Vancouver, 27 September 2023 (TDI): A significant event took place as high-level environmental policymakers from more than 100 countries convened for a quadrennial meeting known as the Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in Vancouver Canada.
During this global gathering, participants collectively assessed the environmental challenges states confront and deliberated on potential remedies.
The United States Acting Assistant Secretary Jennifer R. Littlejohn headed the United States delegation at this event, which yielded substantial outcomes concerning international backing for biodiversity, marine preservation, and efforts to combat crimes against nature.
An essential outcome of the Assembly was the initiation of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund. This newly established funding source aimed to assist governments in their endeavors to preserve, safeguard, and rehabilitate nature on a global scale.
In addition, it sought to drive efforts to address pollution, combat nature depletion, confront the climate crisis, and promote inclusive, community-driven conservation.
Moreover, the Fund was established to facilitate the realization of the ambitious objectives and milestones outlined in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which was adopted in the 15th Conference of the Parties of the Convention for Biological Diversity in 2022.
During the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly, nations solidified the GEF’s role as one of the primary financial backers for the execution of the groundbreaking High Seas Treaty.
Simultaneously, this historic agreement introduced a framework for the establishment of marine protected areas in international waters, marking a significant milestone.
Following the decision made at the GEF Assembly and once the High Seas Treaty becomes operational, the GEF will increase its financial contributions to strengthen global capabilities for preserving and utilizing high seas biodiversity.
This includes the establishment of marine protected areas and support for initiatives focused on conservation and sustainable use, especially those led by Indigenous Peoples and local communities.
Furthermore, the US in partnership with the government of Norway, the World Resources Institute (WRI), and various stakeholders, initiated the Nature Crime Alliance during the GEF Assembly.
This alliance represented a worldwide, cooperative effort aimed at generating political support, securing financial commitments, and strengthening operational capabilities to combat offenses against nature, like illegal wildlife, timber trade, illicit mining, and fishing crimes.
The US announced itself as an advocate of conservation and on the domestic level it has been striving to fulfill its 30×30 pledge, aiming to protect a minimum of 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.
On the global front, the US pledged to maintain its position as one of the largest contributors to both the GEF and conservation initiatives. The US proclaimed that it is crucial to work together to protect and restore the ecosystems, water resources, and wildlife that are vital to all.