The 67th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, the 36th meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund/Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF) Council, and the second meeting of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) Council adopted work programs collectively totaling USD 736.42 million. The USD 37.82 million work program for the recently established GBFF is the first one ever.

“The work programs will seek to bring global environmental benefits through activities addressing biodiversity loss, chemicals and waste pollution, land degradation, climate change, and international waters,” the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary report of the meeting notes.

The projects included in the historic GBFF work program are: conserving Mexican biodiversity through communities and their protected areas (Mex30x30); Biodiversity Conservation in Indigenous Lands in Brazil; and Caatinga Protected Areas Program in Brazil. All three include a focus on Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs).

David Cooper, Acting Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), lauded the speed with which the Council responded to the request of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the CBD to establish this fund. GEF CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodríguez underscored, however, that “more resources for the GBFF are urgently needed.”

The largest-ever LDCF work program in the amount of USD 203 million includes projects and programs across 20 countries focusing on: agriculture, fisheries, and food security; nature-based solutions (NbS); water resources management; climate information services and early warning systems; disaster risk management (DRM); coastal zone management; climate-resilient transport; and urban resilience.

The work program adopted for the GEF Trust Fund comprises 25 projects and programs totaling USD 495.6 million.

Council Members also approved funding for a Great Green Wall Program established between the LDCF and GEF Trust Funds – a coral bond blended finance project that builds on the lessons learned from the 2022 rhino bond project and a Sustainable Cities Integrated Program.

Emphasizing “the GEF’s unique role in addressing global challenges such as climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss through its mandate to work across multiple global environmental issue areas and with multiple environmental agreements,” Council Members “discussed the linkages of their decisions with upcoming CBD COP in October, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP in November, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) COP in December,” ENB reports. “The heads from these and other conventions discussed recent activities related to the GEF and identified ways the ninth replenishment of the GEF (GEF-9) could support implementation of their conventions.”

In addition, among other decisions, the Council also appointed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez to a second four-year term as the GEF’s CEO and Chairperson.

The Council meetings, co-chaired by Rodríguez and the 2024 Elected Chairperson Dawda Badgie, Executive Director, National Environment Agency, The Gambia, who joined the meeting virtually, took place at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., US, from 17-20 June 2024.

On the eve of the meetings, GEF Secretariat staff and Council Members engaged in their tenth consultation with civil society organizations (CSOs) on the theme, ‘Conversation on GEF Initiatives and Approaches to Civil Society.’ [ENB Coverage of 67th Meeting of the GEF Council]