DateAugust 22-26, 2023
Vancouver, Canada
Severnth GEF Assembly logo

The Seventh GEF Assembly will mark moment of hope for the global environment

Environmental leaders from 185 countries will gather in Vancouver, Canada for the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility from August 22-26. Building on recent diplomatic breakthroughs on biodiversity loss, toxic chemicals, and the high seas, the GEF Assembly will be a critical stocktaking for 2030 goals to end pollution and nature loss, combat climate change, and propel inclusive, locally-led conservation.

It is expected to include the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, a new source of funding for protecting endangered species and their ecosystems globally. The GEF was selected to manage this new fund at the COP15 Convention on Biological Diversity summit in December 2022.

Ministers, government officials, business leaders, prominent environmentalists, leaders of GEF agencies and of the main environmental conventions, as well as youth, civil society representatives and Indigenous Peoples will have an opportunity to discuss solutions under the overarching theme of "Healthy Planet, Healthy People."  

Some sessions will be livestreamed and added to the Program of Events when confirmed.

Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program

The GEF organized a call for submission of initiatives under the Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program. Submissions selected under the program will be recognized at a high-level ministerial event at the Assembly. Each initiative, designed to catalyze inclusive and innovative on-the-ground action, will also be provided up to $100,000 of funding support to maximize its impacts in delivering adaptation and environmental benefits of global and local importance. The amount of funding for the winners will be decided by the GEF Secretariat based on fund availability and proposed activities. The winning initiatives will also be connected through a global coordination and knowledge platform to progress peer learning, partnership development, and capacity building.

The submission deadline was May 29, 2023. See the document below for more details.

For recipient countries, the GEF will support up to four delegates, including ministers/heads of delegation, and up to five for Least Developed Countries or Small Island Developing States. In addition, civil society representatives from recipient countries will receive support to participate.

Visa Information

We encourage you to register and apply for a visa to Canada no later than May 2023, so the visa process can be completed in time.

Most participants traveling to Canada to attend the Seventh GEF Assembly will be required to obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) or an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Countries that require an electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) are:

Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Cook Islands, Croatia, Republic of Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Romania (only for electronic passport holders), Samoa, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and United Kingdom.

All other countries, except for the United States, require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

Process to apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) to Canada:

  1. Register for the Assembly here.
  2. Approved participants will receive a Confirmation Letter (visa support letter) from the GEF Secretariat. The Confirmation Letter must be uploaded in the online visa application. The Confirmation Letter contains a Special Event Code which serves as proof that visa and biometric processing fees are exempt. While visas for participants invited to attend the Seventh GEF Assembly are processed at no cost by the Government of Canada. Participants must still submit a visa application; and provide biometrics (if necessary).
  3. Complete the TVR application, following the step-by-step visa guide.

Once your application has been submitted, please click here to send an email to Alla Ljungman, Susan W. Matindi Waithaka,  Seo-Jeong Yoon, and William Ehlers with the following information:

  1. Full Name (First Name, Last Name as they appear in your passport)
  2. Position Title
  3. Organization
  4. Country of Birth
  5. Visa Application number (VAN)

Arriving in Canada 

In order to facilitate entry formalities upon arrival in Canada, you are encouraged to carry a copy of the Confirmation Letter to identify yourself as a Seventh GEF Assembly participant to the Canadian authorities.

The Assembly will have a full agenda, including high-level roundtables, a Partnership Forum on August 23, side events, and opportunities to visit environmental activities close to Vancouver on August 26 that can serve as learning opportunities.

August 22

Events in Vancouver open with a day of discussions and side events featuring ideas from youth and Indigenous leaders, organized by the GEF’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP).

Youth Leaders Learning Exchange

Indigenous and Local Knowledge

  • Featuring Indigenous group case study presentations and follow-up discussions on the Arctic and Amazon focus on food and natural systems.

August 23 – Partnership Forum

The Partnership Forum is one avenue during the GEF Assembly for non-state actors to voice their rights and interests, share their experiences, and communicate their aspirations in relation to the GEF’s mission. It is expected that the Forum will generate messages to feed into the formal GEF Assembly sessions and roundtable discussions as well as produce concrete ideas and proposals for future engagement with the GEF.

Jointly organized by the GEF Secretariat, GEF Civil Society Organization Network, GEF Gender Partnership, Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group, in collaboration with the Government of Canada.

Intergenerational Fireside Chat

  • Interactive dialogue between youth conservation leaders, GEF CEO Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, government minister(s), head(s) of UN agencies and MEA secretariats.

Parallel Interactive Breakout Sessions followed by a Panel Discussion

  • The Plenary Panel Discussion will take a closer look at the key messages and recommendations developed in the breakout sessions that are led by youth, Indigenous Peoples, and women.

High-level Closing Event

  • Several new GEF-related initiatives and programs are set to be announced, including the winners of the Inclusive Assembly Challenge Fund and the launch of the Gustavo Fonseca Youth Conservation Leadership Program Fund.

Official Opening Ceremony of the Assembly

August 24-25 – GEF Assembly

The Assembly is the governing body of the GEF that includes representatives of all 185 member countries and is responsible for reviewing and evaluating the GEF’s general policies, operations, and membership. It will include three high-level plenary sessions August 24-25, and 11 interactive roundtables running across the two days focused on a wide range of topics from closing the nature funding gap, to transforming food systems, building climate resilience, and more.

August 26 – Field Visits

Assembly participants will have an opportunity to visit environmental activities close to Vancouver.