Financial Mechanism and Resources

T8 (Climate and Biodiversity): How to Use GEF and GCF Funding

This page aims to provide information regarding the minimization of the impact of climate change and ocean acidification on biodiversity and increase its resilience for recipient Parties and relevant stakeholders, including how to access funding of the Global Environment Facility in this regard. It is a work in progress and will be updated as necessary.

Multiple threats continue to affect coral reefs and other vulnerable ecosystems impacted by climate change and ocean acidification. Overfishing, nutrient pollution and coastal development compound the effects of coral bleaching. Corals have shown the most rapid increase in extinction risk of all assessed groups. Hard coral cover has declined significantly in some regions, and there has been a shift towards coral species less able to support diverse reef habitats. Other ecosystems especially in mountains and polar regions have experienced significant impacts from climate change, compounded by other pressures. Reported actions included: Adoption of national policy instruments focused on the health of coral reef systems and the sustainable use of the services they provide; Actions to reduce pollution, including from plastics and excess nutrients; Promotion of restoration and conservation of vulnerable ecosystems in national policies and plans; Supporting research and capacity-building

Financial support of the Global Environment Facility

GEF-financed projects on biodiversity and climate change

  • Amazon, Congo, and Critical Forest Biomes
  • Ecosystem Restoration
  • Blue Green Islands
  • Net Zero Nature Positive Accelerator
  • BDFA: Objective One
  • CCFA: Objective 1.4


In the early 2000, the risks of climate change were considered in relation to coral reefs (decision V/3) and to forest ecosystems (decision V/4). The attention was paid to assessment of the interlinkages between biodiversity and climate change. In decision VII/15, the Conference of the Parties established a research agenda to initiate its work on climate change and biodiversity, and took, as an entry point, synergy among activities to address climate change, including activities to combat desertification and land degradation, and activities for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. As a result, decision VIII/30 provided guidance to promote synergy among activities for biodiversity conservation, mitigating or adapting to climate change and combating land degradation. Decision IX/16 further developed options for mutually supportive actions addressing climate change within the three Rio Conventions, including in the following areas: Collaboration amongst national focal points; Cooperation on national-level planning; Collaboration at the level of convention bodies and secretariats; Technology transfer; Forests and climate change. Climate-change adaptation; Capacity-building; Research and monitoring/systematic observation; Information exchange and outreach; and Harmonized reporting. The ninth Conference of the Parties also started to look into proposals for the integration of climate-change activities within the programmes of work of the Convention; Ocean Fertilization; Peatlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change.

In conjunction with the adoption of the Global Biodiversity Strategy 2011-2020, the Conference of the Parties, through decision X/33, agreed to a list of 26 national action points to address climate changes, including in the areas of: Assessing the impacts of climate change on biodiversity; Reducing the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and biodiversity-based livelihoods; Ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation; Ecosystem-based approaches for mitigation; Reducing biodiversity impacts of climate change mitigation and adaptation measures; Valuation and incentive measures.

New approaches were explored in the 2010s. The first front was to apply, as provided in decision XI/19, relevant safeguards for biodiversity with regard to policy approaches and positive incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries; and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries; as well as integrating biodiversity considerations into climate-change related activities, as called for in decision XI/21. The second front was to explore an integrated approach to addressing biodiversity and climate change and disaster risk reduction in decision XII/20, XIII/4 and 14/5. In decision 14/5, the Conference of the Parties adopted the voluntary guidelines for the design and effective implementation of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

In decision 15/30, the Conference of the Parties has initiated a new round of view and information collection on biodiversity and climate change for the new decade, including nature-based solution and/or ecosystem-based approaches, and minimizing negative and fostering positive impacts of climate action on biodiversity.

Guidance to the financial mechanism

The Conference of the Parties has invited the Global Environment Facility to support: (a) Capacity-building with the aim of increasing the effectiveness in addressing environmental issues through their commitments under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, inter alia, by applying the ecosystem approach; (b) Developing synergy-oriented programmes to conserve and sustainably manage all ecosystems, such as forests, wetlands and marine environments, that also contribute to poverty eradication; (c) Country-driven activities, including pilot projects, aimed at projects related to ecosystem conservation, restoration of degraded lands and marine environments and overall ecosystem integrity that take into account impacts of climate change. (Decision X/24, annex, paragraph 4.23; decision X/25, paragraphs 21 and 22; and also decision X/33, paragraphs 6 and 16; decision XI/21, paragraph 4; XIII/21, annex II, para. 4 (Ecosystem resilience and climate change)

