Climate talks ends with focus on multi-stakeholder coalitions

Da Nang (Vietnam): The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly, the organization’s highest governing body, concluded on Thursday with a commitment to support the partnership of multi stakeholder coalitions, including strengthening private sector partnerships.

Delivering the concluding address in a seaside resort here, GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii said it would support the partnership of multi-stakeholder coalitions in GEF-7 replenishment, including through measures to level the playing field among agencies and strengthening private sector partnerships.

GEF’s new four-year investment cycle is known as GEF-7.

Favouring a circular economy to restore the ecosystems, she said: “We look forward to continue supporting countries in the next four years. Thanks to a strong GEF-7 replenishment of $4.1 billion.”

The GEF is a partnership for international cooperation that involves 183 countries working together with international institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector to address global environmental issues. The GEF Assembly meets once in four years.

In a major commitment to advance climate action in developing countries, Canada has pledged $228.79 million towards the new investment cycle of the GEF.

During the GEF Assembly, the GEF Council approved a $15.5 million grant to co-finance the Sustainable Management of the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Program.

Led by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and ADB, this new program will implement strategic actions to protect ecosystems, fisheries, and livelihoods in eight countries bordering the Bay of Bengal, including India and Sri Lanka.

As part of the program, the Asian Development Bank will support waste water treatment and solid waste management to address pollution in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River, through the proposed Second Mandalay Urban Improvement Project.

Heads of island nations vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by melting ice, like the Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine and Guyana President David Granger also attended.

Around 50 heads of government will hold the world’s first-ever virtual summit to renew political momentum in tackling climate change, the President of the Marshall Islands announced at the opening of the assembly on Wednesday.

The carbon-free summit, on November 22, will bring together leaders of the 48-nation Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), which represents many of the countries most threatened by climate change.

President Emmanuel Macron of France, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. of California and GEF CEO Naoko Ishii, were among leading international figures who immediately welcomed it.

Earlier addressing the GEF assembly, India’s Union Environment Secretary C.K. Mishra said the country “is committed to follow the green path but needs technology and finance as it continues to work to meet objectives of the international environmental conventions”.

He said India has decided to strengthen its support with a 25 per cent increase over its contribution to $15 million to the GEF new investment cycle.

Batting for more flow of GEF funds to develop sustainable cities in India, he said: aceWe also hope to see assistance to countries for improving conditions of cities including its air quality through the sustainable cities program and other thematic areas.”

Seeking transfer of technology from the developed world, he was categorically clear in saying: “Let me again reiterate that two critical elements to achieving our goal will continue to be technology and finance.”

On the sidelines of the assembly, financing entities the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the GEF have also agreed to take joint steps to improve climate finance flows to best meet the needs of developing countries in tackling the global climate challenge.

The heads of the both organisations met together with several developing country ministers here to consider how the two funds can best promote complementarily and coherence in their ongoing climate finance support.

The GEF, established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental problems, has provided $17.9 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $93.2 billion in financing for more than 4,500 projects in 170 countries.

India, among the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, is both a donor and a recipient of the GEF.

By Vishal Gulati