The 7th Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) made a historic decision by approving the creation and initial funding of the new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF). This fund is intended to support the implementation of the goals outlined in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
The initial contributions for the GBFF are set at $200 million from at least three donors by December 2023. While this is a welcome start, an additional $40 million is still needed to fully operationalize the fund by the end of 2023.
A key aspect of the GBFF is that it aims to allocate 20% of the total funding directly to Indigenous Peoples for their conservation efforts. However, this is currently only an “aspirational” target. Conservation advocates urge the GEF Assembly and Council to make the 20% share an official policy to ensure robust financial support empowers Indigenous-led environmental initiatives.
Indigenous communities have deep traditional knowledge and long-standing practices of ecosystem management and land stewardship. Their territories remain the most biodiverse and least degraded. Indigenous-led strategies must be at the heart of global conservation policymaking and programming. Direct involvement of Indigenous Peoples is vital to achieving the targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework.
The devastating wildfires raging in regions around the world underscore the urgency of this issue. Indigenous fire management expertise could play a critical role in preventing and mitigating wildfire crises. Indigenous communities on the frontlines of climate change impacts need funding to execute their effective environmental management practices.
The GBFF represents an opportunity to renew our response to the environmental challenges facing vulnerable populations. To avoid irreversible biodiversity loss, the GEF must act decisively now to facilitate direct access to funding for Indigenous Peoples and harness their traditional knowledge to shape sustainable conservation policies.
The world cannot afford to miss the golden opportunity to establish a fair, equitable, and effective mechanism to directly fund the communities that are on the frontlines of the climate and biodiversity crises.