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head of gef sitting at a table, black tablecloth, wearing a suit. behind him there is a banner with the gef logo
Vancouver, Canada

Global Environment Facility CEO: New Fund for Biodiversity "Most Important" Resource for Financing

The Global Environment Facility is scheduled to announce the launch of the Global Framework Fund for Biodiversity, during its assembly currently held in Vancouver, Canada, which will represent a new source of funding to protect species and ecosystems worldwide.

The GEF was selected to manage the new fund at the COP15 Summit on Biological Diversity in December 2022, and its Board of Directors approved the implementation plans in June 2023 in Brasil.

GEF CEO Carlos Manuel Rodriguez said the fund, which the Assembly will announce to launch today, is the most important resource for directing biodiversity financing toward countries.

And he continued, in an interview with Al-Ain News on the sidelines of the Global Environment Facility Assembly held in Vancouver, Canada, that the participants in the fund are still in the early stages of formulating the method of work and drawing up policies, and therefore discussions are still taking place about how countries can benefit from the new funding.

He added, "There was a decision at the Conference of the Parties that donors should double financial support to protect biodiversity and conserve nature by 2025, and now donors in developed countries are giving $10 billion to conserve nature, and pledge to double that by 2025, and that means by that year, $20 billion will be available to implement the new framework."

He noted that the task of the Global Environment Facility, which would lead the management of the Fund, was to set the policies through which funding would be channeled to the highest priority countries, and in what way those countries would be chosen—whether they were countries rich in biodiversity or countries with unique species. However, the decision to direct and determine the financing remains in the hands of the countries participating in the fund.

He added, "The establishment of this new fund is a good opportunity for donors to participate in financing biodiversity, and given that donor countries have a 'funding cycle' that takes some time, we can see the features of the new fund appear at the beginning of 2024."

He said that the now-convening GEF Assembly is of pivotal importance in the progress of climate action, as it can be considered a "stopping point" to assess climate action, to find out what worked and what needs to be changed, and what are the new ideas through which to deal with the triple crisis of biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change.

He continued: "Climate change has become our new reality. It is no longer an issue that we talk about in the future. A month ago, I woke up in my home in Washington to find a lot of smoke, and that was because of the huge forest fires in Canada, but here in Vancouver, I could not see the sun."

Because of the smoke, climate change has become an existential threat to humans, human activities, and all different sectors, so he added that we must complete the work to find out how to mobilize financial resources and increase financing for developing countries, and increase the role of civil society to join forces with governments.

This story was supported through Internews’ Earth Journalism Network's Reporting Fellowship to the 7th Global Environment Facility Assembly in Vancouver, Canada. It was originally published by Al-Ain News on August 25, 2023 and has been translated from Arabic and lightly edited for length and clarity.

Banner image: GEF CEO Carlos Manuel Rodriguez at the GEF Assembly in Vancouver / Credit: Hadeer Elhadary.