Editor's note: This story is part of the publication produced for the 25th Anniversary of the Global Environment Facility. The publication is a compilation of contributions from across the GEF partnership; it includes stories and guest articles that have being submitted by countries, partner organizations and dignitaries from around the world.
CAF, the Development Bank of Latin America, has the promotion of sustainable development and the integration of its member countries as strategic pillars. CAF and the GEF share a key role in the environmental protection of the region. This is done through co-financing sustainable development projects that generate regional and global environmental benefits as well as national initiatives to strengthen compliance with international environmental commitments in the framework of the UN.
CAF, like the GEF, recognizes that sustainable development is not attainable solely through economic growth, but that an equation must also promote the conservation of natural capital, facilitating migration to economies that are low-carbon and resilient to climate change, while achieving the inclusive participation of stakeholders.
During its 25 years, the GEF has made a substantial contribution to environmental as well as financial management. It is an example of how to achieve environmental objectives with high technical and administrative standards in a way that the limited available resources are effectively aimed at producing qualitative transformation that benefits the environment. The GEF has been instrumental in increasing global awareness and generating international agendas to improve understanding of the consequences of today’s environmental impacts on ecosystems and their biodiversity.
CAF, in its relationship with the GEF, understands that one of the main environmental contributions for sustainable productive transformation points to the recognition of models for the sustainable use of natural capital and green businesses. In this regard, the GEF is a key partner for promoting such models as Biotrade, obtaining significant results that benefit the conservation of resources and the integration of communities at the base of the pyramid from economically viable models. The implementation of the Andean Biotrade Project (2011-2015) demonstrated the feasibility of integrating value chains of native biodiversity resources from actors considered vulnerable who are generally not included in business models, while at the same time showing that financing can really have a catalytic role in supporting productive transformation and conservation through knowledge and innovation.
GEF has challenges posed by a world with dynamic scenarios in which agencies like CAF are willing to support. Symmetrical dialogue between sustainable development actors and the valuation of traditional knowledge for the conservation of natural resources are driving forces that enhance resilience to the impact of climate change and also promote integration in action. At the same time, there is the challenge of generating access to co-financing where public and private sectors seek to achieve global and local environmental objectives in mutual cooperation schemes while building strategic alliances for a healthy and sustainable common space.