Global Environment Facility (GEF)

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is an international financing mechanism for projects focused on global environmental issues. It serves as the financial platform supporting international treaties like the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

History and Structure

The GEF was initially created in 1991 ahead of the Rio Earth Summit as a pilot programme to fund global environmental projects. It transitioned into a permanent independent financing facility in 1994 and has since grown to support initiatives in over 170 countries.

The GEF is structured as a partnership involving 18 implementing agencies like the World Bank, UNDP, and UNEP who work with countries to develop and manage projects. It is overseen by a GEF Council with representatives from over 183 member nations. The United States serves as the permanent chair of the council.

The GEF’s core funding areas include biodiversity, climate change, land and ocean health, pollution, and sustainable forest management.

It relies on replenishment funding from donor nations to finance these projects in developing countries.

2022 Replenishment

In 2022, the GEF completed its 8th replenishment round, raising a record $5.25 billion in funding for 2022-2026. This included the largest contribution ever from the United States at $546 million as well as increased donations from other major economies.

36% percent of this funding cycle’s budget has been earmarked specifically for biodiversity-focused projects. Additionally, the new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund managed by the GEF was also launched out of these recent replenishment discussions to ramp up financing for achieving international biodiversity goals.

The successful 2022 replenishment highlights the expanding role of the GEF in global environmental governance. It positions the facility to continue serving as the key financing platform helping implement major international accords like the UN Climate Agreement and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

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