The 61st meeting of the GEF Council and the 31st meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF) Council finished their work on Friday, 10 December. The LDCF/SCCF Council reviewed a progress report on the Funds, discussed the development of the GEF Programming Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change for the LDCF/SCCF, and considered the Independent Evaluation Office’s (IEO) program evaluation of the SCCF. Following a review of Co-Chairs’ summaries from the meetings of both Councils, the GEF Council concluded with a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the GEF.
LDCF/SCCF Council Meeting
The meeting considered a review of the progress report on the LDCF and SCCF, as presented by Chizuru Aoki, GEF Secretariat. Aoki highlighted that expected results for the LDCF include: 51.34 million direct beneficiaries; 5.8 million hectares of land better managed to withstand effects of climate change; 1.04 million people trained on adaptation strategies and measures; and 2,521 policies and plans to integrate adaptation strategies and measures. She also outlined expected results for the SCCF, including: 7.38 million direct beneficiaries; 4.01 million hectares of land better managed; 209,301 people trained to identify, prioritize, implement, and evaluate adaptation strategies and measures; 462 policies, plans, and processes developed or strengthened to integrate adaptation strategies and measures; and 175 risk and vulnerability assessments.
Aoki highlighted the Challenge Program competition, from which new project concepts were identified. GEF CEO Rodríguez praised the level of innovation in the submissions to the Challenge Program, and said it was hard to narrow down the winners. He also thanked Council Members for their support with communication and outreach to position the LDCF and SCCF on the frontline for assistance to vulnerable societies.
Council Members supported a suggestion to disaggregate data by age and sex, commended efforts to raise the visibility of the Funds, and adopted the decision on the agenda item.
On the update on the development of the GEF Programming Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change for the LDCF and SCCF, the Secretariat noted that a proposed virtual second LDCF/SCCF strategy meeting will take place in February 2022, with a third meeting to follow before the 32nd LDCF/SCCF Council meeting.
During discussion, Council Members inquired about the relationship between the LDCF and the Adaptation Fund, indicated support for a shift towards innovation and private sector engagement, approved a gender focus, and urged other donors to contribute.
GEF CEO Rodríguez said the GEF can find ways to bring mitigation-focused projects into the realm of adaptation, adding that nature-based solutions can provide large-scale impact for both.
GEF Council Meeting
Among the concluding issues raised during the final session of the 61st meeting of the GEF Council, GEF CEO Rodríguez discussed planning for the final replenishment meetings. The location of an in-person meeting in January 2022 remains to be decided. The fourth meeting is expected to take place from 6-8 April 2022, at a location to be announced.
The Council elected Ambassador Feturi Elisaia, Samoa, to serve as GEF Council Co-Chair for 2022. Elisaia called on all Members to be part of the solution to the many challenges the world is facing, stressing that “many hands make light work.” Outgoing Elected Co-Chair Møglestue thanked the Council for their support and congratulated Ambassador Elisaia on his election, offering to share lessons learned during the first year of the pilot on one-year chairing arrangements.
The GEF Council then took a moment to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the GEF. Following messages from past GEF CEOs, implementing Agencies, and stakeholders, Council Members expressed their support for the GEF’s work and looked forward to many more decades.
GEF CEO Rodríguez celebrated the integrated approach the GEF takes in focusing on both the “drivers and symptoms” of environmental degradation, and shared the release of the new GEF publication reflecting on 30 years of GEF activities.
Co-Chair Møglestue highlighted that the GEF is crucial to transforming multilateral decisions into action on the ground and could serve as a great model to other multilateral funds.
GEF CEO Rodríguez closed the meeting at 10:54 am EST.
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