Park in Lujiazui financial center, Shanghai, China

Building with nature for a better climate

Nature finally got its rightful place within climate negotiations at COP26 in November. It was the first time – despite the well-established links between the climate and biodiversity crises – that we saw so much emphasis at an international summit on the positive role that nature can play in…
Residents of Freetown, Sierra Leone, show off tree planters

#FreetownTheTreeTown campaign: Using digital tools to encourage tree cultivation in cities

Freetown, located at the seaward tip of a heavily forested, mountainous peninsula, is the capital of Sierra Leone, dominating its urban, economic, and social landscape. Each year, more than 100,000 people in search of employment move to the city, and the urban fringes continue to push deeper into…
Dense cityscape of Hong Kong highrise buildings

How COVID-19 can steer city leadership on sustainability

Cities are at the heart of the pandemic impact and response, and city leaders managing through the COVID-19 crisis have demonstrated commitment to integration, innovation, and partnership. GEF Cities Lead Aloke Barnwal makes the case that this approach will be critical to the future sustainability…
A row of bicycles from EcoBici in the Reforma Avenue in Mexico City

The bicycle can propel us towards a more sustainable future post-pandemic

During the coronavirus pandemic, the bicycle is an unmatched rival to permit a more hygienic way to move around, contribute to a sustainable recovery of the economy, and support the transformation of urban transport towards decarbonization. It is necessary to continue reclaiming the streets and…

Cities can be innovation hubs for climate and nature

Instead of being seen as pressure points for the environment, cities could be planned as innovation hubs National governments must lead the move towards inclusive and sustainable cities, through initiatives such as carbon pricing and tax policies We are in the age of urbanization. For the first…
Oslo harbor at the Aker Brygge neighbourhood in Oslo

Can cities change the world through what they eat?

Shifting to healthier and more sustainable diets will benefit people and the planet – and build prosperity Three years ago, our city of Oslo was the first to introduce a “climate budget”. The city government budgets its emissions like it budgets its money. Long-term political promises become…
Tractor spraying pesticides on vegetable field with sprayer at spring. Photo: Fotokostic/Shutterstock.

Fixing the food system: how cities can truly feed the world

Urban areas can change the broken food system that causes ill-health and environmental degradation Over half of the world’s 7.7 billion people live in towns and cities. By 2050, more than two thirds of them will do so. Materials, waste, emissions, knowledge and influence follow this population…
The Impact Programs on Food Systems, Land Use, and Restoration; Sustainable Cities; and Sustainable Forest Management collectively address key drivers of environmental degradation and offer the potential for the GEF to contribute to systemic change. Photo: Oliver S./Shutterstock.

Supporting innovation for transformation: GEF’s new Impact Programs to tackle the drivers of environmental degradation in an integrated way

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) faces a demanding yet seemingly attainable task: to help countries foster a transformation in how individuals, communities, and businesses use and protect the natural word. But nothing less will suffice if we are to meet pressing environmental challenges and…
Bogota, Colombia from a distance. Photo: Shutterstock

The GEF is becoming a leading champion for sustainable cities, and that matters

This autumn, the IPCC will publish its much-awaited special report on global warming of 1.5 degrees centigrade. For the first time, the world will have a clear scientific view of the rate and scale of emissions reduction is required if we are to avoid runaway climate change. It is expected to set…
Mobike dockless bikeshare bicycle near bike path in China. Photo: tangxn/Shutterstock.

Bike-sharing data and cities: lessons from China's experience

Digital technologies have spread rapidly in much of the developing world. However, the development and environmental benefits from using digital technologies are yet to be fully captured. The GEF launched the Sustainable Cities Integrated Approach Pilot in 2015. A key characteristic of the program…

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