Mesoamerican countries meet to discuss national and regional priorities for GEF-7

May 11, 2017

Sian Ka'an pyramid
Tours of the Muyil and Chunyaxché ruins and the Muyil forest are two examples of the activities offered by Sian Ka’an Community Tours, beneficiaries of the GEF Small Grants Programme.

Looking forward to the seventh replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF-7), a series of meetings are being held around the world to both share information, and get feedback from the countries themselves. This week, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela gathered in Playa del Carmen, Mexico to participate in a constituency meeting and an Expanded Constituency Workshop (ECW).

The country representatives got an update on the ongoing GEF-7 replenishment negotiations as well as training on topical issues like green finance and capacity development. The first official meeting of the 7th Replenishment of the GEF was held in Paris on March 28-30, 2017.

As host to the constituency members for 2017 CSP activities, Mexico welcomed the GEF Secretariat, country representatives, and civil society organizations to the workshop. 

“The timing of this meeting is very relevant as it coincides with the ongoing replenishment negotiations, where we face the challenge of strengthening the GEF’s capacity to meet the planet’s greatest environmental challenges,said Raúl Delgado, GEF council member for the constituency. “Mexico is committed to continuing to strengthen the successful relationship with a strategic partner such as the GEF.”

The ECW meetings are a component of the GEF’s Country Support Programme (CSP). Managed by the Secretariat, the CSP strengthens the capacity of GEF Focal Points, Convention Focal Points, civil society and GEF Agency staff to support environmental programs in their countries and constituencies through a better understanding of the GEF. 

In Mexico, countries had the chance to discuss their positions for the upcoming GEF Council Meeting (May 23-25, 2017), to enhance regional coordination, exchange knowledge and collaborate on outreach efforts. “The Country Support Program has undoubtedly been of vital importance in enriching dialogue and our countries’ capacities and knowledge through the exchange of our experiences,” continued Delgado.

The meeting in Mexico follows similar meetings that have been held this year in Swaziland, Ukraine, Brazil, Vietnam, and Seychelles. Over the coming months, additional workshops will be held in Grenada, Congo, and Tonga, among others.

Participants visited the Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve in the municipality of Tulum. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, the GEF Small Grants Programme has been working with Maya communities in the reserve for over 15 years to protect the biodiversity on their land, their cultural heritage, and improve the livelihoods of the people who live and work there. 

Since 1990, the GEF has allocated over $710 million dollars to Mexico. This amount has been multiplied to more than $5.3 billion dollars from national and global co-financing sources. With these resources, Mexico has successfully implemented over a hundred projects to help strengthen their environmental policy. The National System for Natural Protected Areas, for example, not only preserves the country’s natural and cultural heritage, but also improves the quality of life of those who reside in protected areas. The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor is a successful regional project that protects the natural environment of species whose habitats have little to do with national borders. The assistance and technical guidance provided by GEF in the preparation of national project portfolios has been valuable to Mexico in regards to their international commitments, such as the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, ratified by Mexico in 2016.

Read this story in Spanish here.