DateSeptember 3-11, 2021
Marseille, France

The GEF took part in the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020, held in Marseille, France from September 3-11, 2021.

The IUCN Congress urged governments to implement a nature-based recovery from the pandemic, investing at least 10% of global recovery funds in nature, and adopted a series of resolutions and commitments to urgently address the interlinked climate and biodiversity crises.

The event was made up of three main components: The Members’ Assembly, where IUCN Members vote on priority actions; the Forum, a global marketplace of conservation science and innovation; and the Exhibition, where exhibitors can showcase their work to Congress participants and the public.

The first hybrid in-person and virtual environmental event since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Congress will drive action on nature-based recovery, climate change, and biodiversity for decades to come.

The GEF organized a series of virtual and in-person events from September 4-6.

GEF Events

The Business of Oceans: Sustainable companies & innovative financing

September 4, 18:00-19:30 CET (virtual)

Ocean conservation has historically been the responsibility of governments with environmental non-governmental organizations playing critical roles as alarmists, activists, and often funders. As the value of increasingly threatened marine goods and services has been recognized, the scope of stakeholders has broadened to include the businesses whose behavior policies aim to shift toward sustainability. Fishing industries now recognize that their stocks require healthy nursery grounds and catch-limits ensure the long-term sustainability of their businesses. Coastal developers see that their shoreline properties benefit from the protection offered by healthy reefs and mangroves and the market value of vibrant reefs and clean seawater. And redesign, reuse, and recycling companies see the business opportunities from reducing plastic pollution, which also benefits ocean health.

Inclusive approaches: lessons learned and opportunities for supporting indigenous peoples and local communities in conservation

September 5, 14:00 - 15:30 CET (virtual)

The principal focus of the session was to discuss the implementation of FPIC in the context of large environmental projects – showing how projects can protect nature through inclusion and opportunities for indigenous peoples and conservationists to engage and shape projects. The session also provided an opportunity to give a brief update on the progress with the Inclusive Conservation Initiative and the GEF’s activities with indigenous peoples.

The journey of a chocolate bar: how to transform food systems through sustainable value chains and integrated approaches

September 5, 14:00 - 15:30 CET (virtual)

Faced with the challenge of meeting growing and changing demands, the world’s food system is already one of the major underlying drivers of global environment degradation. Co-organized by the GEF and its partners, the World Bank, CIFOR-ICRAF, WWF and Conservation International, the session demonstrated the need for holistic, system-based approaches to transform the food system. Designed as a knowledge sharing and collective learning session, it followed the journey of a metaphorical chocolate bar with ingredients (e.g. chocolate, palm oil, rice, coffee, etc) sourced from globally important landscapes. The session brought together the perspectives of the important actors across critical commodity supply chains. It featured major integrated food systems initiatives from the GEF and others as well as key cross-cutting efforts that promote sustainability. The session explored the most promising ways to work in a more integrated fashion for the benefit of nature.

Mobilizing finance for climate action and nature protection

New roadmap for long-term complementarity between the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund

September 5, 17:00 - 18:00 CET (in-person)

The missions of the GEF and the GCF are partially shared and mutually reinforcing. A new Long-Term Vision on Complementarity, Coherence, and Collaboration between the two organizations builds on this foundation. It aims to take the partnership to a more strategic level with concrete contributions and commitments from both sides in programming, information and knowledge sharing, and communication and outreach. Join the heads of the GEF and GCF, recipient countries, and partners for an interactive dialogue on what it means to turn this new vision into concrete climate action and nature protection.

Collaboration for protecting the Amazon nature and people: the case of the Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program

September 6, 14:00 - 15:30 CET (virtual)

Learn about the Amazon Sustainable Landscapes Program (ASL) and its role, and experience promoting collaboration among multiple and diverse stakeholders to conserve and sustainably develop the Amazon. The ASL is a GEF-funded, World Bank-led program that includes national child projects in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru, and a regional coordination and knowledge management project. It is currently being scaled up with Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, and Suriname joining. The event provided different points of view (government, business sector, scientist, community, donor) about the opportunities and challenges for collaboration to address regional environmental challenges, and how can programs like the ASL address them. The event includee an interactive session where participants will be able to share innovative ideas to address the challenges of collaboration, based on experiences from the Amazon and other regions in the world.

Green is the new gold: partnering with the private sector for conservation finance

September 6, 16:00 - 17:30 CET (virtual)

The session showcased initiatives in which the private sector is supporting conservation outcomes with a focus on innovation and new partnership models. First, an expert panel explored the key elements and foundations of collaborative partnerships pioneered by major companies, innovators and multi-stakeholder platforms. Second, the application of market based instruments, including biodiversity credits and carbon market finance, were also  examined in the context of innovative public and private partnerships. The session explored the challenges experienced by global experts and illustrate solutions with examples of blended finance.

The Restoration Initiative: Catalyzing action on restoration

September 6, 18:00 - 20:00 CET (virtual and in-person)

With a global span of ten partnering countries in Asia and Africa and implementation support from three Global Environment Facility (GEF) agencies, The Restoration Initiative (TRI) is the largest GEF-supported program on restoration to date. Launched in 2018, TRI is serving a key role in generating progress, knowledge, tools, and experiences on restoration to inform the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration as well as other restoration initiatives including GEF-8 programming and support for restoration. At this September 6 IUCN World Conservation Congress event, hear first-hand from some of the key partners involved in TRI on their experiences working on the front lines of restoration, and how TRI is helping to support and inform other ongoing and emerging restoration work.

Stories from the GEF Events

GEF-supported Pavilions

The GEF delegation participated in a number of events at the following pavilions:

Vital Sites for a Protected Planet

The Vital Sites Pavilion highlighted how fair and effective protected and conserved areas are a foundation for addressing biodiversity and development challenges, and are essential for human health and well-being.

Post-2020 Pavilion

The Post-2020 Pavilion is a six-day program of substantive sessions. The topics of discussion relate to the full spectrum of issues under deliberation in the official Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) negotiations.