New GEF funds scales up ambition to get ahead of the triple planetary crisis

New GEF funds scales up ambition to get ahead of the triple planetary crisis

In a pivotal moment for countries supported by UNDP, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has approved US$208 million in finance to fast-track global action on nature and biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution control. 

The funding will be deployed by UNDP to 20 countries, including eight Fragile States, seven Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and two Small Island Development States (SIDS), to tackle urgent and complex environmental challenges in a holistic way. 

The new funds, overseen by UNDP, are anticipated to benefit over five million people –with a special focus on vulnerable populations– and to crowd in additional financing. Alongside the GEF, the private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations and local communities, UNDP will focus on aiding countries to curb coastal pollution, transform food systems, and bolster wildlife and biodiversity conservation efforts. 

With a portfolio of over US$5 billion to support action on sustainable nature, climate and energy transitions, UNDP will now work side-by-side with key stakeholders at the national and sub-national level, as well as other partners to assist each country to undertake in-depth designs of each project for early implementation. With coherence and complementarity, the priority is to fast-track finance to the frontlines of the nature and climate crises. 

“We are pleased that the support extended by UNDP on behalf of the governments for the countries we serve, has resulted in game-changing commitments from the Global Environment Facility. This decision by the GEF Council creates an opportunity for the global community to work together to ramp up ambition and get ahead of the triple-planetary crisis. Especially during this pivotal year, we look forward to continuing working with countries and our dedicated partners globally to scale up action,” stated Marcos Neto, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support. 

New UNDP approved-projects tackle a broad range of challenges, from amplifying climate-resilient renewable energy for low-income households and storm shelters in Antigua and Barbuda; to supporting e-waste management in India. 

The recent investment augments UNDP’s ongoing work on the Climate Promise, Nature Pledge, and the initiatives of UNDP’s Sustainable Energy Hub to enable 500 million additional people to have access to sustainable, affordable, and reliable energy by 2025. 

Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, UNDP Director and Executive Coordinator of Environmental Finance said: “These new funds come at a time when urgent action is needed on several fronts, and the high standards we have put in place to deploy support where it is needed most have been recognised by the GEF council.” 

Additional support will also be channeled to Small Island Developing States grappling with natural disasters and countries facing fragility. These efforts not only build local resilience; they also protect global assets. In Madagascar for example, new efforts to curb coastal pollution will benefit one of the world’s large marine ecosystems, and contribute to lifting the ecological, social, and economic well-being of people in the country. 

 “We are proud to note that all recently approved UNDP projects involve local communities. Supporting local and national institutions, equipping them with technical tools, technologies, and practices is crucial to succeed,” he added. “Local action has never been more critical to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This new finance will help us drive local action at every level to meet global targets and create a sustainable world for all.”

The GEF Council met in Washington DC during the week of February 5, to approve funding for 45 projects and programs, including four blended finance initiatives involving the private sector. The GEF’s 186-member governments allocated US$916 million for international action on biodiversity, climate change, nature renewal, and pollution control, including US$530 million for five Integrated Programs. 

Finance packages are expected to exceed US$1 billion this week when the Council considers another US$203 million from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF). The new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund Council is also meeting for the first time this week, to advance 21 of the 23 targets in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.


UNDP is the leading United Nations organisation fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet. Learn more at or follow at @UNDP. 

About The GEF  

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a family of funds dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health. Its grants, blended financing, and policy support helps developing countries address their biggest environmental priorities and adhere to international environmental conventions. Over the past three decades, the GEF has provided more than US$22 billion and mobilised US$120 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 national and regional projects.

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