This week, from August 22 to 26, 2023, Canada is hosting the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Vancouver, British Columbia. The GEF Assembly, which meets every four years, is a global body that coordinates financing for international efforts to address climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health.

Ahmed Hussen, Minister of International Development, chair and co-host of the GEF Assembly, is hositng up to 1,500 participants from Canada and 185 other countries, including environmental leaders, government ministers and representatives of international organizations, Indigenous communities, young people, businesses, academia and civil society.

Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, issued the following statement yesterday:

“The world is being confronted by the triple crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. These are crises that know no geopolitical borders and require urgent international cooperation. Today, we brought together environmental Ministers and representatives from around the world, representing Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and the Americas, for the first major meeting on biodiversity since the breakthrough COP15 last December in Montréal. I am deeply encouraged by what we accomplished.

First, we have frankly assessed both the successes and setbacks for biodiversity. By harnessing our collective knowledge and expertise to enhance our national strategies, literacy, and action plans, we have reaffirmed our shared commitment to update these strategies and plans as we move toward COP16.

Second, we shared practical experiences on the implementation of the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework, including mobilizing resources from all sources through engagement of industry, the finance sector, philanthropy, and other key actors. Governments alone cannot protect and restore biodiversity. Everyone must be part of the solution.

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Finally, we’ve agreed to form a Nature Champions Network for the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework; these champions will be instrumental in promoting our continued momentum toward halting and reversing biodiversity loss to achieve our global goals and targets.

The Nature Champions Network will focus on growing international awareness, and fostering understanding of the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework and the critical role that biodiversity plays in achieving many of our global aspirations. We strive to convene regularly to share progress, and lessons learned, in implementing the Global Biodiversity Framework.

It will also help keep up the pressure so we can deliver updated strategies and action plans by COP16, ensure their implementation, and ultimately halt and reverse the loss of nature by 2030. I know my fellow champions and I can count on everyone’s full support.”

Highlights and images for GEF 2023 (iisd.org)

Featured image credit: Government of Canada

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