Momentum set in Vancouver crucial for achieving the biodiversity and sustainable development goals by 2030
The Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is set to begin in Vancouver, Canada on August 22, 2023. The ratification of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) is on agenda, which would ensure that sufficient money is available for conservation and restoration of species and ecosystems.
The fund was envisaged at the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15 CBD) last year in December to ensure that countries have enough financial support to meet the goals and targets set under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
GEF, which is the world’s largest multilateral funder of environmental action, is tasked with running the fund and has to mobilise at least $200 billion per year by 2030.
For this, GEF will accept donations from countries, philanthropies and the private sector, along with stimulating schemes such as payment for ecosystem services, green bonds, biodiversity offsets and credits, and benefit-sharing mechanisms.
Under its current work plan, GEF has just $1.4 billion for action on three major environmental issues: Climate, biodiversity, and pollution. This amount is likely to reach $10.5 billion as GEF plans to generate another $9.1 billion in co-financing from other sources by 2026.
Biodiversity is set to receive the maximum amount — 47 per cent — of these funds. Climate change will receive 16 per cent, while land degradation will get 12 per cent. International waters and chemical waste will get 11 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.
These funds would be used to run projects around the world. Nonprofit Avaaz has raised the demand that activities carried out by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) be funded through the GBFF too. For this, IPLCs should gain direct access to financing, securing at least 20 per cent of funding.
At the moment, less than a per cent of funding for climate and biodiversity protection actually reaches Indigenous Peoples even though they manage over at least 43.5 million square kilometres (32 per cent of global land) in 87 countries and their livelihoods depend on the ecosystems they inhabit.
The assembly is a four-day event, running through August 22 to August 25. The first two days of the Assembly will see more than 70 side events on different aspects of environmental management. The GBFF will be launched on the 24th. Over the last two days, three plenaries and 11 roundtables will be organised.
The gathering is taking place at a time when wildfires are raging in British Columbia, the province that is hosting the GEF Assembly. The Assembly is meeting after five years due to disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting generally takes place every 4 years.
Only one more Assembly can be expected before 2030, the date by which the United Nations-mandated Sustainable Development Goals should be achieved, as well as the end-date of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. The momentum set in Vancouver is therefore crucial for achieving the goals.
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