44th GEF Council Meeting Approves US$369.82 Million Work Program

gef4420 June 2013: The 44th Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council adopted a Work Program amounting to US$369.82 million, comprising 48 projects on biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), as well as multi-focal area projects. Convened from 18-20 June 2013 at the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C., over 230 participants, including 57 Council Members and their Alternates, convention secretariats and civil society organizations (CSOs), attended the meeting.

The GEF Council was preceded by consultations with CSOs on 17 June and followed by the 14th meeting of the Council for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). Key decisions of the meeting included topics related to: relations with conventions and other international institutions; the progress report from the Director of the GEF Evaluation Office; the annual monitoring review; the report of the selection and review committee; work programme and budget of the GEF Evaluation Office; the GEF Business Plan and Corporate Budget for the 2014 fiscal year; the Fifth Overall Performance Study and Management Response (OPS5); and the work programme.

The LDCF and SCCF were bolstered by additional pledges, amounting to US$129 million and US$69.2 million, respectively. Donors included: Belgium ($15.8 million for LDCF; $15.8 million for SCCF); Germany ($66 million for LDCF; $39.6 million for SCCF); Norway ($3.7 million for LDCF; $2.5 million for SCCF); Switzerland ($1.1 million for LDCF; $1.3 million for SCCF) and the US ($25 million for LDCF; $10 million for SCCF). The Council also authorized expenditure of up to $10 million for funding of an early action, pre-ratification program in support of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, for which the GEF will serve as a key financial mechanism.

On the update related to the GEF2020 Strategy, participants heard a keynote address from Johan Rockström, Executive Director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, which highlighted that the present generation is the first to have bold scientific knowledge on the perverse effects of environmental degradation, while noting that environmental degradation aggravates social instability.

The GEF Secretariat informed Council members that, since June 2012, the independent GEF Accreditation Panel has been conducting Stage II reviews of the applicants to verify their degree of compliance with GEF's Fiduciary Standards as well as its Environmental and Social Safeguards including Gender Mainstreaming. He also reported that two applicants, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Conservation International, have cleared Stage II approval and will now complete their accreditation by negotiating memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with the GEF Secretariat and Financial Procedures Agreements (FPAs) with the GEF Trustee.

Among other matters, the Council commended Thomas Lovejoy, outgoing chair of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), and welcomed Rosina Bierbaum as the incoming chair. It was decided that Mexico will host the fifth Assembly of the GEF, while India will host the next meeting on the GEF-6 replenishment, to take place in September 2013. [GEF 44th Council Meeting] [IISD RS Coverage of the 44th GEF Council and 14th LDCF/SCCF] [IISD RS Sources] [GEF Press Release on New STAP Chair] [GEF Press Release on 44th Council Meeting Outcomes] [GEF Press Release on LDCF / SCCF]