Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF Trust Fund)

The Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF Trust Fund) was established in 1991 and successfully completed its pilot phase as the Global Environment Trust Fund (GET) in 1994. The GEF Trust Fund has been active since 1994. Every four years there is a new replenishment cycle where the GEF Trust Fund is refilled with pledges from the 39 donor countries. It is placed under the direction of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and serves as a financing instrument for the various conventions on the environment (climate, biodiversity, desertification) adopted at the Rio Summit in 1992.


The GEF Trust Fund supports developing and newly industrialized countries in implementing international goals in the fields of biodiversity, climate change, international waters, degradation, desertification, deforestation, ozone layer reduction and persistent organic pollutants.

The projects and programs are based on national priorities and pursue the goal of sustainable development. Various regional and international organizations like the World Bank and other multilateral actors are active in the implementation of its projects and programs.

Key developments

The fund is in its seventh replenishment cycle (GEF-7) which ended in 2022. The GEF defines its strategic framework in its focal areas (climate change, biodiversity, land degradation, water and chemicals and waste) as well as other focus areas (e.g. sustainable cities and private sector engagement) in its Programming Directions.

The eigth replenishment cycle (GEF-8) starts in 2023 and runs until 2028. The process for the replenishment under GEF-8 kicked off with a first meeting in February 2021 and ended in July 2022. Among the GEF prioirties are nature-based solutions lik “green” and “blue” investments in landscapes and marine ecosystems and the suport for a circular economy.

Funding volume and Germany’s contribution

The GEF was endowed with over $5 billion for GEF-8 by donor countries. Germany’s pledge to climate change financing amounts to about €700 million. Germany is thus the biggest donors to the GEF in absolute numbers. (as of December 2022)



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