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64th Meeting of the GEF Council

26–29 June 2023 | Brasilia, Brazil

Global Environment Facility - GEF

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Council Members focused on supporting new, key environmental agreements and frameworks, reaching consensus on the establishment of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, including its programming directions, and on preparing the GEF to serve as part of the financial mechanism for the Agreement on biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ).

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In times where the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution increasingly poses a threat of existential magnitude for humanity and the planet, adequate financing for environmental protection has long been identified as a catalyst for a sustainable future. The role of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which, as a large multilateral environmental fund, acts as the financial mechanism of several critical environmental conventions, is more important than ever. The GEF’s work, which supports country-driven sustainable development initiatives around the world and generates global environmental benefits, has been increasingly attracting interest within and beyond the environmental community.

The 64th meeting of the GEF Council had a busy agenda. The Council addressed the GEF’s work programme, which will be the second one during its eighth replenishment cycle (GEF-8). GEF-8, which runs until June 2026, has attracted a record USD billion 5.33 in pledges from GEF donors. The Council further addressed the corporate budget and business plan for 2024.

In addition, the Council discussed the establishment and programming directions for the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF). The 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) requested the GEF to establish, in 2023, and until 2030 unless the COP decides otherwise, a special fund to support implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The GBFF is expected to complement the GEF-8 Programming Directions, with support focused on strengthening national-level biodiversity management, planning, policy, governance, and finance approaches needed for robust implementation of the GBF.

The Council addressed the GEF’s knowledge and learning strategy; evaluated the GEF’s strategy and portfolio in water security and management response; addressed the four-year work programme and budget of the GEF Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) and management response; discussed the updated GEF Communication and Visibility Policy; and listened to reports of the Chairperson of the GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) and of the Selection and Review Committee.

Other items in the agenda included:

  • The GEF IEO Annual Performance Report 2023 under the theme “Behavioral Change and management response”;
  • the Mekong Country Cluster and management response under the Strategic Country Cluster Evaluation (SCCE);
  • third party review follow-up on GEF minimum standards;
  • relations with conventions and other international institutions;
  • update on the negotiations on the creation of an international legally binding instrument 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);
  • transforming pledge arrears into global environmental benefits; and
  • assessing the strength of the GEF Partnership.

The Council, the GEF’s main governing body, comprises 32 members appointed by constituencies of GEF member countries (14 from developed countries, 16 from developing countries, and two from economies in transition). Council members rotate at different intervals determined by each constituency. It meets twice annually to develop, adopt, and evaluate the operational policies and programmes of the multilateral fund and the activities it finances around the world. It also reviews and approves the work programme (projects submitted for approval), making decisions by consensus.

The 64th meeting of the GEF Council took place from 26-29 June in Brasilia, Brazil. Field trips were planned to Manaus (22-25 June) and the Brasilia National Park (30 June).

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) writers for this meeting were Asterios Tsioumanis, Ph.D.; Deborah Davenport, Ph.D.; and Emma Vovk. The Photographer was Ángeles Estrada. The Video team was Tasha Goldberg and Felipe Ruiz. The Editor was Leila Mead.

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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For the 64th Meeting of the GEF Council, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Angeles Estrada.

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