Climate change mitigation means reducing the net release of greenhouse gas emissions that are warming our planet. The Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the urgency of needed climate actions: global emissions will have to decline by 43% from 2019 by 2030, and rapidly decrease to net-zero by 2050 if we are to stay within the safety limits established by the Paris Agreement.
However, the 2023 NDC Synthesis Report prepared by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat shows that while countries have increased individual levels of ambition to reduce emissions, the combined impact still falls short of the emission reduction cuts necessary to meet the Paris Agreement goals.
Achieving net-zero objectives will require a whole-of-economy and whole-of-government strategy, across all sectors and actors. Rapid emissions decline from power generation, transportation, and from the industrial sector will have to be coupled with significant transformations in the way we manage land, forests, coastlines, and wetlands, which currently account for about a quarter of global carbon emissions.
The GEF at UNFCCC COP28
The 2023 UN Climate Change Conference will take place Nov. 30 to Dec. 12, 2023 in Dubai, UAE.
The GEF will co-host a pavilion at COP28 with the Adaptation Fund, Climate Investment Funds, and Green Climate Fund, focusing on the importance of #Finance4Climate and emphasizing collaboration and coordination between the multilateral funds, including the GEF’s Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund.
What We Do
Climate change affects virtually all natural and socio-economic systems. The interactions between climate change and biodiversity, land degradation, forests, chemicals and waste, and international waters point to the importance of recognizing climate change implications in everything we do.
As the largest multilateral fund focusing on global environmental issues, the GEF has the unique ability to support integrated solutions with systems thinking that look to generate multiple global environmental benefits across several UN Conventions, improving efficiency and reducing trade-offs and duplication. It is also well placed to take risks on innovative and early-stage business models and technologies, using predictable grant funding.
The GEF-8 climate change mitigation strategy aims to support developing countries to make transformational shifts towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development pathways, supporting the objectives of the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement. Within the evolving landscape of climate finance, the strategy is designed to be as complementary as possible to other sources of climate finance. This is evident for instance through the collaboration with the Green Climate Fund, with which we have established a Long-Term Vision for Complementarity, Coherence and Collaboration.
Building on the GEF's long-standing track record of driving innovation and fostering enabling conditions, the strategy also aims at promoting private sector engagement and increased investment in low-carbon technologies and nature-based solutions with high mitigation potential. This is done by combining technical assistance and investments, to pilot innovative business models, financial mechanisms, supportive policies regulations, strategies and institutional arrangements, in order to trigger systemic transformations while creating or expanding markets for green products and services, generating jobs, and supporting economic growth. Projects will also promote gender-responsive approaches and decision-making built on inclusive stakeholder consultations and aim to empower women and girls in the implementation of the identified solutions and in the promotion of sustainable income generating opportunities.
To achieve the ambitious goal of reducing (or avoiding) emissions of greenhouse gases equivalent to at least 1.8 billion tons of CO2, the mitigation strategy hinges upon two fundamental pillars:
Pillar I. Promoting innovation, technology development and transfer, and enabling policies for mitigation options with systemic impacts: Four entry points have been prioritized for GEF-8 support in the climate mitigation area, in consideration of their innovative and transformative nature and complementary to other financial mechanisms:
- Accelerating the efficient use of energy and materials
- Enabling the transition to decarbonized power systems
- Scaling up zero-emission mobility of people and goods
- Promoting nature-based solutions with high mitigation potential
Pillar II. Fostering enabling conditions to mainstream mitigation concerns into sustainable development strategies: The GEF continues to address the need for enabling conditions to mainstream climate change concerns into the national planning and development agenda through sound data, analysis, and policy frameworks. These activities are supported under two main objectives:
- Supporting capacity-building needs for transparency under the Paris Agreement through the Capacity-building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT)
- Supporting relevant UN Convention obligations and enabling activities, such as National Communications and Biennial Transparency Reports
GEF Global Program to Support Electric Mobility
Implemented in collaboration with leading international organizations and partners from the private sector, finance and academia, this program has been developed to support low- and middle- income countries around the world with the shift to electric mobility. Explore the e-Mobility Toolbox >>
GEF Africa Minigrids Program
This technical assistance program aims to to support access to clean energy by increasing the financial viability, and promoting scaled up commercial investment, in low-carbon minigrids in Africa, with a focus on cost reduction levers and innovative business models. Explore the program website >>
GEF Global Cleantech Innovation Programme
This program aims to bring about transformative change in low- and middle-income countries by addressing market and policy shortcomings that prevent the emergence, deployment, and adoption of cleantech solutions in the long term, thus enabling countries to leapfrog to greener economies. Explore the program website >>
GEF-8 Integrated Programs
The Integrated Programs aim to generate climate change outcomes with systemic impacts, and strengthen interaction and integration between climate change mitigation and the other GEF focal areas. Six of the 11 GEF-8 cross-cutting Integrated Programs will provide key climate contributions:
In the GEF’s first 30 years, we have provided at least $7.6 billion and leveraged $60.6 billion with other partners for more than 1,100 mitigation projects and programs in over 160 countries. These investments are expected to contribute 9.5 billion metric tons of direct and indirect greenhouse gas emission reductions over time. This includes:
- More than $2.7 billion for 550 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, contributing to 520 million metric tons of CO2 equivalents of reduction
- 650 projects supporting sustainable forest management
- Over 180 million hectares under sustainable land management, benefiting more than 90 million smallholders
- Protecting carbon sinks and biodiversity in over 4,000 protected areas covering 2,500 million hectares
- Over 650 projects with private sector co-financing, more than 141 of which included equity, loans or risk-mitigation instruments, leveraging an average co-financing ratio of 1:9
- Over $600 million in enabling activities, including support for 210 Biennial Update Reports, 80 Biennial Transparency Reports, and 531 National Communications
- Support to 88 countries to build institutional and technical capacity for enhanced transparency with $146 million through the CBIT
The GEF is continuing to provide nimble support to enable developing countries to implement their climate change mitigation priorities, in support of a carbon-neutral, nature-positive, pollution-free, and climate-resilient future.
The GEF has been collaborating closely with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through coordinated engagement, including joint country dialogues and programming. The GEF-GCF partnership has been enhanced through the launch and implementation of the Long-Term Vision of Complementarity, including identification of major initiatives, building on the successful GEF-GCF investments on the new phase of the Great Green Wall initiative, and the facilitation of national investment planning in five countries. An annual report on the progress made with the implementation of the LTV is presented to the GEF Council each June. Building on this partnership, increased collaboration with other climate funds will be explored in the GEF-8 period to continue to advance the global climate action agenda.
GEF-8 projects and programs aim to work more closely with the private sector on climate change mitigation, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, entrepreneurs, energy suppliers and distributors, vehicle manufacturers, industrial producers and manufacturers, farmers and producers, and financial institutions, among others. Our work will focus on translating the ambition of net-zero commitments into real-economy emissions reductions. In addition, we will work with businesses ready to align with deep decarbonization targets in areas that can transform energy, transport, and land-use systems.
As an operating mechanism of the financial mechanism of the UNFCCC, the GEF is engaged in the UNFCCC process to help raise the level of climate ambition and support ongoing action and progress. An annual report of the GEF to the UNFCCC is submitted in advance of the meetings of the Conference of the Parties.