Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, GEF CEO and Chairperson, opened the 61st meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council on Monday, 6 December. He underscored that this is one of the most important Council meetings, particularly for the next generation. He also highlighted that the GEF is celebrating its 30th anniversary of providing support for environmental action worldwide.
Rodríguez noted that: the announcements and decisions made at the Glasgow Climate Change Conference kept the 1.5°C temperature goal “on life support,” and nature was “finally integrated into climate issues”; the pandemic is still severely impacting many parts of the world; and the floods, fires, and droughts we are seeing around the world are pushing the Earth beyond its natural limits.
Reflecting on the GEF CSO Consultation held on 3 December, Rodríguez highlighted youth participants’ message to the GEF that “we must deliver on our promises.” He said GEF-7 implementation and the Work Program to be presented to the Council demonstrate the GEF’s commitment to tackle environmental challenges in an integrated way, and noted many projects will contribute to blue and green recovery from the pandemic.
He said the GEF-8 replenishment must deliver solutions for the post-pandemic era, and noted that it will enable the GEF to scale up the impact of its initiatives in an effective and efficient way. Emphasizing the importance of the next ten years, Rodríguez stressed that the environmental crises the world is facing, such as climate change, land degradation, and ocean pollution, must be addressed together, not one at a time, and with everyone at the table, in order to achieve a nature-positive, carbon-neutral, and pollution-free world.
GEF Council Co-Chair Mette Møglestue, Norway, highlighted the GEF’s 30-year anniversary and underlined the need to reflect on the GEF’s many achievements as we look into the future.
Co-Chair Møglestue presided over the adoption of the agenda and an initial discussion of the agenda item on the UN Development Programme (UNDP) third-party review of UNDP’s compliance with GEF minimum fiduciary standards. On this agenda item, representatives from the GEF Secretariat, UNDP, and the independent reviewer presented on progress to date. Council Members discussed the recommendation for a follow-up report and inquired about provisions for whistleblowers, among other issues. The discussion will continue in an executive session on Tuesday, 7 December.
GEF CEO Rodríguez presided over the discussion of the GEF Monitoring Report 2021. Françoise Clottes, GEF Secretariat, reviewed the results as presented in the Portfolio Scorecard in the Monitoring Report. She noted multiple areas with good progress, including timing for the first disbursements and quality of implementation. She said the timing of Mid-Term Review (MTR) submission is an area that needs further attention, highlighting that pandemic travel restrictions have prevented many project teams from holding MTRs as planned.
During the discussion of the GEF Monitoring Report 2021, Council Members stressed the role of MTRs in identifying lessons learned and identifying options for “course correction,” and inquired about risk assessments, among other issues. The Secretariat noted that the risk ratings are provided by each implementing Agency and are not normed across agencies, although the data are still useful to track. In the decision on this agenda item, the Council welcomes the report and requests Agencies, through engagement with the Secretariat, to ensure the timely and quality delivery of MTRs as a tool to enhance implementation progress.
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