The Global Environment Facility’s member countries have approved $203 million in high-impact climate adaptation investment for Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, and other countries needing to reinforce their food systems, water resources, and warning systems as a result of growing climate change risks.
Meeting in Washington DC, the Council of the GEF-managed Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) agreed to fund 21 projects that build on years of support for critical initiatives that are helping countries address their most urgent adaptation priorities in a way that helps local communities, strengthens policy frameworks, and advances environmental goals for the long term.
It is one of the largest work programs in the more than two-decade history of the LDCF and SCCF, and comes two months after nine donor governments announced new contributions to the unique climate adaptation funds at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP28 in Dubai.
The GEF is one of the financial mechanisms of the UNFCCC and has since the Paris Agreement been mobilizing and distributing resources to meet the urgent and specific climate adaptation needs of Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, and other developing countries, following guidance and decisions from parties to the UN climate convention.
Since the commitment of the international community at COP26 in 2021 to double climate adaptation finance by 2025, the GEF has doubled the per-country cap to $20 million for each Least Developed Country accessing the LDCF and $3 million for non-LDC Small Island Developing States accessing the SCCF through its dedicated funding window.
“We are leveling up and quickly deploying donor funding to meet urgent climate adaptation needs, and drawing on our extensive experience to support investments that make direct and meaningful contributions to the resilience of affected people and places,” said Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, GEF CEO and Chairperson.
“The latest work program of the LDCF and SCCF includes important support for the agriculture, fisheries, food security, and water sectors, and includes vital investments in early warning systems and climate information services that are essential to planning and prosperity. We will continue to provide this targeted support where it is most needed thanks to the contributions of our member countries.”
The latest LDCF- and SCCF-funded projects approved by the Council span sectors including agriculture, fisheries, food security, tourism, and water, and also support access to climate information services, early warning systems, and sustainable finance.
They were designed to mobilize additional adaptation finance through multilateral development banks, international financial institutions, and the Green Climate Fund. Nearly half of the projects were co-financed by these partners, and four projects were also financed by the GEF Trust Fund, as part of its $918 million work program approved earlier this week.
The LDCF is the only multilateral fund that focuses exclusively on the unique climate adaptation needs of Least Developed Countries. To date, the LDCF has financed more than 400 projects and programs with nearly $2 billion in grants that have benefited more than 65 million people and strengthened the management of more than 11.4 million hectares of land for climate resilience.
The SCCF helps developing countries address the negative impacts of climate change through innovation, technology transfer, and private sector engagement. It also offers targeted support to Small Island Developing States, given their specific climate adaptation needs. To date, the SCCF has provided $393 million in grants for 100 projects that have benefited approximately 9 million people and helped bring more than 5 million hectares of land under more sustainable management.
The work program approved by the LDCF/SCCF Council includes $180 million for LDCF projects and $23 million for SCCF projects. Their combined work program includes support for 16 Least Developed Countries and eight Small Island Developing States, and will collectively improve the resilience of more than 4.2 million people, improve the climate-resilient management of nearly 1.6 million hectares of land and 1.9 million hectares of coastal and marine areas, support the development of 273 climate adaptation plans and policies, and build the adaptation capacity of more than 1,400 private sector and social enterprises.
During the LDCF/SCCF meeting, Council members also received a report on the performance, results, and lessons learned from the portfolio of projects and programs financed under the LDCF and SCCF since their inception in 2001, and reviewed workshops and other support to countries about programming and ensuring impact from the use of LDCF and SCCF resources.
Evans Davie Njewa, Chair of the LDC Group and Chief Environment Officer at the Environmental Affairs Department of Malawi, welcomed the comprehensive approach and results and stressed the important role of the LDCF in particular as the “first choice” among Least Developed Countries because of its unique features.
“The LDCF and the SCCF are like critical life ropes for LDCs and our 1.1 billion people, in helping us to prepare for and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. My own country, Malawi, has benefitted from valuable LDCF support of more than $40 million in our adaptation efforts and we are ready to do much more,” Njewa said.
“Collectively, as the international community, we need to ensure that both the LDCF and SCCF are more strongly and predictably resourced than ever and target the greatest climate adaptation impact possible. In doing so, we will be supporting shared resilience, opportunity, and prosperity for our world the planet Earth.”
