The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) was established in 1991 to provide donations and assistance in projects which would help protect "global environmental benefits." Today, 183 countries are members of GEF, of which 39 are donors, financing projects in focal areas of the Fund: biodiversity, climate change, international waters, degradation of the soil, chemicals, and the sustainable management of woodland/REDD+.

GEF operates in four-year cycles, in preparation for which it pursues a strategy for replacement of resources. Donors undertake to earmark a given amount of money for each period. For the period the current period (GEF-5), financial commitments were obtained for a total of USD4.2 billion.. Based on GEF-4, each receiving country receives a given us amount of money for the windows of biodiversity, soil degradation and climate change, calculated on the basis of pre-set criteria. In GEF-5, this amount will be known as the System for Transparent Allocation of Resources - STAR – within which Colombia as an allocation of USD3,360,000.

Further, the GEF works as a financial mechanism for the following multilateral environmental treaties:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • United Nations Convention on the Fight against Desertification-UNCCD
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change-UNFCCC.
  • Montréal Protocol on Substances that Deplete Ozone (applies only to the implementation of the protocol for countries with economies in transition).
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury (amongst other financial mechanisms).

Colombia forms part of the group formed with Brazil and Ecuador, and between 2011 and 2012, Colombia was the member representing that group in the GEF Council. During that time, Colombia aimed to secure transparency in the allocation of resources, and assumed leadership for the Region promoting improvement in the process of access to financing. Colombia is currently acting as an adviser, and Ecuador as a Council Member.

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