Bali, November 30, 2007- The world's largest environmental funding body, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), stands ready to build on its past experience working with the most vulnerable countries that seek market-driven sustainable ways to adjust to climate change today.
"Governments across the globe now accept that immediate action is needed to adapt to climate change; at the GEF this has been a concern for years and we have proven experience financing sustainable development projects that help countries focus on ways to lighten the carbon footprint," said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson.
"Long before 'climate proofing' was in the headlines, GEF was there, implementing adaptations projects on the ground."
Barbut noted that in GEF's well-established role as the independent financial mechanism for the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the institution has already moved from assessment to adaptation action, with a pipeline of projects and operational guidelines in place for stakeholders.
Based on GEF's past experience, there are three key lessons policymakers should consider, Barbut offered:
* The capacity and knowledge baseline significantly varies among countries. However, all countries, including the most vulnerable nations, have enough information to start implementing adaptation actions today.
*Climate change impacts all development sectors. GEF adaptation projects aim to ensure food security, access to water, sound public health, coastal infrastructure and other basic needs.
* A significant scaling up of adaptation experiences and much greater resources are needed.
"In this context, as the Conference debates the management of a new fund on adaptation, I am glad to report that our GEF Council asked me to relay to the COP the GEF's willingness to serve as the Secretariat for the Adaptation Fund and to be guided by COP decisions. This fund is essential because it opens opportunities for more robust financing for this critical issue," Barbut said.