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GEF CEO says time has come to rethink GEF’s mandate and change its focus

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, GEF CEO and Chairperso. PHOTO/ENB

By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN

newshub@eyewitness.africa

There is urgent need to rethink how the Global Environment Facility (GEF) works by recognizing the need for whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, GEF CEO and Chairperson, has said

Rodríguez said by discussing what each means and embedding that understanding in the next GEF replenishment was crucial in fulfilling GEF’s mandate of averting environmental crises.

Speaking during the opening of the Youth Leaders Learning Exchange at the 7Th GEF Assembly, Rodríguez, stressed that “we have failed” the planet in that the Assembly is being held in the middle of environmental crises the GEF was created to avert.

“I urge rethinking how the GEF works, recognizing the need for whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches, discussing what each means, and embedding that understanding in the next GEF replenishment,” he noted as reported by Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

René van Hell, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Netherlands, expressed full support for Rodríguez’s efforts. Van Hell said his country embraces the whole-of-society and whole-of-government approaches by focusing on water and how it can prompt the transformative change needed for other issues.

Rosina Bierbaum, Chair, GEF STAP, said GEF projects need to explicitly account for behavioral change, seek policy coherence, involve communities in decision making, and incorporate systems thinking.

Youth Panelist during the 7Th GEF Assembly. PHOTO/ENB

During the Youth Leaders Learning Exchange panel, youth leaders called for greater representation in decision-making, channeling passion and anger to influence change, and teaching compassion to combat apathy. They urged working collectively instead of competing with each other.

Rodriguez opened the Dialogue with Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) Secretariats and the GEF, setting the expectation that everything is open for discussion, in terms of the GEF business model, regulations, and rules. Panelists from the Secretariats of every MEA the GEF serves spoke to key Convention outcomes and expectations for GEF support.

The Indigenous and Local Knowledge session looked at contributions Indigenous Peoples and local communities can make and how to increase these contributions.

The session on the Arctic and the North explored the role of indigenous knowledge, specifically the way it connects Indigenous Peoples and informs design and science on climate change adaptation.

Similarly, the session on the Amazon explored the way conservation connects community-based initiatives for the sustainable management of fisheries.

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