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Canada Hosted 7th Assembly of the Global Environment Facility in Canada

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Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility from August 22-26, CanadaThe Government of Canada hosted the 7th Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada from 22-26 August 2023. The assembly gathered environmental leaders from 185 countries.

  • Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development of Canada, was the chair and co-host of the 7th Assembly of GEF.
  • The GEF Assembly coordinated financing for international efforts to address the recent diplomatic achievements in areas such as biodiversity conservation, toxic chemical management, and ocean health.
  • It underscored the importance of the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include ending pollution and nature loss, combatting climate change, and promoting inclusive, locally-led conservation efforts.

Note: The 6th GEF Assembly was held in 2018 in Da Nang, Viet Nam. The 7th GEF Assembly was delayed by 1 year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Points:

i.The Assembly brought together Ministers, government officials, business leaders, environmentalists, leaders of international agencies and environmental conventions, and so on.

ii.The assembly discussed environmental solutions under the overarching theme of “Healthy Planet, Healthy People“, which signifies the need to work together in new ways, within and across countries and across sectors, to heal the planet.

iii.The assembly included the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, a new source of funding for protecting species and ecosystems globally.

iv.The Assembly’s agenda also included high-level roundtables, a Partnership Forum, side events, and opportunities to visit environmental activities.

About GEF Assembly:

i.The GEF Assembly is the highest governing body of the GEF, composed of 185 member countries.

ii.Every 4 years, the GEF Assembly meets at the ministerial level to review: general policies; and evaluate GEF’s operations based on reports submitted to the Council; the membership of the Facility; and consider, for approval by consensus, amendments to the Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured Global Environment Facility on the basis of recommendation by the Council.

About GEF:

i.GEF is a family of funds supporting developing nations’ action on interrelated environmental challenges, including biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health.

ii.It is a unique partnership of 18 agencies, including UN agencies, multilateral development banks, national entities, and international Non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

iii.It is a financial mechanism for 5 major international environmental conventions: the Minamata Convention on Mercury; the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs); the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Note: Canada is a founding member of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). GEF is Canada’s primary mechanism for assisting developing nations in tackling environmental issues.

GEF launched New Global Biodiversity Framework Fund 

On 24th August 2023, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) launched the new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) designed to mobilize and accelerate investment for the conservation and sustainability of wild species and ecosystems globally.

  • Representatives from 185 countries ratified and launched the fund during the 7th Assembly of the GEF held from 22nd to 26th August 2023 in Vancouver, Canada.
  • The new fund for biodiversity will attract funding from governments, philanthropy, and the private sector.

Points to note:

i.This fund is intended to support the implementation of the goals outlined in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which was adopted during the Conference of the Parties(COP) to the CBD held in December 2022 in Canada.

ii.This will support the action to halt and reverse the biodiversity loss by 2030 and put nature on a recovery path by 2050.

Background:

i.The GEF was selected to manage the new fund and the decision was made during the 2022 UN Biodiversity Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) summit in December 2022 in Montreal, Canada.

ii.This fund’s establishment was formally approved by the GEF’s governing Council in June 2023, during a meeting held in Brasilia, Brazil.

Initial contribution:

i.The initial contributions for the GBFF are set at USD 200 million from at least 3 donors by December 2023.

ii.Canada has contributed CAD(Canadian dollars) 200 million and the United Kingdom(UK) has contributed 10 million pounds.

Key Points:

i.More than a third of the fund’s resources will be used to support the Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries.

ii.Around 20% of the resources will be used to support the  Indigenous-led initiatives to protect and conserve biodiversity.

iii.With a focus on the sustainability of biodiversity and the ecosystem, the fund will mobilise and disburse new and additional resources from public, private and philanthropic sources.

Funding:

i.At COP15, Canada made a substantial financial commitment to support the GEF’s eighth replenishment. Over the span of 4 years, from 2022 to 2026, Canada announced to provide USD 219 million.

  • This financial support is aimed at empowering developing nations to address global environmental challenges and enables them to fulfill their commitments under international environmental conventions.

ii.Canada also committed USD 350 million in new and additional funding to support developing countries in conserving biodiversity and to support the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.

Winners of Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program announced 

On 23rd August 2023, GEF selected 23 civil society organizations as winners of its Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program, and the winning projects were announced during the 7th GEF Assembly held at the Vancouver Convention Centre in Vancouver, Canada.

  • Each awardee received a grant of up to USD 100,000 and gained access to networking, training, and knowledge exchange opportunities through the GEF.

Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program:

i.It is a novel initiative reflecting a commitment to support and elevate community-driven climate and nature projects and the unique contributions of Indigenous Peoples, women, girls, and young people across the GEF partnership.

ii.It is funded by the Global Environment Facility’s 2 climate change adaptation funds, the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF).

Award Ceremony:

i.The GEF recognised the winning organisations during its Partnership Forum.

ii.The winning organisations showcased their experiences and insights through engaging panels and sessions.

iii.The event underscored the GEF’s commitment to fostering environmental progress via a comprehensive “whole of society” strategy.

Selection Panel:

23 winners were chosen from nearly 600 applications, and the selection was made by a diverse panel consisting of the following:

  • GEF’s Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Network; Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel; Indigenous Peoples’ Advisory Group; Gender Partnership; and youth representatives associated with international environmental conventions.
  • They span 26 countries.

Complete Winners’ List of the Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program 2023

About Global Environment Facility (GEF):
Chief Executive Officer & Chairperson– Carlos Manuel Rodriguez
Headquarters– Washington, District of Columbia (DC), United States of America (USA)
Established in 1991 and started operations on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit