The agreement to establish the GBF Fund is a necessary precondition for the GBF’s robust implementation.
The Fund “is expected to strengthen national-level biodiversity management, planning, policy, governance, and finance approaches needed for operative implementation of the GBF”.
According to ENB, the agreement to prepare the GEF to serve as part of the financial mechanism of the high seas treaty is also “a game changer” as the BBNJ Agreement “is a milestone” for conserving our ocean and achieving the SDGs.
The 64th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council adopted a record Work Program, totaling USD 1.4 billion, which includes 45 projects and programs benefiting 136 countries. The Council also agreed to establish the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) Fund and reached agreement on preparing the GEF to serve as part of the financial mechanism of the new high seas treaty.
According to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), these “vital” decisions, reached after “lengthy and often difficult negotiations,” are “great news for the environmental community, humanity, and life on the planet as a whole.”
The Work Program for the GEF Trust Fund comprises 12 projects and programs with a global focus, 13 with a regional focus, and 20 with a national focus. The Council of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) also adopted a Work Programs comprising six projects in the amount of USD 60.13 million from the LDCF and USD 3.36 million from the SCCF.
The ENB summary report of the meeting highlights that the GBF was established at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in December 2022. Its four goals and 23 targets represent “humanity’s best remaining chance to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030.” ENB notes that the agreement to establish the GBF Fund is a necessary precondition for the GBF’s robust implementation. The Fund “is expected to strengthen national-level biodiversity management, planning, policy, governance, and finance approaches needed for operative implementation of the GBF.” The GBF Fund will be formally launched during the GEF Assembly in Vancouver, Canada, in August 2023.
The ENB report flags as “a game changer” the agreement to prepare the GEF to serve as part of the financial mechanism of new international legally binding implementing agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ Agreement). The high seas treaty, ENB writes, “is a milestone” for conserving our ocean and achieving the SDGs, which, in the words of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “pumps new life in the Ocean at a critical time.”
Among other things, the Council also:
- Adopted the GEF Business Plan and Budget for fiscal year 2024;
- Appraised the GEF’s strategy and portfolio in water security and management’s response;
- Addressed the strategic country cluster evaluation of the Lower Mekong River Basin Report of ecosystem and the relevant management response;
- Discussed the four-year Work Program and Budget of the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO);
- Reviewed its Annual Performance Report;
- Tackled the updated GEF Communication and Visibility Policy; and
- Received the report of the Chairperson of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP).
The 64th meeting of the GEF Council and 34th meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council took place from 26-29 June in Brasilia, Brazil. [ENB Coverage of 64th Meeting of the GEF Council]