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GEF-8 Draft Work Program Includes Plastic Pollution, Circular Economy

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By IISD’s SDG Knowledge Hub , October 20, 2021

Representatives from the GEF’s 184 member governments as well as observers from civil society and the GEF’s agency partners participated in a virtual discussion regarding the eighth replenishment (GEF-8) of the GEF Trust Fund. The GEF-8 investment period will span from July 2022 to June 2026.

CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodriguez informed participants that meeting the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Minamata Convention on Mercury, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and initiatives related to oceans, plastics, and more would require more funding than had been made available in GEF-7. During GEF-7, the GEF has provided approximately USD 1 billion per year for projects. 

Among other discussion topics was a review of the report from the GEF Independent Evaluation Office on GEF-7 performance, presented by IEO Director Juha Uitto. In this discussion, Uitto noted the “GEF’s flexibility to work across focal areas, the depth of its environmental knowledge, and its relationships with governments as distinguishing features.”

The GEF was created 30 years ago to support developing countries’ efforts to address priorities such as deforestation, desertification, climate change, biodiversity loss, and ozone depletion. Its scope has broadened to incorporate the root causes of environmental challenges. 

The proposed work program for GEF-8 includes an expansion of efforts to address plastic pollution, support a circular economy, and sustainably manage international waters, including areas of the ocean beyond national jurisdiction. The GEF Secretariat will take input from the discussions into the next iteration of the GEF-8 policy directions agenda.

The virtual talks took place from 29 September to 1 October 2021. The next formal meeting for GEF-8 is expected to take place in February 2022. A pledging meeting is scheduled to take place in April, with a final decision about the size and ambition of GEF-8 expected to be taken by the end of GEF-7, in June. [GEF Press Release][Documents for second meeting on GEF-8]