”It is time to secure the promise of a better future for everyone; that is what we are doing here together,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the final session of the Seventh GEF Assembly. Highlighting recent wildfires in Canada and other intense, extreme events around the globe, he said these have been driven by climate change and nature loss. Trudeau rejected the proposition that we must choose between improving quality of life and protecting nature, saying one helps us achieve the other. He also hailed the creation of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) and noted Canada’s initial contribution of CAD 200 million.
In the final plenary on Inclusive and Transformative Governance, Sonia Guajajara, Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Brazil, underscored that “solidarity is a value that needs to grow even more in international relations.” She also noted that the greatest expenses come from the impacts of climate change and not from the measures to avoid them.
In reference to the GBFF, she called for shared governance mechanisms that include recipient countries.
During the day, six more roundtables were also held, including on:
- promoting an Integrated Approach Towards Food Systems Transformation;
- the GEF’s Future with New Agreements and Emerging Themes; and
- Catalyzing Climate Resilience and Adapting to New Realities.
During the closing plenary, recommendations emerging from all roundtables held on Thursday and Friday were summarized for participants. Delegates also considered several administrative matters, including:
- amendments to the Instrument for Establishment of a Restructured GEF;
- Statement by the GEF Independent Evaluation Office;
- Statement by the GEF Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel;
- the report on the Eighth Replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund; and
- the report on the GEF Trust Fund.
During the closing, GEF CEO and Chairperson Rodríguez announced the retirement of William Ehlers, Council Secretary, expressing warm gratitude to his “close colleague and friend” for his 18 years of dedicated service.
In the evening, Assembly participants celebrated the successes of the week with a Special Art and Immersive Music Performance by Costa Rican Artist Carlos Hiller.