22 December 2018: The 55th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council adopted the first Work Program since the approval of the seventh replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF-7). The Work Program comprises 18 projects in 25 recipient countries, and amounts to USD 157.8 million, including GEF project financing and Agency fees, and is expected to leverage USD 819.7 million in co-financing.

In addition, the Council for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) adopted a Work Program comprising six project concepts, with resources amounting to USD 45.85 million for the LDCF, including project grants and Agency fees.

The Council also discussed and approved a number of policies, guidelines and safeguards on measures aimed at enhancing the efficiency, accountability and transparency of the GEF. These measures include new policy procedures to speed up the preparation, endorsement, implementation, and closure of projects. Policies regarding improved access to information and revised environmental and social safeguards throughout the GEF project and programme cycle were also adopted.

The Kigali Amendment is expected to help prevent 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century.

The Council heard updates from representatives of the Conventions for which the GEF serves as a financial mechanism regarding recent and upcoming meetings, decisions and other relevant activities. These updates included the following reports:

  • Rossana Silva, Executive Secretary, Minamata Convention on Mercury, reported that the Conference of the Parties (COP) President had transmitted to the GEF the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) adopted by the COP regarding the GEF’s role as a financial mechanism. She said COP 3 will undertake a review of the financial mechanism.
  • The Stockholm Convention welcomed the strong chemicals and waste cluster in GEF-7, and reported that the Secretariat is taking a proactive stance by holding brainstorming sessions for the implementation of priority activities under the Stockholm Convention for 2018-2022 and in the context of the Secretariat’s technical assistance programme.
  • The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) welcomed the inclusion of land degradation neutrality (LDN) in the work program of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), highlighted that more than 100 countries are completing the LDN target setting process and now need to transform their targets into implementation projects, and noted the role that the LDN Fund can play in “crowding in” financing for LDN.
  • The UNFCCC highlighted that guidance to the financial mechanism was included in several decisions from the Katowice Climate Change Conference, including a request that the GEF continue to support the Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT);
  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) reported that COP 14 adopted the terms of reference (ToR) for an assessment of the funds needed for the implementation of the Convention under GEF-8; and
  • The Montreal Protocol reported that the Kigali Amendment, which addresses hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), will enter into force on 1 January 2019 and is expected to help prevent 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century.

The presentations prompted Council Members to reflect on the GEF’s unique role in integrating issues and generating synergies.

At the conclusion of the meetings, Council Members reviewed and approved the Joint Summaries of the Chairs for the GEF Council and LDCF/SCCF Council meetings.

The Council convened in Washington, DC, US, from 18-20 December 2018, at World Bank headquarters. The meeting also included the 25th meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council. The meetings were preceded by a consultation with civil society organizations (CSOs) on 17 December, during which participants discussed the implications of GEF-7 and gender policies, among other agenda items. [IISD RS Summary of the GEF Council Meeting] [IISD RS summary of GEF Council Consultation with GEF-CSO Network] [IISD RS Video from GEF Council Meeting]