The eighth replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will take place in an international context that is very difficult to predict and navigate. The global environment continues on a downward trend, and more than a decade after the financial crisis of 2008, the world economy is still struggling with slow growth and constrained government budgets. The current global pandemic will place additional pressure on budgets at all levels of country governments, possibly contributing to another global recession. The pandemic has also brought home the fact that haphazard expansion of human activities and destruction of natural habitats can lead to severe, unexpected consequences.
Several other global challenges exist that will require significant public-private cooperation to address (World Economic Forum 2020). These challenges include a global population increase of 2 billion by 2050 accompanied by a rapid increase in the global middle class—3 billion in the next two decades—rapidly growing unemployment, income and wealth inequality within and across countries, and agrarian stress. These trends will require the world to meet increased demands for food, energy, human habitat, transportation, and more—all placing direct pressure on the global environment. Further, the international environmental architecture of conventions, funds, programs, and donors continues to show increasing fragmentation, making it more difficult to coordinate and harmonize funding for the implementation of environmental activities globally.
NOTE: This is an ongoing evaluation. The approach paper will be uploaded after the GEF Council presentation (Spring 2020).