IUCN and the Global Environment Facility

IUCN is an official Global Environment Facility Agency where we create project proposals and then manage these projects on the ground. Through this work, IUCN and other GEF agencies help eligible governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to develop, implement and execute their projects.

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There is a trend towards greater cooperation among countries to protect shared natural resources as a basis for economic and social well-being. The health of ecosystems such as forests, rivers, wetlands and oceans, which often extend across borders, is critical to tackling global challenges including climate change, water scarcity and food security.

With this, governments are increasingly calling for support with their conservation and sustainability efforts, and in meeting their commitments to international agreements – support in the form of funding and expertise.

IUCN, through its status as a GEF Agency, has been entrusted to mobilise significant sources of funding and to use its global network of members and experts to put this funding to greatest effect.

With a 60-year track record of guiding and implementing conservation action largely at a national level, GEF agency status is set to boost IUCN’s impact on biodiversity conservation, ecosystem restoration and sustainable development at regional and international scales.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF)

The GEF is the largest multilateral trust fund focused on enabling developing countries to invest in nature, and supports the implementation of major international environmental conventions including on biodiversity, climate change, chemicals, and desertification. It brings together 184 member governments in addition to civil society, international organizations, and private sector partners.

The Global Environment Facility was established on the eve of the Rio Earth Summit to tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, it has provided more than $21.7 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $119 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 projects and programs. Through its Small Grants Programme, the GEF has provided support to more than 26,000 civil society and community initiatives in 135 countries.

IUCN and project expertise

IUCN has particular expertise managing projects relating to protected areas, transboundary waters, ecosystem restoration, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. These projects involve a range of partners who each contribute their own strengths and resources.

One of IUCN’s key implementation powers is its diverse membership – 1,400 organisations representing both government and civil society, which are well connected at the ground level. They understand the pressures and opportunities of nature conservation, as well as the needs and challenges of local communities. This membership, combined with the knowledge of IUCN’s 16,000+ experts on just about every aspect of the environment, creates a formidable force for conservation and sustainability.