GEF Council Discusses Work Program, STAP Report
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The 49th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council opened in Washington DC, US, to consider, among other things, a Work Program to provide financing for 17 new projects focusing mainly on climate change and sustainable ecosystem management in the Amazon.

In anticipation of the forthcoming Paris Climate Change Conference, the Work Program emphasizes climate mitigation, as well as an integrated, multi-country program for the Amazon.

GEF21 October 2015: The 49th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council opened in Washington DC, US, to consider, among other things, a Work Program to provide financing for 17 new projects focusing mainly on climate change and sustainable ecosystem management in the Amazon. In anticipation of the forthcoming Paris Climate Change Conference, the Work Program emphasizes climate mitigation, as well as an integrated, multi-country program for the Amazon.

The Council, which is meeting from 20-22 October 2015, is discussing the Work Program that is requesting a total of US$233.67 million of GEF trust fund resources for the above-mentioned projects, as part of the sixth GEF replenishment funding for US$4.43 billion that began in July 2014. The projects address, inter alia: sustainable land management (SLM) and agriculture in the Amazon; building resilient landscapes in Bhutan; energy efficiency investments; and emission reductions through land management, technology transfer and renewable energy promotion. The proposed projects will more directly engage key actors and stakeholders to deliver practical, effective and long-term solutions. Potential emission reductions are estimated at 498 million tCO2e and up to 73.45 million hectares of landscapes and seascapes will be conserved.

During the three-day meeting, the Council will also address: the GEF’s relations with the multilateral environmental conventions; future direction on accreditation; the report of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP); the Annual Monitoring Review; and preparations of the integrated approach pilots and knowledge management.

In her opening statement to the Council, Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, stressed the importance of addressing the underlying drivers of environmental degradation by delivering integrated, holistic solutions. She highlighted: the GEF’s participation in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-related discussions; the GEF Secretariat’s reorganization, which will enhance integrated programming and GEF implementation; and the potential for the Non-Grant Instrument to mobilize funding for natural resource management. She also noted that the GEF will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016.

A panel discussion on the Amazon also took place, during which participants: highlighted the need to view and manage the Amazon as a system; presented a comprehensive map created by National Geographic, which could help improve integrated systems planning and management; and discussed watershed and hydrological systems research.

During a plenary session, Richard Kinley, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Deputy Executive Secretary, spoke on preparations for the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the UNFCCC. He expressed optimism for COP 21, depending on its outcomes on finance. He noted consensus to include the GEF in the post-Paris financial mechanism and lauded the GEF’s record on adaptation finance.

The Report of the Chairperson of the STAP was also presented. The report includes sections on, inter alia: STAP’s ongoing contributions to the integrated approach pilots; observations on STAP’s screening of the GEF Work Program; contributions to the knowledge management approach; STAP’s engagement with GEF-related conventions; and the STAP Work Program. The report details the STAP’s ongoing work related to: black carbon; green chemistry; the ‘Source to the Sea’ concept; areas beyond national jurisdiction; protected areas and socioeconomic co-benefits; national adaptation plans (NAPs); and measuring, monitoring and evaluating adaptation.

Prior to the opening of the Council Meeting, on 19 October 2015, Ishii met with civil society organizations (CSOs), emphasizing the critical role that CSOs and citizens must play in tackling global environmental challenges. She said the SDGs recognize that the environment is the foundation for future development, noted that a multi-stakeholder approach is required to achieve transformational change, and stated that “integration and synergy is the way to go.”

The Council Meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) will convene on 22 October. [49th GEF Council Meeting Website] [GEF Council Meeting Documents] [GEF Press Release] [GEF Work Program] [STAP Report] [IISD RS Coverage of the GEF Council Meeting]


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