The 52nd GEF Council Meeting opened today in Washington, DC and will run May 23-25, 2017. Reminding delegates of both the current threats to the environment, as well as emerging opportunities to transform key economic systems, Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO & Chairperson said “We have an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference.”
“Data and science tell us that the global environment is continuing to degrade at a rapid pace,” Ishii said. “The negative trends are mirrored by an increasing perception among businesses that the environment is a rapidly growing risk to them.”
“There is some good news, however,” she continued. “Perhaps most importantly, the green energy revolution seems now to have reached a point of no return. The question we need to ask ourselves is how the GEF can help achieve similar kinds of momentum in other key systems, which are the ultimate drivers of our deteriorating environment.”
The current Council Meeting will be an opportunity to reflect on the GEF’s overall strategic directions. Issues on the agenda include a discussion on the GEF2020 strategy, an update the 7th replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund, a progress report regarding the Integrated Approach Pilots, as well as presentations from STAP and the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO).
Other agenda items will focus on institutional aspects of the GEF, including reporting on results through a half-yearly scorecard, a discussion of a new Conflict of Interest Policy for Council Members and other transparency-related matters. There will also be a discussion of a new vision for the GEF’s engagement with civil society.
On Monday May 22nd, as is customary ahead of the Council Meeting, Council Members, the GEF Secretariat, and the IEO met with representatives from civil society, as well as with the GEF Small Grants Programme Global Manager, and the Chair of the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group.
The Council meeting kicked off on the back of some good news. Following the 50th ratification of the Minamata Convention on Mercury last week, the GEF CEO hosted delegates from the interim secretariat of the convention, and representatives from the governments of Uruguay, USA and Japan at a celebratory evening reception.
Addressing the Council today, Ishii said, “I would like to once more congratulate everybody who has worked so tirelessly to make sure that the Minamata convention has reached effectiveness. Last night we celebrated that the Minamata Convention will come into force in less than three months. Today we reconfirm our commitment to tackle the work ahead and together make mercury history.”
Ms. Ishii will co-chair the 52nd Council Meeting with elected Chairperson Mr. Philipp Knill, Council Member for Germany, elected by the rest of the constituents at the opening of the meeting.
Photos by Leila Mead/IISD