Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, the current Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, was selected as the next CEO and Chairperson.
The Council also agreed on a Work Program comprising 63 projects and five programs, with total resources amounting to USD 645.4 million.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council held its first ever virtual Council meeting, during which Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, the current Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, was selected as the next CEO and Chairperson. The Council also agreed on a Work Program comprising 63 projects and five programs, with total resources amounting to USD 645.4 million.
Naoko Ishii, GEF CEO and Chairperson, opened the 58th meeting of the GEF Council on 2 June 2020, bringing together participants from 17 time zones via videoconference for a two-day event. An in-person meeting was not possible due to restrictions on travel and large meetings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her opening remarks, Ishii recalled that during her eight-year tenure the GEF adopted a comprehensive GEF 2020 strategy, upgraded its business standards, improved its safeguards policy, gender policy and stakeholder engagement policy, and changed how it measures progress.
The agreed Work Program marks the halfway point in the GEF-7 replenishment cycle. It includes programs on marine biodiversity, artisanal small-scale gold mining, wildlife, electric mobility, and food systems, land use, and restoration (FOLUR), as well as four Non-Grant Instruments (NGIs). The Work Program will benefit 72 recipient countries, including 20 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and ten small island developing States (SIDS).
The programs include the Common Oceans program, representing the second phase of the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction program, and GOLD+, aimed at expanding the investments started in GEF-6 to eliminate the use of mercury in the artisanal small-scale gold mining sector. The Work Program also contains addenda to the FOLUR Impact Program, the Global Wildlife Program, and the Electric Mobility Program.
Additional agenda items included a draft strategy for private sector engagement, for which the Council requested the Secretariat to work with an ad hoc Council working group to revise. The Council also discussed the approach paper for the 7th Comprehensive Evaluation of the GEF, which will inform the replenishment negotiations for GEF-8. It agreed on the GEF Business Plan and Corporate Budget for Fiscal Year 2021 and the Work Program and Budget for the GEF Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) for FY2021.
Convening as the Council for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), Members agreed on the LDCF Work Program comprising eight projects, with total resources amounting to USD 59.59 million. The Work Program includes projects to improve the climate resilience of agro-silvo-pastoral production systems in Burkina Faso, plan and implement ecosystem-based adaptation in Djibouti’s Gobaad Plain and Tadjourah Ville, and strengthen the climatic resilience of the drinking water sector in the south of Haiti.
In her closing remarks on 3 June, Ishii stressed that much remains to be done and thanked everyone for “our journey together,” calling her time as head of the GEF an “honor and a privilege.” [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of the 58th meeting of the GEF Council]