Restoring and protecting nature is one of the greatest strategies for tackling climate change, but not just for the obvious reason that it helps remove carbon from the atmosphere. Forests, wetlands, and other ecosystems also play a vital role as buffers against extreme weather, protecting houses, crops, water supplies, and crucial infrastructure.
Over Naoko Ishii’s eight years as CEO and Chairperson, the Global Environment Facility has dramatically shifted its focus to tackle the root causes of environmental degradation instead of just their symptoms.
As the former Japanese Deputy Finance Minister nears the end of her tenure, several of the GEF’s key partners came together to discuss how the international community can learn from and build on this drive for systems change at a critical time for a world in crisis.
The world has ground to a halt in ways few could have predicted, due to the impact of COVID-19 - a pandemic like no other in several decades. For many, COVID represents the first global crisis that they have ever had to experience in their daily life.
The necessary policies and plans formulated by global leaders and organizations are complemented by the actions of local communities, who have taken the initiative and responded to this global health and humanitarian crisis and its devastating effects.
Elodia Castillo Vásquez is the Mayor of the Mayan town of Ch'orti, in Guatemala, where the community is working with support from the GEF Small Grants Programme to safeguard water sources, plant trees, improve soil quality, and help natural ecosystems regenerate. In an interview, she reflected on the links between social justice and environmental stewardship, and shared how the sustainable management of natural resources is helping bolster livelihoods in her community.
Since 2008, the GEF and its Partner Agencies have successfully used a wide array of non-grant instruments such as debt, equity and guarantees to attract private sector investment and deliver global environmental benefits beyond business as usual. In GEF-6, the Non-Grant Instrument Pilot resulted in 11 innovative projects that included USD 99.5 million in GEF funding while attracting USD 1.79 billion in co-financing through a balanced regional distribution addressing fundamental drivers of global environmental degradation.
The 2019 Year in Review for The Restoration Initiative (TRI) details progress and stories from the first year of its implementation. With support from the GEF, this pathbreaking program led by the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is supporting ten Asian and African countries in achieving shared restoration goals.
The Global Environment Facility is a founding donor of the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), which was formed in 2000 to champion biodiversity by delivering the financial resources of global donors to civil society groups, who then carry out the conservation work themselves.