Wildlife & Biodiversity

Brazil GEF meet: Agreement on new biodiversity conservation fund; to be ratified in August

Indigenous peoples and local communities to get 20 per cent of the funds

By Vibha Varshney
Published: Friday 30 June 2023
Nearly half the funds to finance the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework will go towards biodiversity-related work. Photo: iStock__

The 64th Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) governing board has approved plans to establish a new fund to finance the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted in December 2022.

Council members agreed on the establishment of a new trust fund, called the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund and the programming directions for it. 

The approval is important as nearly 50 per cent of its funds are to be used for biodiversity related work in the coming years during the GEF-8 period. GEF will provide $1.4 billion to support efforts on environmental protection.

Also read: Brazil GEF meet: Over half a billion dollars set aside for work on biodiversity

The decision, taken at the GEF Council meeting in Brazil, is “landmark” as now the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) can be ratified by ministers of environment and finance of member countries at the Seventh GEF Assembly in Vancouver, Canada in August. 

“The creation of this biodiversity fund is a game-changer for countries’ ability to protect, restore, and ensure the sustainable use of nature,” said Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, chief executive of GEF.

The approval came after long-drawn discussions spanning all four days of the council meeting. Most of these discussions were carried out informally and details are not in the public domain.

Delegates had divergent opinions on issues of financing, such as the allocation of resources for least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS). 

The disagreements were ironed out late at night of June 29, 2023. A new paragraph was added to both the relevant documents suggesting that elements in these documents would not prejudge any future negotiation for any other funds or GEF-9 funds.

The proposed fund allocations are as follows: 

  • 20 per cent will go to Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLC). This is an aspirational goal.
  • 25 per cent will go to GEF agencies and must be enforced. 

Also read: Failure to find adequate funds may hamper Kunming-Montreal biodiversity targets

Allocation of funds to IPLCs would be reviewed two years after ratification in August. SIDS and LDC will get 36 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively. This would be reviewed three years after ratification. 

David Cooper, acting executive secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity, welcomed the consideration given to the role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities as irreplaceable biodiversity stewards, and the commitment to support them and their actions according to their own priorities.

Establishment of GBFF is the first test of the robustness of the Framework.

Biodiversity protection got another boost at the council meeting as members agreed to support the new agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

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