Main Issue

The Paris Agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in November 2016; marking a new era of climate action that will put the world on a path to eliminating carbon from the global economy by the second half of the century.

Taking action on climate change means adopting and implementing ambitious programs to limit emissions of greenhouse gases to levels compatible with the well-being of the ecosphere, while supporting communities around the world to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of the climatic changes that are already being observed. It also means embracing the potential of the green economy - a more sustainable way of life that balances economic, social, and environmental priorities.

We can mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in a variety of ways. These include promoting greater energy efficiency and use of renewable energy, as well as building more sustainable urban transport. Since land, forests, and oceans store carbon, we also need to adopt smarter ways to preserve and restore these “carbon sinks.” Adaptation helps people cope with increased risks to their lives and livelihoods from a changing climate. Climate change is already affecting weather patterns, water resources, crop yields, and marine ecosystems. The poor, who are least able to cope, are the hardest hit. Increasingly, policymakers recognize the need to integrate climate-resilient strategies into long-term development programs.

What We Do

The GEF has several key roles to play under the Paris Agreement. The GEF serves as part of the financial mechanism of the Agreement, which also established a process for ensuring that all actions on climate change are fully transparent with a mechanism for helping countries meet that goal.

The GEF’s climate change mitigation strategy, which is financed through the GEF Trust Fund, supports developing countries as they make transformational shifts towards low emission development pathways with three fundamental objectives: 

  • Promoting innovation and technology transfer for sustainable energy breakthroughs
  • Demonstrating mitigation options with systemic impacts, by strengthening interaction and integration between climate change mitigation and the other GEF focal areas
  • Mainstreaming mitigation concerns into sustainable development strategies through the continuous support of enabling conditions in developing countries.

More details on each one of the objectives above are provided in the Climate Change Mitigation page.

The GEF’s climate change adaptation strategy for the 2022-2026 period, which covers the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), aims at supporting developing countries to move to a climate resilient development pathway while reducing exposure to the immediate risks posed by climate change. Over 2022-2026, the two funds are supporting countries across four key adaptation themes:

  • Agriculture, food security, and health
  • Integrated water resource management to address water security, droughts, and flooding
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Early warning and climate information systems.

Other context-specific priority adaptation topics may also be supported. The GEF aims to support transformational adaptation, while contributing to climate-resilient recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More details on the LDCF and SCCF climate adaptation programming are available on the Climate Change Adaptation page.

All our projects and programs can be consulted in our database for detailed descriptions of activities and results.


GEF-funded projects have had a tangible impact on climate change:

  • Reducing the vulnerability of over 61 million people in more than 130 countries
  • Supporting nearly 1,000 climate change mitigation projects expected to contribute 8.4 billion tons of direct and indirect GHG emission reductions over time.

Looking Ahead

Under GEF-8, the Global Environment Facility will continue to foster the shift to a low-carbon economy by supporting creative thinking and innovative financing. The GEF’s efforts are structured to address the key decisions for the Paris Agreement, and to further support climate action in developing countries. The framework is aligned with the GEF's innovative project designs, proven track record of support for technology transfer, and ability to attract private sector co-financing.

The operationalization of the Green Climate Fund has added to the evolving context in which the GEF operates, and the two institutions are collaborating closely through the Long-Term Vision on Complementarity, Coherence, and Collaboration. The GEF-7 Climate Change Focal Area Strategy is complementary to programming by the Green Climate Fund and other climate funds and lays the foundation for enhanced climate action by harnessing synergies across the different focal areas and building on the GEF's record of driving innovation.