Additional funds will help protect forest conservation, fight chemical and plastic pollution and restore ecosystems to foster sustainable and low-carbon business practices by local communities. Credit: UNDP Mozambique. - Photo: 2023

UNDP: “A Record $500 Million” to Help Combat Biodiversity Loss and Climate Change

Paris Agreement Committed a Minimum of $100 Billion Annually

By Ramesh Jaura

BERLIN | NEW YORK 5 July 2023 (IDN) — Though only a drop in the ocean, as part of its rapid response to environmental crises around the world, such as biodiversity loss and climate change, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has decided to establish what is being described as a “game-changing” US$1.4 billion new fund to put nature on a recovery path by the end of this decade. The program aims to benefit 14 million people worldwide, over half of whom will be women disproportionately impacted by planetary crises.

GEF, the largest source of multilateral funding, will provide over US$500 million to 88 developing countries through UNDP, United Nations Development Agency. Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States will be beneficiaries of this “milestone UNDP-GEF Partnership”.

In contrast, the pledge to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 in support of climate action in developing countries has been central to climate accords since 2009 and is an important symbol of trust. The mobilization of the $100 billion was later enshrined in the legally binding Paris Agreement.

Assessments by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) estimate adaptation costs faced by developing countries to be in a range of $140 billion to $300 billion per year by 2030, and $280 billion to $500 billion annually by 2050.

GEF was established ahead of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and includes 184 countries in partnership with international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector. It supports country-driven sustainable development initiatives in developing countries that generate global environmental benefits.

As the lead agency for the Fund’s Blue and Green Islands Integrated Program, UNDP, with support from United Nations agencies and development partners, will help countries to use the resources to address intense environmental and socioeconomic shocks faced by people on the frontlines of nature loss and the climate crisis.

UNDP will also help to operationalize GEF’s Small Grants Programme, a key channel for supporting local communities, indigenous people and youth on environmental stewardship.

The new funding will align with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) targets for nature, intensifying efforts to finance from the public and private sectors and tackle biodiversity loss and climate change mitigation as a priority.

Adequate resources will help protest forest conservation, fight against chemical and plastic pollution, and restoration of ecosystems, catalyzing sustainable blue and green pathways towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) adopted the GBF following a four-year consultation and negotiation process. This historic Framework supports the achievement of the SDGs and builds on the Convention’s previous Strategic Plans. Furthermore, it sets out an ambitious pathway to reach the global vision of a world living in harmony with nature by 2050. Among the Framework’s key elements are four goals for 2050 and 23 targets for 2030.

These include an enhanced mechanism for planning, monitoring, reporting and reviewing implementation, the necessary financial resources for implementation, strategic frameworks for capacity development and technical and scientific cooperation, and an agreement on digital sequence information on genetic resources.

“This groundbreaking funding is critical to support countries to urgently restore and manage biodiversity while adapting to a changing climate,” said Haoliang Xu, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Programme and Policy Support.

UNDP’s support to countries aims to set the stage to unravel an additional US$9 billion in capital across 88 countries, from the public sector, private sector and development banks, by de-risking policy and providing incentives.

UNDP expects this, in turn, to assist businesses and Small and Medium Enterprises to thrive and transition towards more resilient, sustainable and low-carbon business practices. Besides, communities will receive more support to seize opportunities and protect and restore natural resources, nurturing biodiversity hotspots of global importance.

The new work programme underscores the collective strength of the GEF partnership and the unique expertise and geographical coverage members bring to the table. It includes over $137 million for the UNDP-implemented Small Grants Programme. It builds on more than 30 years of work to channel funding directly to indigenous and other local communities, driving locally-led action to enhance well-being and socioeconomic and environmental benefits.

Mr Houmed M’Saidié, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, the Environment, Tourism and Handicrafts and Government Spokesperson of the Union of Comoros, said: “As part of the “One Comorian, One Tree” reforestation campaign, UNDP has helped the government protect watersheds and exceptional marine and terrestrial biodiversity and meet Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contributions.

The Comoro Islands or Comoros constitute an archipelago of volcanic islands situated off the south-eastern coast of Africa, east of Mozambique and northwest of Madagascar. The islands are politically divided between the Union of Comoros, a sovereign country, and Mayotte, an Overseas Department of France.

This support is critical for vulnerable countries to scale up existing successes and tackle grave climate threats through sustainable and climate-resilient agricultural and water management practices. It will minimize harmful land use such as deforestation, and encourage restoration and ecosystem protection instead, to build a more resilient future and ensure that one is left behind for generations to come, Mr M’Saidié added.

For Djibouti, a country in the Horn of Africa, UNDP’s aid through its partnership with GEF and other global funds, such as the Green Climate Fund, is indispensable. It has been instrumental, both in the short-term, to scale up and expand areas of marine biodiversity under protection and in the long-term, to improve the management and monitoring of marine protected areas to ensure essential ecosystems remain beneficial, economically and socially, for future generations.

The decision of the 64th Council Meeting from 26 to 29 June in Brazil is a stepping-stone to the once-every-four-years GEF Assembly in Vancouver from 22-26 August. A Global Biodiversity Framework Fund will be launched at the Assembly, bringing together government, business, and civil society representatives from the GEF’s 185 member countries, emphasizing young people. The Work Program for GEF Trust Fund document is available here. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Photo: Additional funds will help protect forest conservation, fight chemical and plastic pollution and restore ecosystems to foster sustainable and low-carbon business practices by local communities. Credit: UNDP Mozambique.

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