On the fourth day of the 61st meeting of the GEF Council, the Council approved a Work Program worth USD 190.7 million. The Work Program comprises 25 projects and one program. During the 31st meeting of the LDCF/SCCF Council, the Work Program for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) was approved. It comprises three projects with total resources from the LDCF amounting to USD 19.62 million.
Work Program for GEF Trust Fund
GEF CEO Rodríguez introduced this agenda item, and Gustavo Fonseca, GEF Secretariat, presented the proposed Work Program to the Council. Explaining that the Work Program would direct significant resources to vulnerable countries in Africa and Asia, and across the least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS), Fonseca highlighted that the Program is expected to leverage a total of USD 1.4 billion in co-financing, of which USD 1.1 billion represents mobilized investment. He underlined that this figure exceeds the overall GEF-7 co-financing aspiration.
Fonseca said eight of the 18 Implementing Agencies will receive resources under the Program, with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), followed by the World Bank, and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), receiving the largest share. He further explained that the Chemicals and Waste, and International Waters focal areas will receive the largest allocations in this Work Program, noting these two areas were lagging behind in the previous GEF-7 Work Programs. Regarding recipient countries, he said 43 countries comprising ten LDCs and 18 SIDS would receive funds.
Fonseca concluded by highlighting the joint World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), UNEP, and World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Statement on the definition of “One Health.” He said the redefinition of what a “one health” approach should look like is in line with the proposed GEF-8 strategy and conclusions of the white paper on the GEF COVID-19 Response Strategy.
During discussion on the Work Program, Council Members indicated they were generally satisfied with the increased focus on the Chemicals and Waste focal area but several questioned why the Climate Change focal area was lagging under this Work Program and GEF-7 in general. Some Members also noted decreased participation of the Latin America and the Caribbean region, and asked for clarification about the distribution of projects across focal areas and regions.
Some Council Members also reiterated the need for a better distribution of resources among GEF Agencies. One Council Member highlighted that Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets are voluntary and only one of several approaches to combating the impacts of drought and desertification, and cautioned that projects should not inadvertently make this a mandatory target. Among other concerns, a Council Member also called for gender to be considered and reported on in all GEF projects.
The Council then approved the Work Program of the GEF Trust Fund.
31st LDCF/SCCF Council Meeting
During the 31st meeting of the Council for the LDCF and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), the incoming Chair of the LDC Group, Madeleine Diouf Sarr, Senegal, highlighted that USD 413 million was pledged to the LDCF during the Glasgow Climate Change Conference in November, with contributions announced by Belgium, the Belgian region of Wallonia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US. She urged increased investment in private sector engagement and innovation and, for the SCCF, emphasized that around 1.1 billion people living in LDCs depend on these funds for critical support.
During discussion of the LDCF Work Program, which requests a total of USD 19.62 million for three projects to address climate change adaptation priorities in Malawi, Sao Tome and Principe, and the Solomon Islands, Council Members inquired about whether there is a pipeline of projects for the LDCF, given the small number of projects presented in the Work Program.
Council Members suggested continuing to hold pledging events like the one that took place during the Glasgow Climate Change Conference, and inquired about the GEF’s plans for the January 2022 meeting of the fifth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5).
The Secretariat noted plans to organize an event at LDC5.
The LDCF/SCCF Council adopted the Work Program, and adjourned at 11:05 am EST.
On Thursday, the GEF Council also discussed the pilot on adjusted co-chairing arrangements, the organization of the Seventh GEF Assembly, and other business. The 61st meeting of the GEF Council will continue on Friday, 10 December, and will conclude with a celebration of the GEF’s 30th anniversary.
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