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GEF Council Meeting Approves Largest Work Program to Date

After the GEF Council unanimously decided to appoint Naoko Ishii (Japan) as the next GEF CEO/Chairperson, she greeted the Council and current CEO/Chairperson Monique Barbut.7 June 2012: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council approved a Work Program of 84 projects and two programmatic approaches amounting to US$667.26 million in GEF project grants, and appointed Naoko Ishii (Japan) as the GEF's new Chairperson and CEO.

The 42nd Meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council convened in Washington, DC, US, from 5-7 June 2012, at the World Bank headquarters. Over 200 representatives of governments, international organizations and civil society organizations (CSOs) attended the three-day meeting, which included the Council meeting of the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and of the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). The meeting was preceded by consultations with CSOs and an evening welcome reception on 4 June.

The approval of the largest Work Program to date will be complemented by US$4.4 billion in co-financing for the projects approved, a co-financing ratio of 6.6:1. Among the single focal area projects, 23 are in biodiversity, 26 in the climate change field, with the remainder split among a variety of focal areas.

GEF Council members also considered and adopted decisions on: the annual performance report; the 2012 annual country portfolio evaluation report and management response; the Work Program and budget of the GEF Evaluation Office; broadening the GEF Partnership; project agencies for accreditation; and the fee structure for Agencies.

At the meeting, the Council launched the accreditation process for 11 organizations, including national and regional agencies, and civil society organizations to act as GEF Agencies, thus being able to implement GEF projects directly.

The 11 agencies for which the accreditation process was launched are: the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA); The Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO); the Chinese Ministry of Environment, Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO); the Peruvian National Environment Fund (FONAM); Russia's VTB Bank; the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF); the West African Development Bank (BOAD); the World Wildlife Fund, Inc. (WWF- US); Conservation International (CI); the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC).

The latest step towards commencing operations for these agencies will be to receive a positive review by an an external and independent Accreditation Panel that will analyze and review the 11 organizations to ensure their compliance with the GEF's fiduciary standards, as well as its social and environmental safeguards.

Among specific projects, the GEF will fund a regional project involving Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St. Vincent and Grenadines, for the implementation of Integrated Land, Water, and Wastewater Management in Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with a US$20 million grant. The project aims to accelerate the achievement of global targets on access to safe and reliable water supplies and improved sanitation, and address adaptation to climate change.

The GEF will also continue to support the establishment of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) with about US$9 million committed to each of three regions, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Europe and Central Asia. The next GEF Council meetings will take place from 13-15 November 2012, and from 18-20 June 2013. [IISD RS Coverage] [GEF Press Release, 7 June 2012]  [GEF Press Release, 8 June 2012] [AfDB Press Release]