Nigeria, others to benefit from $4.4b replenished GEF fund

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EnviroNews Nigeria, Nigeria

The sum of $4.43 billion has been pledged by 30 donor countries for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to support developing countries’ efforts over the next four years to prevent degradation of the global environment. The announcement, made at the Fourth Meeting for the Sixth Replenishment of GEF Trust Fund, held in Geneva, Switzerland, 16-17 April 2014, further stated that the funding would support projects in over 140 countries to tackle a broad range of threats to the global environment. These threats include climate change, deforestation, land degradation, extinction of species, toxic chemicals and waste, and threats to oceans and freshwater resources.

The GEF is the main global mechanism to support developing countries’ (including Nigeria) to take action to fulfill their commitments under the world’s major multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), including the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

“This is a significant development. We welcome the efforts of the GEF Secretariat and the commitments of donor governments to replenish the GEF capital and thus allow the GEF to continue to serve as the financial mechanism of the CBD and other MEAs,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary.

“This will ensure that the GEF maintains its support for developing countries and countries with economies in transitions to support the implementation of their commitments under the CDB, in particular the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for 2011-2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and the updated national biodiversity strategies and action plans and associated national targets.”

“However, this still serves as a reminder that donor countries failed to fulfil the target set at the Eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) in Hyderabad, India, to double the international financial flows by 2015 relative to the 2006-2010 average,” underlined Dias.

“This means that we have missed the opportunity to significantly increase the investment on biodiversity to increase the efforts for achieving the implementation of the Aichi Targets,” said Dias. “This limited effort of multilateral funding, which represents a 30% increase over the baseline of 2006-2010, puts undue pressure on bilateral funding, domestic funding and private funding to compensate for this shortcoming to meet the estimated funding gap if we hope to achieve the agreed Aichi Targets by 2020,” he said.

The conservation, restoration and sustainable use of biodiversity can provide solutions to a range of societal challenges. For example, protecting ecosystems and ensuring access to ecosystem services by poor and vulnerable groups are an essential part of poverty eradication. Failing to pay due attention to the global biodiversity agenda risks compromising the capacity of countries to eradicate poverty and to enhance human well-being, as well as their means to adapt to climate change, reduce their vulnerability to extreme natural disasters, to ensure food security, to ensure access to water and to promote access to health.

“Without adequate funding for the global biodiversity agenda the continual availability of biological resources and ecosystems services will be compromised and impact the capacity of the business sector to continue to operate and supply the market with products, services and employment,” said Dias. “I encourage all countries to ramp up their contributions complementary to the GEF Trust Fund to ensure a better and more sustainable future for us all.”

The CBD, which opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into force in December 1993, is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources.

With 193 Parties up to now, the Convention has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is a subsidiary agreement to the Convention. It seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 166 countries plus the European Union have ratified the Cartagena Protocol. The Secretariat of the Convention and its Cartagena Protocol is located in Montreal.