Key Outcomes of 7th GEF Summit

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August 31, 2023

Why in news?

Recently, the 7th assembly of Global Environment Facility (GEF) was conducted in Vancouver, Canada.

What is Global Environment Facility (GEF)?

  • About - It is the largest source of multilateral funding for biodiversity globally, and distributes more than 1 billion dollar a year on average to address inter-related environmental challenges.
  • Origin - GEF was originated by France with a 1989 proposal to formulate financing responses to mounting concern over global environmental problems.
  • It was established as a pilot program in 1991 through arrangements between 3 implementing agencies,
    • World Bank
    • UN Development Programme (UNDP)
    • UN Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • Purpose- To provide concessionary and additional funding for the incremental costs of achieving global environmental benefits, with an initial endowment of around USD 1 billion.
  • Evolution - In 1992, GEF was established.
  • By 1994, the GEF became a separate institution, hosted but not administered by the World Bank, which operates as a key mechanism for global environment
  • Functions- It provides fund for biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), mercury, sustainable forest management, food security, and sustainable cities in developing countries.
  • It has served as an operating entity of the financial mechanism since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC), 1994.
  • Special Funds- The  special funds set up and managed by the GEF are
    • The Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) - It  supports adaptation and technology transfer in all developing country parties to the UNFCCC, supporting both long-term and short-term adaptation activities in water resources management, land management, agriculture etc.,
    • The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) - It is established under the UNFCCC to address the special needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) that are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change.
  • Adaptation Fund - GEF provides the secretarial services to adaptation fund which was established under the Kyoto Protocol in 2001.

The Kyoto Protocol aims to limit or reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 3 market-based mechanisms – emissions trading, clean development mechanism and joint implementation.


What are the financing mechanisms of GEF?

  • The GEF provides funding to assist developing countries in meeting the objectives of international environmental conventions. It serves as a "financial mechanism" to 5 conventions.
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)- It is a multilateral treaty established in Rio Earth summit 1992.
  • It has three main goals-
    • Conservation of biological diversity
    • Sustainable use of its components
    • The fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)- It is an international environmental treaty to combat dangerous human interference with the climate system, by stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
  • It was established in 1992 Rio Earth summit.
  • Kyoto Protocol was the implementation of measures under UNFCCC.
  • Stockholm Convention- It is an international environmental treaty, signed in 2001 to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification- It is a convention to combat desertification and mitigate the effects of drought through national action programs.
  • It is the only convention stemming from a direct recommendation of the Rio Conference's Agenda 21, and adopted in 1994.
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury- It is an international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.
  • It was adopted in 2013 at a diplomatic conference held in Kumamoto, Japan.
  • Montreal Protocol- It is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion which entered into force in 1989.
  • GEF is not formally linked to this protocol, but supports implementation of the protocol in economies in transition.
  • Multilateral agreements- It is associated with many global and regional multilateral agreements that deal with international waters or transboundary water systems.
    • The Global Ship Ballast Water Treaty
    • The UN Law of the Sea Treaty
    • The MARPOL treaty for shipping (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships)
    • The UN Agreement on conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks.

The Green Climate Fund (GCF) which aspires to collect $100 billion financing target by 2020, was launched in 2010. It is managed independently.

What are the key outcomes of the 7th GEF Assembly?

  • Global Biodiversity Framework Fund - It ratified the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, a new source of funding for protecting endangered species and their ecosystems globally, which was approved by the GEF Council.
  • Youth Leaders Learning Exchange- It stressed the importance of universal access to education for girls and boys, and engaging youth, women, and Indigenous leaders in sustainable solutions.
  • Indigenous and Local Knowledge Event- It is organised to study the overlap between indigenous peoples’ lands and biodiversity hotspots.
    • It emphasized the importance of oral history and the voices of indigenous peoples in Arctic and Amazon.
  • GEF Partnership Forum- It is the 1st ever GEF Partnership Forum, which created a space for indigenous peoples, youth, women, and representatives from civil society to discuss ways the GEF can support their recognition and empowerment.
  • Intergenerational Fireside Chat- This event discussed the devastation of recent and ongoing wildfires as well as the role of fire as a place for gathering, connecting, and storytelling.
  • Forum Confabs- It is an informal gathering that were held during the Partnership Event.
    • Intergenerational Collaboration for our Future- It discussed how the GEF Partnership should engage youth on a long term basis.
    • Women’s Leadership in Environmental Action- It seeks elaboration on women’s leadership and gender-responsive actions in environmental programs and initiatives.
    • Indigenous Stewardship of the Global Environment- It discussed the GEF’s support in harnessing indigenous knowledge systems and the importance of working in a holistic manner to elevate the rights of indigenous people.
  • Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program- It is a new funding initiative providing up to USD 100,000 to each of 23 winners.
  • Net Zero Nature-positive World- It discussed the role of international finance institutions in supporting countries raising ambition in climate and nature.



  1. IISD- GEF 7th assembly summary report
  2. GEF- About Global Environment Facility


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