By Gerd Müller, Federal Minister of Economis Cooperation and Development, Germany,
and Michel Sapin, Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry, France
The Global Environment Facility is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and can look back at some great achievements. Germany and France jointly contributed to the initial establishment of the one-billion-dollar pilot program in 1991 and the GEF has since gone on to become an entity entrusted with the operation of the financial mechanisms of the five major international environmental conventions on which countries rely to tackle our planet’s pressing environmental problems. France and Germany have thus been actively involved from the beginning. Today, they are two of the GEF's largest donors, having contributed 3.5 billion dollars since its inception, including 760 million dollars for the 6th replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund.
Among the greatest achievements of the GEF’s unique partnership are the holistic approach it has taken to cross-cutting issues of the global environment and sustainable development, such as the preservation of ecosystems and the promotion of clean energy and food security. The GEF has played a key role in promoting sustainable forest management, fostering climate-resilient and low-emission development, protecting the ozone layer, and leveraging additional financing, both public and private.
The GEF must now continue adapting to a complex and rapidly evolving world, drawing on the wealth of experience it has amassed to date. This is particularly critical when it comes to implementing the Paris Agreement, where the GEF will play a key role in helping developing countries to achieve their nationally determined contributions. The dynamic way in which the GEF has evolved on all environmental issues over the years demonstrates its determination to fully meet the challenges ahead. One specific recent example has been the swift establishment, supported by Germany and France, of the GEF trust fund for the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency.
France and Germany also encourage the GEF to continue challenging its own model and the way it seeks both transformational solutions to environmental issues and also the right partnerships to lend added impact to its actions. In this regard, it will be vital for the GEF to continue working in coordination with other institutions and initiatives serving the five conventions. This will allow it not only to build on existing experience but also to reinforce synergies and efficiency. In particular, the GEF and its Council Members should also define the role to be played by the GEF in coordination with other climate funds, especially the Green Climate Fund, so as to enhance synergies and avoid duplication of efforts.
Germany and France are confident that the GEF will continue to be a true champion in global efforts to preserve the environment. We wish a very happy 25th birthday to the GEF and all the individuals working at this unique institution.