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In a virtual meeting, representatives of the Global Environment Facility’s 184 member countries moved this week to financially support countries seeking to protect nature and tackle environmental priorities amid the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and endorsed new approaches to engage with the private sector and confront future zoonotic disease risks.

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A group of leading experts and scientists convened by the Global Environment Facility has issued a white paper on the nexus between emerging infectious diseases and environmental degradation aimed at informing international efforts to build back better from COVID-19.

The experts’ report, published ahead the 59th GEF Council, explores ways protecting and conserving nature can address the current crisis and prevent future outbreaks, and proposes new avenues for investment and cooperation to meet these goals.

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Yesterday our GEF agency partner the UNDP published an audit of its management of Global Environment Facility supported projects, produced by UNDP’s Independent Office of Audit Investigations. This report is an important step toward addressing shortcomings that have emerged with regard to multiple projects, which we at the GEF take extremely seriously.

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When a clan chief in Fiji dies, fishing stops for up to a year on part of the island nation’s extensive coral reefs to allow fish stocks to rebound. It is in the new chief’s interest that they do, since an abundant catch when fishing resumes is seen as a portent of his future success.

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Under the leadership of its new CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, the Global Environment Facility has renewed its engagement with UN environmental conventions to share strategic priorities and enhance the GEF’s support for major landmark agreements on biodiversity, climate change, chemicals, land use, and more.

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The Global Environment Facility’s governing body will focus in its upcoming Council meetings on ways to assist developing countries emerge stronger from the coronavirus pandemic that has underlined how important it is for strains on nature from human activity to be addressed.

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Anna Teh is the Philippines’ Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources and her country’s GEF Operational Focal Point. In an interview, she reflected on why the COVID-19 crisis has given her optimism about the world’s ability to confront climate change, and shared how her experience as a teen parent – and now as a grandparent – underlies her commitment to work in conservation.

What are the main environmental issues of importance to the Philippines?

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The GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) is excited to announce the start of its new operational phase - Seventh Operational Phase from 2020 to 2024, with a revamped strategy and renewed financial commitments. The SGP is financed by the Global Environment Facility and other partners and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

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Sandy Andelman is Vice President for Conservation Strategy and Partnerships at the Wildlife Conservation Society, an NGO working in 65 countries to protect wildlife and wild places through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. In an interview, she reflected on her work as a member of the GEF COVID-19 Task Force and shared how observing small apes sing in an Oregon zoo started her on a path of scientific inquiry that continues to motivate her decades later.

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Martha Cuba de Cronkleton is head of international affairs and cooperation at Peru’s Ministry of Environment and serves as her country’s GEF Operational Focal Point. In an interview, she reflected on the ways the Global Environment Facility has helped Peru advance its environmental priorities and build new coalitions for enduring support.

What are Peru’s main environmental priorities?

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