Investing in trees and forests combats global warming and provides good financial returns.

The best way to tackle climate change may come naturally. For years, solutions have focused on clean energy technology, including electrifying transport and driving down the cost of wind and solar power.

But the conservation and sustainable management of nature are now recognised as the other critical pathway to a climate-positive future, which on balance, benefits rather than damages the climate and can also help us protect biodiversity and water. 

The fashion industry must be ahead of the curve in tackling the climate and biodiversity crises

This is being described as the “super-year”, with 2020 seen as pivotal – when binding decisions will be made on climate and nature by the world’s governments at international policy meetings.

In an interview with The Economist Group’s World Ocean Initiative, Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF, calls for a fundamental rethink in our relationship with the environment to support a sustainable economy and social well-being.

Please could you provide a brief overview of the Global Environment Facility?

  • The nature loss and climate change crises are fundamentally interlinked.
  • Hundreds of companies are committed to reducing their emissions.
  • Today, a growing number of firms want to broaden this to reduce their impact on the natural world.
  • The Science Based Targets Network aims to help firms facilitate these changes.
  • Instead of being seen as pressure points for the environment, cities could be planned as innovation hubs
  • National governments must lead the move towards inclusive and sustainable cities, through initiatives such as carbon pricing and tax policies

We are in the age of urbanization. For the first time in human history, over half the world’s population now lives in cities; within a generation, urban areas will be the dominant drivers of global consumer demand and natural resource use.

Business and governments cooperating and working together will build a prosperous, green economy

The 2020s must be the climate decade. We need rapidly to identify what every government and every business can do to help us get to zero-carbon. 

Watch interviews with the GEF’s government partners, agency representatives, civil society leaders, and in-house specialists on climate change, cities, oceans, biodiversity, illegal wildlife trade, and more, recorded on the sidelines of the 57th GEF Council meetings in December 2019:

Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson, GEF

At the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, the GEF partnered with the Green Climate Fund to showcase the many ways developing country governments are working to raise and realize their climate ambitions. Events held at the joint GCF + GEF Pavilion highlighted examples of where climate change action is bearing fruit, where it can be scaled up, and where more work must be done, especially in the least developed countries. Read more from the front lines of climate action: