The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved its first work program under its new four-year investment cycle, benefiting 25 countries with funding of $157.8 million. The approval was granted in the 55th GEF Council meeting that concluded here on Thursday following the approval of its investment cycle, known as GEF-7, and a series of decisions that will firm up its implementation policies and procedures.
The work program, made up of 18 different projects benefiting 25 countries around the world, will require $157.8 million, and is expected to attract an indicative $819.7 million in financing from other sources.
Closing the meeting, GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii said much progress has been made and “now GEF-7 can start”.
The three-day council meeting, the first to be held since governments endorsed the new GEF-7 strategy and the accompanying $4.1 billion replenishment of its trust fund, approved various measures to further improve the GEF’s efficiency, accountability and transparency.
This includes new policy procedures to speed up the preparation, endorsement, implementation, and closure of projects, and, among other things, new policies to improve access to information, and an updated policy on environmental and social safeguards throughout the GEF project and programme cycle.
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The first work program in GEF-7 for Least Developed Countries Fund, consisting of six projects and requesting a total of $45.85 million, was also approved.
The projects that got approval include the long-term conservation and management of critical and threatened sites and species along the globally important East Asia-Australasian Flyway, by establishing a robust, resilient, and well-managed network of protected wetlands for endangered migratory waterbirds in China.
An allocation of $128 million for the Small Grants Programme is to provide grants to civil society and community-based organisations tackling global environmental issues in 107 countries.