WASHINGTON (AN) — The Global Environmental Facility drew US$5.25 billion in pledges for its work over the next four years on improving how the Earth's resources are managed in developing countries to deal with biodiversity loss, chemicals and waste, climate change, international waters, and land degradation.
Twenty-nine countries pledged money that is a nearly 30% increase from the last four-year operating cycle, Washingt0n-based GEF announced on Friday.
As a multilateral fund, GEF says it is the only one working on all aspects of environmental health and that it provides the world's main source of money for biodiversity protection. During this eighth round of funding for July 2022 to June 2026, officials say they will scale up efforts to tackle biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution.
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, GEF's CEO and chairperson, said the latest round is important for the programs and projects it will pay for and because it sends "a strong signal that the international community is ready to work together" on some of the toughest challenges facing the health of our planet.
With its 184 member nations — Bahrain is the newest to join in March 2020 — and its partnerships with 18 international organizations that help create and manage projects, GEF likely is the biggest global environmental organization that the general public has not heard much about.
Since it was created out of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, GEF says it provided more than US$22 billion in grants and blended finance and mobilized US$120 billion in co-financing for 5,000 national and regional projects plus 27,000 community-led initiatives. It lists projects in almost 170 countries.
Once every four years, GEF's assembly gathers environment ministers and senior officials worldwide to survey how it mobilizes billions of dollars for projects.
The money and policy support provided by GEF helps developing nations fulfill the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, Minamata Convention on Mercury, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification and U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Sylvie Lemmet, France's environment ambassador, said the share of funds for biodiversity will "significantly increase" to reach 36% of all GEF's funding, and "the ambition is to have 60% of all GEF financing ensure co-benefits for biodiversity" particularly among the least-developed and small island nations.