This week, the leadership and member countries of the Global Environment Facility meet in Mexico with a strong mandate – nearly $4.5 billion in pledges, a record level, to support developing countries as they work to prevent the degradation of the world’s environment.
The World Bank Group helped establish the Global Environment Facility more than 20 years ago and is one of its longest standing partners. Through that relationship, it has been helping countries tackle some of the world’s most complex global environmental risks, from dealing with the effects of climate change to stemming the loss of biological diversity, reinvigorating the health of international waters, halting the encroachment of land degradation and desertification, and eliminating the proliferation of persistent organic pollutants and toxic chemicals like mercury.
GEF grants channeled through the World Bank Group have helped China grow global markets for renewable energy and plan climate-smart cities. In Shanghai, one WBG-GEF project is helping design a low-carbon district that would retrofit buildings to pilot green energy and zero-emissions buildings. The project’s $4.3 million GEF grant is bolstered by a $100 million loan from the World Bank.
In Africa and Eastern Europe, GEF-funding has helped to clean up stockpiles of pesticides and other hazardous chemicals. In Vanuatu, a Pacific island nation at high risk of natural disasters, the program has pulled in additional support from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) to help build community and agriculture resilience to climate change and preparedness for disasters.
Those are just a few examples of the WBG-GEF program’s work, described in greater depth in the new publication When Foundational Acts Generate Significant Impacts. Since its start in 1991, the WBG-GEF program has launched more than 790 projects in 120 countries.