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Seven countries to get more targeted support from GEF’s Least Developed Countries Fund

The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), the only dedicated source of climate adaptation support for the world’s smallest and most vulnerable economies, will provide more than $60 million to address urgent needs in Bhutan, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Kiribati, Lesotho, Somalia, and Timor-Leste under its latest work programme.

Sonam P. Wangdi
Mr Sonam P. Wangdi, Chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group

With this latest funding, the LDCF and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) have provided more than $2 billion in targeted support to enhance the climate resilience of developing countries’ agriculture, water, and natural resource management sectors, and to kickstart entrepreneurship and investment in climate adaptation products, services, and technology. These initiatives are said to have reduced the climate vulnerability of 30 million people to date.

“I am very pleased to highlight that the LDCF and SCCF now support an extensive and crucial portfolio on climate resilience, comprising more than 400 approved projects,” Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi, Chair of the Least Developed Countries Group and Secretary to the National Environment Commission of the Kingdom of Bhutan, told the LDCF/SCCF Council meeting.

“The LDCF is very important to us, and we consider this as ‘our’ fund. It is the only fund dedicated to support the LDCs, where we don’t have to compete with other developing countries,” Wangdi said. “We have come a long way and so much has been achieved over this period, however, with increasingly devastating impacts of climate change felt dearly, we must find ways to deepen our proactive adaptation efforts.”

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Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which manages the LDCF and SCCF, said the latest tranche of support would help address developing countries’ rising exposure to the effects of climate change. Still, he stressed to the LDCF/SCCF Council representing 184 member governments that the adaptation financial gap remained “massive,” with consequences for vulnerable people including women, indigenous peoples, and marginalized groups.

“People are falling back into poverty, food insecurity is increasing, and institutions are under great pressure to respond to the dual crises of climate change and COVID-19,” the former Costa Rican environment, energy, and mining minister said. “As there is no vaccine for climate change, the need is stronger than ever before us to assist countries with solutions that can help them adapt, recover, and rebuild their economies for long-term resilience.”

The new LDCF support will be matched by $150 million from other sources, including donor agencies, governments, and GEF agencies.

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The work programme will be implemented in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and UN Development Programme (UNDP).

It includes four climate adaptation projects to be financed by both the Global Environment Facility and the LDCF. These include an adaptive agriculture and rangeland rehabilitation project in Somalia; a sustainable land management and climate adaptation project in Timor-Leste; a water sector climate resilience project in Bhutan; and an integrated landscape management and restoration project in Central African Republic.

The LDCF is also directly supporting increased climate resilience in Eritrea, Kiribati, and Lesotho with support for improved and more sustainable food systems, natural resource management, and protected areas for the benefit of vulnerable communities. The projects align with national priorities and policy approaches related to agriculture, water resources, sustainable land use, and other areas.

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which is having a major impact in many countries, the projects will include the use of virtual meetings and e-platforms for stakeholder consultations; work with local organisations to minimise travel requirements; and incorporate risk mitigation measures in project design. Where possible, training and community mobilisation activities will be held outdoors, with public health messages related to COVID-19 prevention incorporated into the content.

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All seven countries receiving support under this work programme will have reached their $10 million LDCF cap which has been set for the GEF-7 funding period, which spans July 2018 to June 2022. Five countries – Bhutan, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Lesotho, and Somalia – are accessing LDCF funds for the first time in the GEF-7 period. Prior to this work programme, Eritrea and Central African Republic had the lowest and second-lowest cumulative LDCF access levels among eligible countries.

The GEF says it is working to ensure that all eligible countries access LDCF funding for climate adaptation projects by the end of GEF-7 in June 2022, “to leave no LDC behind.”

Four countries – Comoros, Madagascar, Niger, and Sao Tome and Principe – have not yet received LDCF support in this cycle

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