by IISD's SDG Knowledge Hub,

The 61st meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council and the 31st meeting of the Council of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) adopted Work Programs worth USD 210.32 million.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, GEF Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairperson, highlighted that the Work Program would contribute to efforts “to tackle environmental challenges in an integrated way,” as well as to a blue and green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GEF Work Program includes 25 projects and one program. The 43 recipient countries include ten Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and 16 small island developing States (SIDS). The program prioritizes the chemicals and waste focal area, and will deal with agricultural chemicals and their management. The GEF’s Biodiversity, Climate Change, Chemicals and Waste, Land Degradation, and International Waters focal areas are also addressed in the Program. In total, the Work Program is worth USD 190.7 million, and represents 5% of the entire GEF-7 replenishment.

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

  • Financing Agrochemical Reduction and Management (FARM) in Ecuador, India, Kenya, Lao PDR, Philippines, Uruguay, Viet Nam;
  • Implementation of the Fanga’uta Lagoon Stewardship Plan and Replication of Lessons Learned to Priority Areas in Vava’u in Tonga;
  • Strengthening institutional capacities for securing biodiversity conservation commitments in India;
  • Strengthening biodiversity governance systems for the sustainable management of living natural resources in Cabo Verde;
  • Marshall Islands Building Energy Efficiency;
  • Towards Land Degradation Neutrality for Improved Equity, Sustainability, and Resilience in Cabo Verde;
  • Sustainable Management and Restoration of Degraded Landscapes for Achieving Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in India;
  • Integrated Management and Environmentally Sound Disposal of POPs Pesticides and Mercury in Healthcare and Agricultural Sectors in Sri Lanka;
  • Improved Management of E-waste and Healthcare Waste to Reduce Emissions of Unintentionally Produced POPs (UPOPs) in Egypt;
  • Enhancing the sustainable management of Senegalo-Mauritanian Aquifer System to ensure access to water for populations facing climate change (SMAS) in Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, and Senegal;
  • Enhancing Environmental Security and Transboundary Cooperation in the Golok/Kolok River Basin, in Malaysia and Thailand;
  • Strategies, technologies and social solutions to manage bycatch in tropical Large Marine Ecosystem Fisheries in Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago;
  • Towards Sustainable and Conversion-Free Aquaculture in Indonesian Seas Large Marine Ecosystem in Indonesia and Timor Leste;
  • Using Marine Spatial Planning in the Gulf of Guinea for the implementation of Payment for Ecosystem Services and Coastal Nature-based Solutions in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Togo;
  • Implementing the Strategic Action Programme of the Drin Basin to Strengthen Transboundary Cooperation and Enable Integrated Natural Resources Management in Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, and North Macedonia;
  • Conservation and Sustainable Management of Land Resources and High Value Ecosystems in Lake Sevan Basin for Multiple Benefits in Armenia;
  • Securing Climate-Resilient Sustainable Land Management and Progress Towards Land Degradation Neutrality in the Federated States of Micronesia;
  • Sustainable food systems and integrated land/seascape management in the Marshall Islands;
  • Supporting Sustainable Inclusive Blue Economy Transformation in AIO SIDS in Cabo Verde, Comoros, Guinea-Bissau, Maldives, Mauritius, Sao Tome and Principe, and Seychelles;
  • Promoting sustainability in the agave-mezcal value chain through restoration and integrated management of biocultural landscapes in Oaxaca, Mexico;
  • Promoting Sustainable Approaches to Ecosystem Conservation in the Imatong landscape of South Sudan, UNEP;
  • Effectively Managing Networks of Marine Protected Areas in Large Marine Ecosystems in the ASEAN Region in Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand;
  • Sustainable Mercury Management in Non-ferrous Metal Industry in China;
  • Achieving a rapid decarbonization of the energy sector in Saint Kitts and Nevis;
  • Improving thermal energy efficiency in the design, manufacture and operation of industrial boilers for low-carbon micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in India; and
  • Green Finance & Sustainable Agriculture in the Dry Forest Ecoregion of Ecuador and Peru.

In addition, the 31st meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council adopted a Work Program totaling USD 19.62 million for three projects to address urgent climate change adaptation priorities in three LDCs – Malawi, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the Solomon Islands. This funding supports the following projects:

  • Integrated Economic Development and Community Resilience;
  • Transformational Adaptation for Climate Resilience in Lake Chilwa Basin of Malawi; and 
  • Co-management of climate extremes for agriculture resilience via innovative technologies for irrigation in São Tomé and Príncipe.

Also during the GEF Council meeting, leaders from the five conventions for which the GEF serves as a financial mechanism updated the Council on preparations for negotiations on biodiversity, climate change, chemical pollutants, mercury, and desertification. They discussed priorities for the conventions during the upcoming eighth replenishment period of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF-8), as well as pandemic-related delays in finalizing this input.

In addition to the decisions on the Work Program, the Council engaged in a lengthy discussion of the GEF Monitoring Report 2021 and the seventh comprehensive evaluation of GEF results and performance. Speakers highlighted that the GEF is a learning organization, and discussions focused on recommendations that should be incorporated into planning for GEF-8. The Council was also updated on the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel’s (STAP) recent work and its plans for the coming months. 

The Council meeting concluded with a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the GEF. 

A GEF Council Consultation with civil society organizations (CSOs) took place on Friday, 3 December 2021, prior to the 61st meeting of the GEF Council. The discussion focused on the theme, “GEF-CSO Consultations on Youth-led Advocacy and Solutions to the Planet’s Environmental Crisis.” 

The Council meetings, which took place online from 6-10 December 2021. The next GEF Council meeting will take place in June 2022. This meeting is expected to endorse the conclusion of negotiations on GEF-8. This next four-year programming cycle will begin in July 2022. [ENB summary of the GEF and LDCF/SCCF Council meetings]