In December 2015, global leaders reached an unprecedented agreement on climate change at the twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris. The GEF will serve the Paris Agreement reached by 195 nations that agreed to keep global warming well below 2°C. As part of the Agreement, Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have agreed to establish a Capacity-Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT). The CBIT will aim to strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of developing countries to meet the enhanced transparency requirements in the Paris Agreement, leading up to 2020 and beyond. Read more +
This will put the world on a path to eliminating carbon from the global economy by the second half of the century. Taking action on climate change means continuously lowering greenhouse gas emissions through mitigating the worst impacts, and helping communities adapt to unavoidable changes. It also means embracing the potential of the green economy — a more sustainable way of life that balances economic, social and environmental priorities.
We can mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a variety of ways. These include promoting greater energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, as well as building more sustainable urban transport. Since land, forests and oceans store carbon, we also need to adopt smarter ways to preserve and restore these “carbon sinks.” Adaptation helps people cope with increased risks to their lives and livelihoods from a changing climate. Global warming is already affecting weather patterns, water resources, crop yields and marine ecosystems. The poor, who are least able to cope, are the hardest hit. Increasingly, policymakers recognize the need to integrate climate-resilient strategies into long-term development programs.
What We Do
The shift to a low-carbon economy will take creative thinking and innovative financing. Based on our quarter century of experience and wide network of partners, the GEF is well-placed to support the transformation.
The GEF is an operating entity of the financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). As such, our resources are a catalyst for large-scale investments in the low-carbon economy and building greater resilience.
We invest in energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable transport and climate-smart agriculture to support mitigation. Read more +
Through adaptation activities, we reduce the vulnerability of people, livelihoods, physical assets and natural systems to the adverse effects of climate change. Our support touches key sectors, including agriculture, water resources management, infrastructure and health. We also help countries develop adaptation strategies, and integrate them into broader policy.
It will take trillions of dollars per year to build a low-carbon world. The sheer scale of the challenge for a dramatic re-thinking of global finance flows through the use of blended finance.
Blended finance combines the power of development finance and private capital to reduce risks and increase the opportunities for private investors. It also helps rally partners from different sectors around an issue. Our experience has shown it gives private investors an extra incentive to take action on climate change.
By the end of 2015, the GEF had invested in 1,000 climate mitigation projects, including more than 300 renewable energy projects and more than 200 energy efficiency projects. We had funded 380 projects that support sustainable forest management. We had helped 46 countries develop national plans to reduce their emissions. And we had invested at least US$1.3 billion to help communities in the developing world adapt to climate change.
Since the GEF is a catalyst for action, the contribution of other partners is an important way to measure our impact. Our US$4.2 billion in more than 1,000 mitigation investments, for example, generated $38.3 billion from other partners.
GEF-funded projects have had a tangible impact on climate change:
- Reducing the vulnerability of almost 17 million people in more than 130 countries
- Protecting carbon sinks and biodiversity in 3,300 protected areas covering 860 million ha, an area larger than Brazil.
- Improving sustainable land management in 350 million ha of productive landscapes and seascapes
- Removing almost 600 million tonnes of greenhouse gases through renewable energy projects and over 400 million tonnes through energy efficiency projects.
The GEF in action: Building resilience in the Andes - In the face of melting glaciers in the tropical Andes of South America, the GEF is helping strengthen the resilience of local ecosystems and economies. The project helped generate tools to assess the effects of glacier retreat and integrate climate change considerations into strategic planning. It also addressed pressing development issues related to water supply or irrigation in Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.
Climate Mitigation Projects
To help communities to adapt to climate change
Additional resources mobilized by $4.2 billion in GEF grants for mitigation