ISTANBUL, Turkey, April 9, 2013 - In the 10th session of the United Nations Forum on Forests, Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii announced that financial support from the GEF for forest management programs has reached the half a billion US Dollar mark in the GEF-5 cycle.
Recent achievements of the GEF-funded portfolio linked to the protection of all types of forests have been highlighted in several documents presented to the parties attending UNFF10, attesting to the effectiveness with which GEF-supported programs are delivering multiple benefits from forest investments in developing countries addressing long-term sustainability goals.
Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF, addressing the High Level Plenary of the 10th United Nations Forum on Forests, Istanbul, Turkey, April 8, 2013
“I see the generation of multiple benefits from forests as a central mandate of the GEF, one that has been embraced by both donor and recipient countries” said Ishii in her address to the UNFF’s high-level plenary. “The GEF Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and REDD+ funding program has already achieved considerable success, with US$492 million programmed in GEF grants and US$3.7 billion in co-finance secured for projects covering 55 countries since 2010.”
Each of the three Rio Conventions framing international policy on Biodiversity, Climate Change, and Desertification, have involved the GEF in efforts to sustain the value of forests. This has placed the GEF in a unique position to build on existing synergies and inter-linkages through funding initiatives that advance sustainable management of all types of forests. This approach has made GEF financing increasingly relevant to the framework of the non-legally binding instrument. Ishii emphasized the need to recognize forests in national sustainable development agendas, and encouraged governments to promote land use policies that tackle the principal drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
“This opportunity is not open-ended. Delay will result in further deforestation and degradation, limit our development choices, and endanger the security of millions of people dependent on forests for their livelihoods. For solutions, we must build consensus among those involved in the management of forests, at all levels,” said Naoko Ishii.
The challenge is how to move away from dealing with the problem of forest loss only through short-term action toward addressing long-term sustainability goals. Concluding, Naoko Ishii highlighted her vision of the central role of the GEF in supporting sustainable forest management as part of a wider framework for sustainable development.
About the Global Environment Facility
The GEF unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations (CSOs), and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.
Since 1991, the GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $11.5 billion in grants and leveraging $57 billion in co-financing for over 3,215 projects in over 165 countries. Through its Small Grants Programme (SGP), the GEF has also made more than 16,030 small grants directly to civil society and community based organizations, totaling $653.2 million.
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