Promoting Social and Ecological Resilience in Land-Water-Food systems in Blue Economy Sectors in Benin - This project aims to enhance the resilience of the fisheries sector to climate change. It seeks to revitalize aquatic ecosystems, manage coastal and marine areas, engage the private sector, and support community-centered initiatives. Implementing agency: AfDB
Program to strengthen smallholder resilience to climate change - This initiative aims to bolster the agriculture sector in Burkina Faso through improved governance and greater investments in sustainable products and processes for greater climate adaptation. Implementing agency: IFAD
Scaling up nature-based solutions for climate resilience and land restoration across Burundi’s fragile colline landscapes - This project will scale up integrated landscape management and improve the resilience of fragile communities in the hills of Burundi. The multi-sector rural development project focuses on at-risk landscapes and watersheds. Implementing agency: World Bank
Building climate resilience of communities in Cambodia’s protected landscapes: biodiversity-friendly crop-livestock systems for adaptation - This program aims to strengthen the climate resilience of local communities and ecosystems in protected landscapes in Cambodia, with a focus on the Boeung Per Wildlife Sanctuary and Prey Lang Wildlife Sanctuary. Implementing agency: FAO
Livestock support for climate change adaptation and enhanced resilience project in Central African Republic - This project aims to improve agriculture and livestock systems in eight prefectures in Central African Republic, aiming to improve access to financial services to help transition to climate-resilient practices. Implementing agency: IFAD
Scaling up the Green Legacy Initiative best practices to enhance the climate resilience of smallholder farmers and disadvantaged groups in Ethiopia - This project aims to strengthen climate resilience of Ethiopia’s midland and highland communities through ecosystem-based adaptation. It will complement the government’s Green Legacy Initiative. Implementing agency: UNEP
Climate change adaptation in lowlands of Lao PDR - The project aims to strengthen the climate resilience of lowland communities through nature-based adaptation measures at the landscape and watershed levels, and in agrifood systems. This will include collaboration with the Green Climate Fund on weather information systems for farmers. Implementing agency: FAO
Nature-based solutions for increased climate resilience in vulnerable rural communities of Lesotho - This project will incorporate nature-based solutions into policy and planning at the community level, with benefits for climate change resilience, biodiversity, and land health. Implementing agency: IUCN
Strengthening agricultural resilience through transformational livelihood adaptation in Liberia - This project will build climate resilience in rural communities in Liberia, with a focus on the agricultural, fisheries, and ecotourism sectors. It will support ecosystem restoration, agricultural productivity, and private sector engagement around climate-resilient livelihoods. Implementing agency: UNDP
Championing local adaptation for productive ecosystems and enhanced resilience (CLAP for Resilience) - This aims to support climate adaptation of communities in Malawi through integrated watershed-based approaches to sustainable agriculture. It will focus on the Bua River landscape in the country’s central region of Malawi. Implementing agency: UNDP
Integrated management of the doumeraie of the Goulbi N’kaba watershed and adjacent ecosystems (Maradi region) - The objective of this project is to improve the climate resilience of rural populations in Niger through the restoration and integrated management of the Goulbi N’Kaba wadi and adjacent ecosystems. Implementing agency: FAO
Building community resilience and transforming livelihoods through systems-based adaptation and integrated resource management in Rwanda’s Southern Province - This project will introduce an integrated approach to landscape management for strengthened food and livelihood security, in partnership with the private sector and with the Green Climate Fund. Implementing agency: UNDP
Strengthening adaptation through institution building and resilient livelihoods in South Sudanese agro-pastoral landscapes - This project will focus on improved natural resources management in South Sudan, including through sustainable agriculture and community engagement. Implementing agency: IFAD
Climate adaptation and resilience enhancement for South Sudan - The project will promote climate adaptation in the agricultural sector through investments in nature-based solutions, integrated land use planning, and climate information services. It will include focused engagement with farmers and pastoralists. Implementing agency: FAO
Sustainable Management of Ecosystems in Miombo Ecoregions of Zambia – This project aims to restore and sustainably manage forest ecosystems and agro-pastoral landscapes in Zambia. It will include work on land rehabilitation, biodiversity conservation, community-based adaptation solutions, and climate risk insurance products for smallholders. Implementing agency: World Bank
Barbados - Accelerating transition to climate-resilient agrifood systems – This project aims to increase the availability and use of agro-meteorological data in the agrifood sector in Barbados, and provide training in practices such as rainwater harvesting, greenhouse farming, solar powered irrigation, and hydroponics. Implementing agency: FAO
Land Degradation Neutrality for Increased Resilience to Climate Change in Dominican Republic - This project seeks to build resilience in the Dominican Republic through land restoration with endemic species and investments in improved drought and flood risk management, early warning systems, and diversified agricultural value chains. Implementing agency: FAO
A holistic approach to food systems resilience and adaptation in the Maldives - This project will build climate resilience in agriculture and fisheries on five atolls. It will support integrated food system approaches and whole-island approaches to improve food security. Implementing agency: FAO
Climate change resilience in the Caribbean fisheries sector - This project targets fishing communities in Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago. It will support the adoption of climate- and disaster-resilient practices. Implementing agency: FAO
About the Least Developed Countries Fund
The GEF-managed Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) is the only multilateral fund that focuses exclusively on the unique climate adaptation needs of Least Developed Countries. LDCF provides support in several priority areas for adaptation including agriculture, water, food, health, nature-based solutions, infrastructure, and climate information services. It builds institutional capacity for adaptation planning, scaling up finance, engaging the private sector, and adopting a whole-of-society approach for inclusive adaptation. The LDCF has financed 408 projects and programs with nearly $2 billion in grants. This has directly benefited more than 65 million people and strengthened the management of more than 11.4 million hectares of land for climate resilience.
About the Special Climate Change Fund
The GEF-managed Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) helps developing countries address the negative impacts of climate change through innovation, technology transfer, and private sector engagement. It also offers targeted support to Small Island Developing States, given their specific climate adaptation needs. The SCCF has provided $393 million in grants for 100 projects related to climate-resilient agriculture value chains, improved water management, integrated coastal management, climate risk insurance, nature-based solutions, and more. These initiatives have benefited approximately 9 million people and helped bring more than 5 million hectares of land under more sustainable management and 1.8 million hectares of coastal and marine areas.