Donors pledge record $4.25 billion for environmental sustainability in developing countries
Paris/Washington, D.C., May 12, 2010 – The world’s largest public environmental fund, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), received a record boost from donor countries today with more than 30 nations pledging US $4.25 billion in what will be the first significant multilateral step toward the commitments in Copenhagen on climate change and in other key international environmental agreements. The US$ 4.25 billion pledged for the next four years is the largest ever increase in funding for the GEF.
“This record replenishment, representing a 52% increase in new resources provided by donors is a testimony to the international donor community’s commitment to the environmental agenda,” said Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Vice President for Concessional Finance and Global Partnerships and Co-Chair of the GEF-5 replenishment negotiations. “The GEF’s comprehensive focus, supporting climate change, biodiversity and other critical environmental areas, coupled with its ability to deliver funding through multilateral development banks and the UN family, is what makes it a uniquely important facility,” he added.
The GEF will channel these new resources toward measurable results in six key environmental focal areas: climate change, biodiversity, international waters, land degradation, persistent organic pollutants, mercury and the ozone layer. Over the next four years the GEF will direct funds to:
- lower CO2 emissions;
- expand sustainable management of protected areas and critical landscapes;
- strengthen multi-state cooperation on trans-boundary water systems management;
- reduce persistent organic pollutants in land and water; reduce mercury emissions,
- expand and protect the Earth’s forest cover.
The GEF will also implement a package of policy and operational reforms to give recipient countries greater ownership in funding choices.
During the meeting, the GEF Participants expressed satisfaction with the strong GEF replenishment, which will meet obligations under several international agreements for which the GEF serves as a financial mechanism, including the Climate Change Convention, the Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Desertification and Ozone Conventions and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“This welcome increase in resources for the financial mechanism of the Convention on Biological Diversity should kick off the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the convention in Nagoya, Japan this October on a positive note,” noted Monique Barbut, CEO of the GEF Secretariat and Co-Chair of the replenishment negotiations. “It is now the GEF’s responsibility to transform these resources into concrete results on the ground. We are committed to supporting policy reforms for a stronger GEF, with a focus on recipient country ownership, more efficient implementation, and greater responsiveness and accountability to the UN Conventions,” she added.
“This replenishment is the first tangible confirmation of the financial commitments made in Copenhagen last December, including some of the Fast-Start Financing, in particular, through the creation of a new initiative inside the GEF linked to sustainable forest management-REDD Plus,” explained Monique Barbut. Approximately $1.35 billion will be programmed for the climate change focal area.
About the Global Environment Facility (GEF)
The GEF has been replenished four times since its inception in 1991: $2.02 billion in 1994, $2.75 billion in 1998, $2.92 billion in 2002, and $3.13 billion in 2006. The GEF unites 181 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society, and the private sector to address global environmental issues in the context of national sustainable development. Both developed and developing countries participate in the GEF’s governing structure.
An independently operated, international financial facility, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. GEF funding is channeled to recipient countries through a variety agencies, including multilateral development banks, such as the World Bank, and UN agencies.
The GEF also is the Secretariat for the Least Developed Countries and Special Climate Change Funds, which help some of the world’s most vulnerable populations to meet development challenges associated with climate change, including adaptation and transfer of technology.
To date, the GEF has provided $8.7 billion in grants for more than 2,400 environmental projects in over 165 developing countries and emerging economies.