Based in Washington, D.C., the Global Environment Facility (GEF) grew from a pilot program of the World Bank to become the single largest source of funding for the global environment. Since 1994, its mandate has been to focus on achieving global environmental benefits. The GEF also helps to address the development goals of poor countries by responding to environmental priorities in six areas:
Canada, through CIDA, has been a strong supporter of the GEF since its creation and is the sixth largest donor. Canada's contribution to the GEF fulfills its obligations to help developing countries implement key global environmental agreements.
The GEF is an umbrella organization that builds on the comparative advantages of 10 existing agencies:
One of the GEF's major strengths is its ability to support activities in recipient countries that, within the context of their sustainable development needs, can help meet their commitments to more than one global environment convention. These include:
Although the mandate of the GEF is to focus on global environmental benefits rather than directly on development results or poverty reduction, GEF-funded projects and programs align closely with CIDA's three priority themes: increasing food security, stimulating sustainable economic growth, and securing the future of children and youth.
The GEF's focus on water management, biodiversity conservation, land degradation, and deforestation prevention contribute to increasing food security.
The GEF's investments in developing energy-efficient technologies reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote green investments, and increase local economic development opportunities.
The GEF's focus on a healthy environment containing fewer persistent organic pollutants and ozone-depleting substances is critical for the well-being of citizen and especially in securing the future of children and youth.
CIDA's work with the GEF focuses on two strategic objectives:
As of 2012, with the support of CIDA and other donors, the GEF has: