Ottawa, Jun 6 (IANS): As the world experiences the triple crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, Canada continues to show leadership in advancing environmental action at home and around the world by bringing diverse partners together to find solutions for a healthy planet.
Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency, Harjit S. Sajjan, announced on World Environment Day, which was celebrated on June 5, that Canada will host the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Vancouver, British Columbia, from August 22 to 26.
After welcoming the world to Montreal, Quebec, for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) in December 2022, a conference marked by historic progress on protecting nature globally and agreeing to biodiversity financing, Canada continues its leadership as the host of the GEF Assembly this summer.
The GEF Assembly, which meets every four years, is the global body that coordinates financing for international efforts to address climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health.
This meeting will bring together environmental leaders from 185 countries, including government ministers and representatives of international organizations, businesses, academia and civil society, as well as facilitating engagement with and input from Indigenous Peoples, women and young people.
The meeting comes at a time of significant diplomatic momentum with the historic Global Biodiversity Framework deal reached at COP15 and the high seas treaty agreed on in New York City in March.
This momentum will continue to build at the GEF Assembly, during which a key expected outcome is the launch of the new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, a critically needed source of funding for the protection of endangered species and their ecosystems.
Its establishment could open new avenues for private sector and philanthropic support for nature. The GEF, based in Washington, was selected to manage this new fund at COP15.
Canada is a founding member of the GEF, Canada's primary mechanism for helping developing countries address climate change. At COP15, Canada announced it would provide $219 million between 2022 and 2026 to the GEF's eighth replenishment to support developing countries' efforts to address global environmental challenges and meet their commitments under international environmental conventions.
Canada also committed $350 million in new and additional funding to support developing countries in conserving biodiversity and to support the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.
In June 2021, Canada also doubled its climate finance commitment to $5.3 billion over five years (2021 to 2026) to support developing countries' transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient, nature-positive and inclusive sustainable development.
"On the momentous occasion of World Environment Day's 50th anniversary, I am honoured to announce that Canada will be hosting the GEF Assembly in Vancouver,a Indo-Canadian Sajjan said.
"Canada believes in the power of collaboration and inclusivity as the only way to build a more resilient future for everyone. Protecting our world's nature, rivers, lakes, oceans and wildlife will ensure a healthy planet and healthy people. We look forward to working with international partners, Indigenous Peoples and youth to find innovative solutions to our shared environmental challenges and provide support to developing countries in their climate adaptation efforts."
"We are delighted to be holding the Seventh GEF Assembly in Canada, whose steady leadership in environmental diplomacy has yielded enormous benefits around the world. This gathering of the GEF's member governments and diverse partners gives us a unique chance to build on recent breakthroughs, including long-sought agreements on biodiversity and the high seas, and ensure that the urgent environmental challenges we face are addressed in an inclusive and integrated way," GEF CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodriguez said.
"This conference will serve as a platform to unite and inspire global leaders, experts and stakeholders. It provides an important opportunity for Canada to build on the momentum gained at COP15, where a historic agreement was reached to safeguard nature and halt and reverse biodiversity loss. Together, we will explore strategies, share best practices and forge partnerships to tackle the pressing environmental challenges we face and to promote the use of nature-based solutions in support of the poorest and most vulnerable countries impacted by climate change. By harnessing our collective strengths and empowering diverse voices, we can make a profound and lasting impact on our planet," added Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Steven Guilbeault.