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World gathers to tackle climate change challenges

IANS  |  Da Nang (Vietnam) 

leaders and officials from over 100 nations, including India, top heads of UN agencies and multilateral financial institutions, scientists and activists gathered in this Vietnamese city on Sunday for the Global Facility's (GEF) Assembly to

One of the most significant global gatherings of the year on the environment, the assembly, which will see high-level plenary sessions June 27-28, follows a record $4.1 billion replenishment by governments of the GEF's trust fund and is testament to its growing influence in bringing about sustainable development around the

India, among the world's most vulnerable countries to climate change, is both a donor and a recipient of GEF, an international partnership of 183 countries.

and Chairperson called the assembly, held every four years, "a unique opportunity to help make a safer, more secure and more liveable planet".

"Business as usual will guarantee disaster; incremental change will not suffice. The only solution is transformational change. We need to transform food, urban and systems and move to a circular economy.

"We need to act swiftly and at scale -- and that's just what the intends to do," she said in a statement.

The plenary sessions, to be opened by Vietnamese address on June 27, will cover the state of the global environment, the ambition needed to help transform the systems that support how we live, how we eat, how we move and how we produce and consume, and how the implementation of GEF-7 (the new four-year investment cycle) can contribute to the necessary systems change.

Heads of island nations vulnerable to rising sea levels caused by melting ice, like the and David Granger, will speak at plenary sessions as will former Chilean and former Costa Rican President

Nearly 30 countries last month jointly pledged $4.1 billion to the for its GEF-7 to better protect the future of the planet and human well-being.

is among the largest recipients of climate change assistance.

GEF supports the Bank and the Development Programme to undertake capacity-building in a wide range of areas in India, including climate change adaptation, sustainable land and ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation and rural livelihoods.

is one the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases after the US and

According to the UN Environment, with a population of 1.3 billion, growing at 1.2 per cent per year, is a heavy hitter in the world of global emissions.

The sector accounts for some 71 per cent of India's emissions, a fact the government is committed to changing through an aggressive roll out of efficiency programmes, including a plan to be the world's first country to use light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, for all its lighting needs.

The UN and partners are backing India's green ambitions through Creating and Sustaining Markets for Energy Efficiency, a GEF-supported project to boost the uptake of efficient lighting and other technologies.

Last November, the GEF announced $454 million funding to boost India's efforts for energy-efficiency projects run by state-owned (EESL).

The GEF also supports the to create sustainable cities.

city in is an example where the GEF, together with the Industrial Development Organisation, invested in cleaning up and removing a 40-year-old toxic dumpsite, and with the World Bank, providing for sustainable transport.

"Countries like India, and have hundreds of cities. If the knowledge of this global partnership can be adapted, disseminated and used by national and local governments, then a lot of influence will move from 20 cities to hundred of cities in the world," Senior said in a video message.

GEF's Sustainable Cities Programme is investing $151.6 million in grants and $2.4 billion in co-financing over five years, initially engaging 28 cities in 11 developing countries.

Apart from three high-level plenary sessions in the GEF Assembly, there will be roundtable discussions, among others, on food, land use and restoration, sustainable cities, the blue economy, partnerships for implementing the 2030 agenda, and sustainable landscapes in the and basins.

The assembly will also see the participation of business leaders such as and

Among the participants are Johan RockstrAm, Executive Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre; Andrew Steer, President and CEO, World Resources Intitute; Shenggen Fan, General, International Policy Research Institute; Rosa Lemos de SAi, CEO, Funbio; and Carter Roberts, President,

GEF, established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle planet's most pressing environmental problems, has provided $17.9 billion in grants and mobilised an additional $93.2 billion in financing for more than 4,500 projects in 170 countries.

(is in Da Nang for the Internews' Earth Journalism Network Biodiversity Fellowship Programme at the Sixth Facility (GEF) Assembly. He can be reached at



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, June 24 2018. 15:00 IST