The 63rd meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council opened on Monday, 28 November 2022. GEF CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodríguez expressed his sorrow at the loss in August 2022, of Gustavo Fonseca, GEF’s long-standing Director of Programs. Council Members watched a tribute video in remembrance of Fonseca highlighting some of his contributions to environmental protection, as well as his dedication to his family and friends.
Rodríguez emphasized the need for increased efforts to address environmental challenges, given current and ongoing global economic and social hardship. He reflected on the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Change Conference, which took place earlier this month, and highlighted the role of young leaders and civil society in addressing the climate change challenge. Rodríguez lamented that lack of agreement on a fossil fuel phaseout means possibly moving the world away from the 1.5°C global temperature goal, but noted some positive achievements such as the decision to establish a fund for addressing loss and damage. He said the GEF will continue to support countries to deliver on their nationally determined contributions and climate actions.
On the upcoming Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15), the GEF CEO called for an ambitious post-2020 biodiversity framework. He noted the GEF is committed to working with multiple stakeholders during the GEF-8 replenishment, to achieve transformative action on biodiversity protection.
Ambassador Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia, Samoa and GEF Council Elected Co-Chair for 2022, said the GEF plays a key role in implementing issues on the ground that may not be fully addressed at the international negotiations. He noted the quick endorsement of the GEF-8 replenishment demonstrates confidence in what the GEF can achieve on the ground.
Many Council Members took the floor to pay homage to Gustavo Fonseca, appreciating his lasting impact on the GEF’s work, and expressing their condolences to his family and the environmental community for his loss.
The Council then considered the following items: the GEF monitoring report 2022; the Country Engagement Strategy Implementation Arrangements for GEF-8; and GEF Small Grants Programme 2.0 Implementation Arrangements for GEF-8.
Paola Ridolfi, GEF Secretariat, presented the GEF Monitoring Report 2022, highlighting it implements the GEF-8 Results Measurement Framework. Many Council Members welcomed the report, appreciating, among others issues, the focus on results. Several called for clarification on issues relating to co-financing, including the level of private sector engagement and the challenges in obtaining co-financing. Some members expressed concern at the low number of mid-term reviews submitted by GEF-financed projects and others supported further diversification of implementing agencies.
Claude Gascon, GEF Secretariat, introduced the Country Engagement Strategy Implementation Arrangements for GEF-8, noting the proposed strategy envisions funding of USD 27 million. Following discussions, the Council approved the proposal, including the establishment of the Gustavo Fonseca Youth Conservation Leadership Program.
Ridolfi introduced the GEF Small Grants Programme 2.0 Implementation Arrangements for GEF-8, noting it aligns closely with the renewed ambition, size, and objectives for SGP 2.0 endorsed by Council Members, while incorporating findings and lessons learned from the recent SGP evaluation. The Council endorsed the proposed arrangements.
To receive free coverage of global environmental events delivered to your inbox, subscribe to the ENB Update newsletter.