n 2011, just a few short months afterworld leaders gather in Cancun to build ashared vision for climate change, theGlobal Environment Facility will bemarking its own milestone: 20 years of protecting theplanet. A lot has happened over the past two decadesand the numbers tell a story: twenty years ofcommitment, US$9.2 billion invested directly, US$40billion leveraged and 2,700 projects in more than 165 countries. As the financial mechanism of several internationalenvironmental conventions, and especially serving asoperating entity of the financial mechanism of theUNFCCC, the GEF has a solid track record that makesus the world's leading public financial fund dedicatedto the global environment. Over the past 20 years we have learned a lot. We havemade progress to improve our unique networkedorganisation that brings together the public sector,businesses, and civil society. Yet clearly there is a lotleft to do and in our latest four-year funding cycle(2011-2014) we have received from our donors both arecord replenishment (US$4.3 billion) and a clearmandate to help countries get funds faster, moreefficiently and towards greater impacts.No one expects the GEF to manage all future financialflows for climate change. But until a clear financialarchitecture is set, the nations of the world - whether theybe developing or developed - know what this network canand will do over the next several years. These effortsinclude a three-pronged results-based approach:. Providing support to countries to fulfill theirobligations towards the UNFCCC, especially throughNational Communications and National AdaptationProgrammes of Actions;. Developing and demonstrating advancedtechnologies to lower the cost and enhancemainstreaming of clean energy and other low-carbontechnologies; . Integrating approaches for sustainable forestmanagement to conserve and enhance carbon andother ecosystem services in forests;. Bringing into sharp focus ways to adapt to climatechange to reduce vulnerability in core developmentsectors, such as agriculture, water, and health. FINANCING ENABLING ACTIVITIESRELATED TO THE UNFCCC ANDCAPACITY BUILDINGAs an operating entity of the financial mechanism of theUNFCCC, the GEF has provided financial and technicalsupport to help countries fulfill their obligations underthe Convention. 143 non-Annex I Parties have receivedfunding to prepare their initial, second and, in somecases, third national communication. Similarly, the GEFhas provided support to 44 Least Developing CountriesParties to prepare their National AdaptationProgrammes of Actions.In addition, 146 countries received GEF funding toimplement National Capacity Self-Assessmentprojects, allowing them to building the foundationalcapacities necessary for countries to meet theirobligations under the UNFCCC, as well as that for theConvention on Biological Diversity (CBD) andConvention to Combat Desertification (CCD). ADVANCING TECHNOLOGYThe GEF has a well-established track record helpingTop:Shanghai Expo fuelcell bus -part of agrowing cleantransportation fleetacross major citiesexpanding through GEF-supported programmes.Right:Monique Barbuthas been the CEO andChairperson of the GlobalEnvironment Facilitysince August 2006THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY: A STRATEGIC APPROACH ON CLIMATE CHANGE036FINANCEIMONIQUE BARBUT, CEO AND CHAIRPERSON, GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY (GEF)
FINANCE037countries establish solid market conditions to nurturelow-carbon technologies. These include helping togrow solar power in North Africa, demonstrating hi-tech fuel cell buses in China and Brazil, and deployingwind turbines in Mexico. The GEF also helps countriesspeed market transformation, such as waste-heatrecovery projects in China and Eastern Europe andbuilding standards in Egypt.The GEF plays a special role in the demonstration,deployment and transfer of innovative low-carbontechnologies. The Conference of the Parties approvedthe Poznan Strategic Programme on technologytransfer that included both support to priority pilotprojects and assistance to 35 to 45 developingcountries in developing their Technology NeedsAssessments. In addition, the Conference of theParties specifically requested the GEF to consider thelong term implementation of the Poznan StrategicProgramme on technology transfer: hence technologytransfer is a critical part of the GEF new funding cycle.SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENTAND REDD+The big environmental challenges of our time, whetherit is climate change, biodiversity, land degradation ordepletion of marine resources, are at the heart of ourmission. It takes a synergistic approach betweenenvironmental sectors to multiply positive side effectsand the GEF has been doing this throughout its history.Sustainable Forest Management is one of the key areaswhere the GEF intervention is pivotal to deliver multipleenvironmental benefits. Throughout its history, the GEFhas invested more than US$1.5 billion in forests,complemented by more than $4.5 billion in additionalfinancing: this makes us today the largest financer offorest among multilateral financial institutions. Forests play a critical role in climate change mitigationof land-based emissions. They also harbour asignificant portion of the world's biodiversity wealth andare responsible for the provision of key ecosystemservices, including as buffers against soil degradationand desertification, as well as sustaining the livelihoodsof millions of rural people everywhere. Through suchsynergistic approaches, if the GEF invests one dollar inbiodiversity of forests, the same dollar is simultaneouslyinvested in carbon retention. Like that, with one dollarwe create a two dollar intervention. In this time of limited budgets, this is an importantcomparative advantage and which is at the core of theGEF mandate as the financial mechanism of severalinternational environmental conventions. ADAPTATIONClimate change adaptation has become a global?