The Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) member countries will meet during June to consider allocating more than $700 million in grants for diverse environmental initiatives in developing countries, including the first-ever projects financed by the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund and large programs focused on land health, chemicals, and cities.

In back-to-back Council meetings of the GEF Trust Fund, Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund, and Special Climate Change Fund, representatives of the 186 governments are set to build on efforts to ensure donor funding moves quickly and efficiently to reach areas of greatest need for the planet.

“The GEF family of funds is uniquely placed to deliver this diverse set of support where it is most needed – from small islands to the high seas, from cities to the desert,” said Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF. “We are committed to working in an integrated, inclusive way to deliver lasting impact across all six multilateral environmental conventions we serve, and in all developing countries where the GEF is supporting action with strategic funding.”

The nearly US$500 million GEF Trust Fund work program is set to unlock another $5.8 billion in co-financing from other sources. The GEF Trust Fund package covers 65 countries, including 18 Least Developed Countries and 16 Small Island Developing States, with a total of 25 projects and programs that span all five focal areas of the GEF’s operations.

If approved, the GEF Trust Fund work program would support 28 million hectares of land and marine areas for biodiversity benefits, contributing towards Global Biodiversity Framework targets including the goal to protect 30 percent of land territory by 2030. This includes 2.6 million hectares of protected areas and 7 million hectares of landscapes in countries of the Sahel through the regional program Transformation Approach to Large Scale Investment in Support of the Implementation of the Great Green Wall Initiative, plus the Improved Management and Conservation of Wetlands in Yemen’s Socotra Archipelago and Aden Wetlands.

Image: Dragon Blood Trees on the Socotran Archipelago of Yemen