Guidance to Parties

  • Integrate climate change issues and related national priorities into national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and take steps to address all biodiversity-related impacts of climate change, and promote the integration of climate change adaptation best practices, strategies and methodologies into conservation planning frameworks, in consideration of species and ecosystems responses, and vulnerability to past and future anthropogenic climate change; (14/5, para. 4(b), 4(d), 4(e), 3(c); XIII/4, para. 4, 8(j), 8(m); XII/20, para. 3, 5; XI/21, para. 6(f); X/33, para. 8(c), 8(f); IX/16A, para. 4(b))
  • Integrate biodiversity and ecosystem integrity considerations, including ecosystem-based approaches, into all relevant national policies, programmes and plans in response to climate change, such as nationally determined contributions, as appropriate, and national climate change adaptation planning, as national instruments for the prioritization of actions for mitigation and adaptation; (VIII/30, para. 1; IX/16B, annex II, para. 15-17; X/33, para. 17)
  • Develop and implement ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction, to consider potential multiple benefits and trade-offs and maximize co-benefits to people and biodiversity, taking into account the importance of ensuring the integrity and functionality of all ecosystems, including oceans, and the protection of biodiversity; (14/5, para. 5(b), 3(j); IX/16A, para. 4(h); XIII/4, para. 2, 8(c), 8(k); VII/15, para. 12; X/33, para. 8(j), 8(k), 8(l), 8(n))
  • Identify relevant sector plans and policies that could benefit from cooperation on biodiversity, desertification and climate change, identify gaps in synergies, and support joint actions within the objectives of the three Rio conventions, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the World Heritage Convention, the Convention on Migratory Species, and other relevant multilateral environmental agreements in order to promote better understanding and functioning of synergy among these; (VII/15, para. 9; VIII/30, para. 6; IX/16, para. 4(j) and annex II, para. 1-7; X/24, annex, para. 4.23; X/25, para. 21 and 22; X/33, para. 6 and 16; XI/21, para. 4; XIII/21, annex II, para. 4(a)-4(c); 14/5, para. 5(a))
  • Take into account impacts on biodiversity and the provision of ecosystem services and avoid the conversion or degradation of areas important for biodiversity, in planning and implementing effective climate‑change mitigation and adaptation activities, including renewable energies, through: considering traditional knowledge, including the full involvement of indigenous and local communities; building on a scientifically credible knowledge base; considering components of biodiversity important for its conservation and sustainable use; applying the ecosystem approach; and developing ecosystem and species vulnerability assessments; (X/33, para. 8(v))

Conservation and Restoration
  • Recognize the significant role that protected areas, restored ecosystems and other conservation measures can play in climate‑change‑related activities while undertaking the design, implementation and monitoring of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction; (14/5, para. 3(h); XIII/4, para. 8(f); XI/21, para. 6(d))
  • Consider ex situ measures, such as relocation, assisted migration and captive breeding, among others, that could contribute to maintaining the adaptive capacity and securing the survival of species at risk, taking into account the precautionary approach in order to avoid unintended ecological consequences including, for example, the spread of invasive alien species; (X/33, para. 8(e))
  • Promote ecosystem restoration and sustainable management post-restoration; (14/5, para. 4(c))
  • Implement activities to increase the adaptive capacity of species and the resilience of ecosystems in the face of climate change, including reducing both non-climatic stresses and climate‑related stresses, strengthening protected area networks including through the use of connectivity measures, integrating biodiversity into wider seascape and landscape management, restoring degraded ecosystems and ecosystem functions; (X/33, para. 8(d))
  • Cooperate regionally in activities aimed at enhancing habitat connectivity across ecological gradients, with the aim of enhancing ecosystem resilience and to facilitate the migration and dispersal of species with limited tolerance to altered climatic conditions, when undertaking the design, implementation and monitoring of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction; (14/5, para. 3(d); VIII/30, para. 4)

  • Collaborate on the conservation, restoration and wise/sustainable use of wetlands so that their importance, within the context of climate change and disaster risk reduction, is recognized; (14/5, para. 8; IX/16D, para. 2)
  • Develop down-scaled climate change models that combine temperature and precipitation information with multi-stressor biological models in order to better predict the impacts of drought and increased climate variability on biodiversity; (X/33, para. 11)
  • Integrate biodiversity, climate change and desertification/land degradation issues in forest sector planning, enhance the benefits for, and avoid negative impacts on, biodiversity from reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and implement improved land management, reforestation and forest restoration to reduce the risk of displacement of deforestation and forest degradation to areas of lower carbon value and higher biodiversity value, and other adverse impacts to biodiversity and to indigenous and local communities; (XI/19, para. 14; X/33, para. 8(o)-8(q); IX/16B, annex II, para. 13)
  • Assess, implement and monitor a range of sustainable activities in the agricultural sector that may result in the maintenance and potential increase of current carbon stocks and, at the same time, the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity; (X/33, para. 8(r))
  • Promote biodiversity conservation, especially with regard to soil biodiversity, while conserving and restoring organic carbon in soil and biomass, including in peatlands and other wetlands as well as in grasslands, savannahs and drylands; (X/33, para. 8(s))
  • Enhance the conservation, sustainable use and restoration of marine and coastal habitats that are vulnerable to the effects of climate change or which contribute to climate‑change mitigation, such as mangroves, peatlands, tidal salt-marshes, kelp forests and seagrass beds, as a contribution to achieving the objectives of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Convention on Biological Diversity; (X/33, para. 8(t))

