Norway on 25 years of GEF

September 9, 2016

Photo by Petter Foss
Photo by Petter Foss

By Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway

The establishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was an important milestone for efforts to promote global environmental protection. It has a unique role in the global environment architecture. Norway supported the establishment of the GEF and still regards it as highly relevant for future efforts. Indeed the fact that the GEF is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year is testimony to its ability to remain relevant in a time when new initiatives are constantly being launched.

Over a period that has seen tremendous change, the GEF has demonstrated its ability to address and adapt to new challenges in the vast domain of environmental issues. The experience the GEF has gained, coupled with its mandate to operate as a financing mechanism for the main environmental conventions, sets it apart from other instruments.

Today, however, there are many instruments that are focusing on sustainable investment in general, and on reducing emissions in particular. It is therefore crucial that the GEF and these other instruments collaborate closely to ensure complementarity, cost-effectiveness and the greatest possible impact. We see that the GEF is reaching out and building partnerships. The GEF has also strengthened its engagement with the private sector, and it can further shape the direction and scale of private sector engagement in green investment in the process towards the 7th replenishment. 

The Sustainable Development Goals provide a holistic framework with the potential to forge greater political coherence both in individual countries and internationally. The SDGs promote global understanding of the way that the natural resource base and ecosystem services relate to our economic and social aspirations. They also highlight the need for instruments, such as the GEF, that translate this understanding into action. Greater coherence will mean greater efficiency as policies become mutually reinforcing rather than cancelling each other out. We value the willingness of the GEF to improve its own effectiveness through comprehensive evaluations.

Norway will continue to support the GEF in communicating the key role it plays in enabling countries to deliver not only on the SDGs, but also on their nationally determined emissions reductions under the Paris Agreement. It is vital to underline the fact that these goals and targets can only be met if environment and climate dimensions are included in the design of projects, programmes and policies from the outset.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to commend the GEF for its important work and CEO Naoko Ishii for her leadership.