencies Compliance with Minimum Standards in the GEF Policies
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.07 Progress Report on GEF Agencies’ Compliance with the GEF Minimum Fiduciary Standards
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.08 Update on Progress to Develop a GEF Knowledge Management and Learning Strategy
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.09 GEF Trust Fund Financial Report
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.10 Summary of extensions granted under the cancellation policy
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.11 GEF-8 Country Engagement Strategy Implementation Arrangements
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.12/Rev.01 Guidelines on the implementation of the GEF-8 Results Measurement Framework
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.13 Guidance Note for Countries and GEF Agencies on participation in the GEF-8 Integrated Programs
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.14 Progress Report on the Long-Term Vision on Complementarity, Coherence, and Collaboration between the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.15 Information Note on the Update to the Financing of Biennial Transparency Reports for the Developing Country Parties to the Paris Agreement
Document
GEF/C.62/Inf.16 GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) 2.0: Position Paper on Implementation Arrangements for GEF-8
Document
IEO Information Documents
Number Title Document Summary Documents
GEF/E/C.62/Inf.01 Evaluation of GEF Enabling Activities
Document
GEF/E/C.62/Inf.02 Guidelines for Conducting Program Evaluation
Document
STAP Documents
Number Title Document Summary Documents
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.01 Report of the Chair of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel
Document
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.02 Refining the tracking of Co-Benefits in future GEF investments
Document
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.03 Knowledge Management and Learning: A STAP brief
Document
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.04 Framing Policy Coherence for the GEF
Document
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.05 Achieving transformation through GEF investments
Document
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.06 The GEF and the Blue Economy
Document
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.07 Risk appetite and the GEF
Document
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.08 There is more than one plausible future
Document
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.09 Natural Capital Approaches
Document
GEF/STAP/C.62/Inf.10 A decision tree for adaptation rationale
Document

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