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GEF Addresses UNCCD COP 10 for the First Time as Financial Mechanism

Changwon, Republic of Korea, October 17, 2011 -  Last week in Changwon, Korea, the GEF presented its report on GEF activities in the Land Degradation Focal Area to the UNCCD COP 10, the main bi-annual conference of countries who are parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Land Degradation.

Since the GEF Assembly in May 2010 declared the GEF as a financial mechanism, the GEF this year participated for the first time in the COP in that capacity. The GEF report provides an overview of the project and program portfolio for the GEF Land Degradation Focal Area (LDFA). During the reporting period from July 2009 to June 2011, one programmatic approach and fourteen projects were approved with funding from the LDFA. The total GEF amount invested during the reporting period was $60.6 million, with an additional $1.7 billion in co-financing. See the full report here:

The report also reflects a series of important milestones for the GEF with implications for the relations to the UNCCD that happened over the last two years. The successful 5th replenishment of the GEF is one of them, with a total amount of $4.35 billion provided for all focal areas together. For the LDFA, which primarily supports priorities of the UNCCD, the total GEF-5 allocation is $405 million for the period of 2010 - 2014. This reflects an increase of more than 30 percent over the previous replenishment round. With GEF’s improved resource allocation system, the System for a Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR), all eligible countries have indicative allocation to access funding for projects aimed at combating land degradation, including desertification and deforestation.

At the COP until October 22nd, the GEF is co-organizing more than 15 sessions on topics related to Sustainable Land Management in the Rio Conventions Pavilion, a collaborative outreach activity involving the three Rio Convention secretariats and a range of multilateral and bilateral partners. As one of the highlights of the COP, on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 for example, the GEF will launch the coffeetable book "Land For Life", a brand new publication on Sustainable Land Management ( About the Rio Conventions Pavilion see more here:





On October 11, the GEF organized a special day committed to Sustainable Forest Management, or SFM. Best practices and latest achievements on SFM were shared with 40 representatives of key partners in SFM, and new approaches on how to harness multiple benefits that forests have to offer were presented.  Another highlight of the event was the presentation of the lessons learned by the GEF from implementing a portfolio of forestry projects for the past 20 years. With the $1 billion expected to be invested in forests in the next 4 years, the future portfolio will bring about significant transformative changes the way forests are managed around the world.


Reflections on the GEF Partnership with the People’s Republic of China and 5 countries of the Central Asia region on Sustainable Land Management

Throughout the week, at several workshops and side-events, GEF together with partners reflected on how to advance SLM based on successes achieved so far in Central Asia and PRC. The discussions with China and Central Asia countries resulted in concrete steps to initiate the follow-up of the Partnerships and the most effective approaches to program their resources under the 5th replenishment cycle of the GEF.

Science and Policy Options for Sustainable Land Management in the Sahel, including implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative

On Friday, October 14, partners including GEF Implementing Agencies (World Bank, UNDP), ICRAF, Africa Regreening Initiative discussed with Parties ongoing successes in SLM and their integration into the planned activities for the Great Green Wall Initiative.

The GEF delegation also engaged in several dialogues with Parties on latest GEF reforms to facilitate access to GEF funds, including access to Enabling Activities.

The GEF is part of the official COP exhibition with a booth with specially designated video creation designed by GEF staff Raul Rodriguez.


To contact the GEF delegation in Changwon, Korea: Christian Hofer,

For more information about what’s going on in Changwon at the COP: IISD is producing a daily bulletin covering the events at the COP, see it here: