The 63rd meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council and the 33rd meeting of the Council of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) adopted Work Programs worth more than USD 75 million. Kicking off the GEF’s new replenishment cycle, the GEF Work Program allocates 46% of funds to the biodiversity focal area and 32.1% to chemicals and waste.

Totaling USD 64.7 in funds, which the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary of the meeting describes as “somewhat modest,” the first GEF-8 Work Program benefits 37 recipient countries, including nine least developed countries (LDCs) and 12 small island developing States (SIDS).

The Work Program includes the following program, projects, and recipient countries:

  • Yemen: Managing Biodiversity and Environmental Risks Associated with the Safer Salvage Operation in the Red Sea;
  • Regional (Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru): Accelerate Minamata Convention compliance through improved understanding and control of mercury trade in Latin America;
  • Zimbabwe: Global Opportunities for Long-term Development of the Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining Sector in Zimbabwe – GEF planetGOLD Zimbabwe;
  • Regional (Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe): Circular and Persistent Organic Pollutant-free Plastics in Africa;
  • Regional (Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen): An Inclusive Approach for Harnessing Marine Ecosystem Services and Transforming to Sustainable Blue Economy in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden;
  • Armenia: Armenia Integrated Resilient Landscape Improvement Project (AIR LIP);
  • Brazil: Conservation of the Atlantic Forest through the sustainable management of cocoa agroforestry landscapes; and
  • Algeria, Armenia, Bahrain, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Comoros, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, Jordan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Maldives, Morocco, Palau, Panama, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, the Solomon Islands, the Sudan, Suriname, Timor Leste, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe: Umbrella Programme to Support Development of Biodiversity Finance Plans.

The 33rd meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council adopted a Work Program totaling USD 10.13 million from the LDCF and USD 500,000 from the SCCF for two projects: one addressing urgent and immediate climate change adaptation priorities in Cambodia, an LDC; and the other supporting an innovative global initiative that will support resilience in the 58 countries included in the Vulnerable 20 Group (V20).

Also during the meeting, the Council endorsed the framework of implementation arrangements for the GEF Small Grants Programme in GEF-8 – the “SGP 2.0.” The expanded SGP 2.0 incorporates several new features, including: opening up SGP core implementing roles with up to two new agencies, in addition to the UN Development Programme (UNDP); creating two new civil society organization (CSO) initiatives, including a Challenge Program and a Microfinance Initiative; and eliminating the “upgrading” country policy so that core SGP resources are allocated equally across eligible countries.

Council Members also heard a presentation on the proposed framework for the GEF’s role in a financial mechanism for the internationally legally binding instrument under negotiation under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the Conservation and Sustainable use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). Council Members adopted a decision confirming that, if requested by the BBNJ Intergovernmental Conference, the Council “would welcome the GEF becoming the financial mechanism or part of the financial mechanism of the instrument.”

The 63rd Meeting of the GEF Council and 33rd Meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council convened virtually, from 28 November to 2 December 2022. [ENB Coverage of the GEF and LDCF/SCCF Council Meetings]