Importance of Global Environment Facility

Importance of Global Environment Facility

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Read Following article on - Importance of Global Environment Facility

Established on the eve of 1992 Rio Earth Summit, Global Environment Facility is an ‘international fund’ and an independently operating financial organisation that was created with the intent to tackle earth’s immediate environmental problems.

Ever since its inception, GEF has released more than $ 17.9 billion in grants and has helped mobilising an additional $ 93.2 billion for cofinancing over 4500 different environment-related projects in 170 countries. As of today, GEF has evolved into an international partnership comprising of 183 countries, various civil society organisations, international institutions and private sector.

Headed by CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii (August 2012 till now), it has played a critical role in various international areas for protection of our planet’s future.

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GEF’s importance

The importance of GEF lies in its role as an effective financing mechanism for many multilateral environmental conventions covering a wide range of global environmental issues. Grouping different environmental treaties and addressing them under the same financial mechanism helps in tackling crosscutting issues and avoiding the transfer of negative environmental impact between the focal areas.

 To give you an example, as deforestation affects both biodiversity as well as climatic changes, GEF holds the potential of increasing the efficacy of all related treaties by collecting and addressing them under one single umbrella. In the same way, in case of the ozone focal area, targeting reduction and elimination of ozone-depleting substances could potentially contribute to the reduction of climatic changes as well, because many of the ozone-depleting gases are greenhouse gases too.

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GEF assists projects related to:

GEF

The projects that have been given grants by the GEF are related to sustainable cities, international waters, biodiversity, persistent organic pollutants, sustainable forest management, land degradation, Mercury, food security and ozone layer. Let’s go over some of them below:

Biodiversity – Global biodiversity is under great threat. Reduction and prevention of its further loss is considered one of the major challenges faced by the humankind today. GEF supports various projects that target the main drivers of biodiversity loss.

Harmful chemicals – Unwanted industrial byproducts, industrial chemicals or pesticides are the substances that constitute the persistent organic pollutants (POPs). All these have been in use for many decades now. They share several harmful characteristics including bioaccumulation, long-range transportability and persistence. GEF aids projects that are to do with the elimination of such POPs.

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International waters – GEF supports various projects that help different countries work together and overcome issues related to large water systems. It aids collective management of the groundwater basins, marine systems, coastal systems and transboundary surface water basins.

Climate change – GEF supports various climate change-related projects in developing countries. These projects are to do with climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation.

Sustainable forest management – Forests make up close to 1/3 of the entire earth’s land area.  GEF contributes to projects associated with sustainable use of forests (to do with sustainable forest management), forest conservation (mainly in buffer zones and protected areas). It takes care of trees and forests on a broad scale overall.

Ozone depletion – GEF contributes to the ozone depletion-related projects in countries with economies in transition (CEITs) and developing nations that do not qualify for funding under Multilateral Fund of the Montréal Protocol. The idea is to help them implement various activities to phase out the ozone-depleting substances in a way that’s in line with these countries’ obligations under the above-mentioned protocol.

Land degradation – Degradation of land is perceived as a huge threat to the functioning of the society, ecosystem stability and biodiversity. As ecosystems are connected with each other, across different scales, land degradation can trigger various destructive processes which can have a cascading effect on all of the biosphere. GEF contributes to projects that are about reversal and prevention of land degradation or desertification. It also helps in mitigating the after-effects of drought, in the impacted areas.

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