News | 26 Aug, 2023

IUCN welcomes new Biodiversity fund and strengthens partnerships for conservation and sustainable development at Seventh GEF Assembly

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, as one of 18 Global Environment Facilitiy's (GEF) Implementing Agencies, actively participated in the Seventh GEF Assembly, in Vancouver, Canada; leading and co-leading twelve side events, speaking at high-level roundtables and conducting high-level bilateral meetings with partners and the GEF Secretariat.

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The IUCN Delegation and GEF CEO, Mr. Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, at the VII GEF Assembly

Photo: © IUCN

The GEF Assembly is the governing body of the Global Environment Facility, responsible for reviewing and evaluating the organisation’s general policies, operations, and membership every four years. The Seventh GEF Assembly, hosted by the Canadian government in Vancouver this month, gathered Ministers, government officials, business heads, leaders of GEF Agencies and the main global environmental conventions, as well as civil society representatives and Indigenous peoples from all 185 GEF member countries to launch a new cycle of funding and programming.

IUCN welcomes the establishment of the new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, ratified at the GEF Assembly, and the contributions of the Canadian and British governments of $200 million Canadian and £10 million respectively. The fund will help in the achievement of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and the realisation of the 30x30 goal.

As a key partner, IUCN will support Members in identifying and developing projects supported by the fund.

Similarly, as one of a few identified “headline indicators,” IUCN will support countries in applying the Red List of Ecosystems to establish baselines, design priority interventions, and track progress towards the fund’s goals. IUCN welcomes the alignment of the fund with the GEF trust fund programming, in particular the biodiversity focal area. Since becoming an accredited Implementing Agency in 2014, IUCN’s portfolio of fully developed and approved GEF projects has grown to include 39 schemes valued at $143 million USD, with an additional $100 million in GEF8 pipeline funding already approved.

These projects are implemented with Members throughout the regions, countries, and offices where IUCN works and cover themes including: biodiversity conservation, sustainable forest and land management, restoration, International Waters, climate adaptation, IPLC-led conservation, and more.

In the first days of the Assembly, the IUCN Delegation  engaged in a number of events and activities aimed at sharing IUCN relevant work, in turn opening doors to new partnerships, projects and initiatives with GEF and other partners, and helping to shape GEF programming and policies.  

Nature-based Solutions (NbS), ecosystems restoration and preservation for climate mitigation, Indigenous peoples and local communities’ participation in conservation efforts, gender equality, climate and environmental education and strategies for achieving the targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) were some of the topics addressed during the events organised and supported by IUCN.

As the global leader in advancing science-based conservation, IUCN  showcased some of its flagship tools and standards at the event, such as the Species Threat Abatement and Restoration metric (STAR) and the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs).

Dr. Grethel Aguilar, IUCN Acting Director General, participated in both side and official events at the Assembly, sharing experiences and ideas with Government ministers, environmental and development executives, youth and Indigenous conservation leaders to address the environmental and climate challenges we face at local and global levels.

“IUCN’s active role in the GEF Assembly demonstrates the strength and power of a partnership which is critical for addressing the interlinked crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Our experience as the world´s largest and most diverse environmental network has taught us that the outstanding challenges of our time cannot be faced alone. In the forthcoming years we will continue to work side-by-side with the GEF partnership, with our Members, Commissions’ experts, governments all around the world, Local communities and Indigenous peoples’ organisations to achieve our vision: a just world that values and conserves nature,” she said.