COP23 opens in Bonn with focus on raising ambition and building resilience

November 6, 2017

Aerial view of densely populated narrow island in Pacific Ocean
The 23rd UNFCCC Conference of the Parties is hosted by Fiji and taking place in Bonn, Germany from November 6-17, 2017. The GEF serves as a financial mechanism of the Convention, and is participating in numerous events during the conference.

The 23rd Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 23), also known as the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference, is underway in Bonn, Germany.  According to the UNFCCC, the meeting aims to launch nations towards the next level of ambition needed to tackle global warming and put the world on a safer and more prosperous development path.

The two-week meeting, which ends November 17, is expected to advance the goals of the Paris Agreement which also confirmed the role and contribution of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to address climate change as part of the financial mechanism of the convention.  

Since 2015, the GEF has moved swiftly to assist countries in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, including establishing a Capacity-Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) to support openness and delivery of national climate plans. To date, $56 million has been pledged by donors to the CBIT Trust Fund, and 15 projects have been approved supported by $18 million in GEF grants.

The Bonn Conference, says UNFCCC, will also further fuel momentum among cities, states, regions, territories, business and civil society in support of national climate action plans, the internationally-agreed temperature goal and the wider objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama, will preside over the COP. In a year where extreme weather events have devastated the lives of millions of people around the world, Fiji holding the COP23 Presidency is a reminder of the risks facing some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change: least developed countries (LDCs) and small island developing states (SIDS).

Addressing the urgent and immediate needs of the most vulnerable countries continues to be a priority for the GEF. At the forefront of international efforts to strengthen the resilience of developing countries to climate change, the GEF channels support mainly through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF).

Expecting to deliver benefits to 25 million people through past and current projects, the two funds support some of the most impactful adaptation projects in the developing world.  A new brochure prepared for the Bonn meeting highlights how these funds are helping to lower disaster risk by enhancing the climate resilience of critical infrastructure and piloting innovative risk transfer mechanisms. In 2017 alone, the GEF Council approved $140 million in grant resources from the LDCF for projects in 19 of the poorest countries in the world.

At the opening of the COP, the German government announced €100 million to support developing countries in climate change adaptation. The Federal Environment Ministry pledged €50 million euros to the Adaptation Fund, and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is contributing €50 million euros to the LDCF. 

The GEF @ COP23

The GEF has a proven track record of working with partners to deliver solutions and action on the ground in support of climate mitigation and adaptation. In Bonn, the GEF will be participating in a wide range of events on topics ranging from sustainable forest management to enabling activities, capacity building, transparency, technology transfer, innovation and climate finance. 

The GEF will update delegations on progress with the CBIT.

The GEF is also promoting low-carbon and climate resilient development in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund. A joint COP 23 side event will provide an opportunity to explore the strategic ways for the entities to maximize opportunities for synergy.

Additionally, ahead of the GEF 7 replenishment cycle, which begins in July 2018, the GEF will also host a side event on lessons learned from the Integrated Approach Pilots in GEF 6.

See additional side event information.