On Thursday, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, meeting as the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF)/Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) Council, approved one of the largest LDCF/SCCF work programs ever. They also met as the first Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) Council and approved GBFF’s Resource Allocation Policy. At the opening of the GBFF Council, Spain announced a pledge of EUR 10 million.
In his opening remarks to the LDCF/SCCF Council, GEF CEO and Council Co-Chair Carlos Manuel Rodríguez emphasized the importance of these two GEF adaptation funds to build resilience and adaptation in the world’s most vulnerable countries. Expressing satisfaction with recent donor pledges at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 28 and the size of the new LDCF/SCCF Work Program, he urged more support for the SCCF innovation and technology transfer window.
Via video remarks to the Council, UNFCCC LDC Group Chair Evans Davie Njewa expressed his appreciation for the recent increased donor support for the LDCF, stressing the need for even more resources as the needs of least developed countries (LDCs) are much greater. He emphasized that “we need to ensure both LDCF and SCCF are fully supported.”
The Work Program approved by the Council totals USD 203.4 million for 21 projects, to address urgent climate change adaptation priorities in 16 LDCs and eight non-LDC small island developing States (SIDS). The Work Program includes one multi-country project and 20 national projects. It is the first Work Program to include multiple SIDS projects from the new SCCF-A funding window devoted to SIDS, which is a new feature for GEF-8.
Upon opening the first GBFF Council Thursday afternoon, Rodríguez said convening the GBFF is one of the proudest and most significant moments in his years as GEF CEO. He emphasized that contributions to this fund are not pledges to the GEF or GBFF – “they are pledges to the future of the planet, to the future of our children and grandchildren”.
Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) David Cooper stressed that the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) set very ambitious 2030 targets that will require action now if they are to be realized on time. He thanked the GEF for working hard to get the GBFF operational, and the first GBFF Council meeting organized. He welcomed pledges from Canada, the UK, Germany, Japan and Spain, allowing the Fund to begin operations, and urged more pledges. Cooper underscored that the immediate task is to move from agreements to actions.
The GBFF Council adopted a decision approving the GBFF Resource Allocation Policy, which operationalizes resource allocations through programming tranches triggered by financial capitalization thresholds. The approved Policy also provides operational procedures for the selection rounds, country-specific ceilings, and portfolio-level targets agreed upon in the GBFF Programming Directions. After Council debate, they agreed that after the first tranche, a new tranche will open every time an additional USD 250 million is contributed, or 18 months pass since the last tranche opened, whichever comes first.