  • Take specific measures for species that are vulnerable to climate change, including migratory species, and to maintain genetic diversity in the face of climate change (X/33, para. 8(g))
  • Prioritize local and acclimated native tree species when selecting species for planting, and avoid invasive alien species, when designing, implementing and monitoring afforestation, reforestation and forest restoration activities for climate-change mitigation; (X/33, para. 8(p))

Economic Measures
  • Take into account the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services when planning and undertaking climate‑change‑related activities by using a range of valuation techniques; (X/33, para. 8(y))
  • Consider, as appropriate, incentives to facilitate climate‑change‑related activities that take into consideration biodiversity and related social and cultural aspects, consistent and in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant international obligations; (X/33, para. 8(z))
  • Increase positive and reduce negative impacts of climate‑change mitigation and adaptation measures on biodiversity inter alia, based on results from strategic environmental assessments (SEAs) and environmental impact assessments (EIAs) that facilitate the consideration of all available climate-change mitigation and adaptation options, considering the costs of inaction, and the value of investing in actions in a timely manner in order to reduce biodiversity loss and other negative impacts; (X/33, para. 8(u); XIII/4, para. 8(a))

Vulnerability and Awareness
  • Identify and consider vulnerable regions, subregions and ecosystem types, including with regard to the needs and strategic interests of vulnerable groups, such as women, the elderly, and indigenous peoples and local communities, among others, when planning and implementing ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction activities, and to minimize and, where possible, avoid activities that may increase the vulnerability and reduce the resilience of biodiversity and ecosystems; (14/5, para. 5(c), 3(g); XIII/4, para. 8(b); IX/16, para. 4(a) and annex II, para. 18; VIII/30, para. 7)
  • Develop and implement education and training curricula and awareness-raising programmes for the general public on the importance of the ecosystem functions and services provided by biodiversity for climate change adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction, and raise awareness, particularly among makers in relevant sectors and at different levels of government, about ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation, mitigation and disaster risk reduction; (XIII/4, para. 8(d)-(e); X/33, para. 8(h))

Monitoring and Research
  • Identify regions, ecosystems and components of biodiversity that are or will become vulnerable to climate change at a geographic scale and assess the current and future risks and impacts on biodiversity and biodiversity-based livelihoods, considering the use of biodiversity models and scenarios, as appropriate, while taking into account their important contribution to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction; (14/5, para. 4(a))
  • Monitor and assess the impacts of climate change on biodiversity and biodiversity-based livelihoods, in particular livelihoods of indigenous peoples and local communities, as well as assess the effectiveness of ecosystem-based approaches for adaptation, and mitigation and disaster risk reduction; (14/5, para. 4(f); XIII/4, para. 8(i); XI/21, para. 6(b), 6(e); X/33, para. 7, 8(a), 8(b); IX/16B, annex II, paras.1-3, 20-21, 25-27; IX/16A, para. 4(c)- 4(f), 4(i); VIII/30, para. 2)
  • Promote research on climate change response activities related to biodiversity, impacts of increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events on biodiversity and associated resources, and impacts of climate change on oceans and marine biodiversity; (VIII/30, para. 5; IX/16B, annex II, para. 22-24)

Indigenous Matters
  • Take into account the importance of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices related to biodiversity when addressing the impacts of climate change in sectoral plans and strategies, especially when considering vulnerable communities; (XI/21, para. 6(a); XIII/4, para. 8(g))
  • Engage broadly with indigenous and local communities, civil society organizations, the private sector and other key actors when undertaking the design, implementation and monitoring of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation and disaster risk reduction; (14/5, para. 3(a), 3(f); VIII/30, para. 3; IX/16A, para. 4(g))
  • Recognize the role of indigenous and local community conserved areas in strengthening ecosystem connectivity and resilience across the sea and landscape thereby maintaining essential ecosystem services and supporting biodiversity–based livelihoods in the face of climate change, and encourage activities at the local level led by indigenous peoples and local communities, including consideration and integration of indigenous and traditional knowledge, practices, plans and institutions; (14/5, para. 3(b); X/33, para. 8(i)))

  • Enhance synergies among different policies and implementation strategies when undertaking the design, implementation and monitoring of ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and consider the achievement of multiple benefits, including ecological, social, cultural and economic benefits, between ecosystem-based approaches for climate change mitigation and adaptation activities; (14/5, para. 3(e); XI/21, para. 6(c); X/33, para. 8(m))