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GEF Council announces $40 million for nature-based climate adaptation projects in Liberia, Malawi, and Rwanda 

UNDP Rwanda/Mucyo Serge

9 February 2024 - At its 66th meeting in Washington this week, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Council has approved US$40 million from the Least Developed Countries Fund towards bolstering critical climate change adaptation initiatives in Liberia, Malawi, and Rwanda. The three new projects are among $208 million approved by the GEF to be deployed by UNDP in fast-tracking global action on nature and biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution control. 

To be collaboratively developed by the respective governments and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) over the coming year, the adaptation projects reflect a growing global shift towards integrated, long-term solutions, including the restoration of nature and sustainable livelihoods, in mitigating the impacts of climate change. Combined, the three approvals leverage more than $200 million in co-financing, with the projects poised to directly benefit more than 782,000 people and to bring more than 118,000 hectares of land under more sustainable management.  

In Liberia, where around 70 percent of the population relies on climate-sensitive sectors like rain-fed agriculture and fisheries for an income, the proposed project will introduce an integrated landscape approach to strengthening community resilience and food production systems. Nearly 100,000 people will benefit from initiatives encompassing nature restoration, including forest, wetland, and coastal ecosystem conservation, alongside the promotion of alternative livelihoods such as ecotourism.  

In Malawi, the proposed project will focus on reversing environmental degradation and restoring ecosystem services to strengthen community resilience. Leveraging traditional and indigenous knowledge, the project will diversify community economies, thereby reducing maladaptive coping mechanisms. Around 105,000 individuals are expected to benefit from this initiative, which aligns with a broader UNDP-led regional proposal to the Green Climate Fund under development, focused on Nature-Based Solutions for Water and Agricultural Resilience in Southern Africa. 

In Rwanda, where climate change, unsustainable land use and deforestation are converging, the proposed project in the Southern Province will implement an integrated landscape management approach to fortify food and livelihood security. Special emphasis will be placed on communities in improving water and land resource management. 

Notably each project aims to mobilize private sector engagement to unlock investment and secure the value chains which will sustain climate-resilient livelihoods into the future. 

About UNDP  

UNDP works in over 170 countries and territories, helping to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities, and build resilience to crises and shocks.  Globally UNDP remains the largest service provider in the UN system on climate change adaptation and since 2002 has successfully completed 173 adaptation projects across 79 countries, including 42 Least Developed Countries. As a result, more than 3 million people are now covered by enhanced climate information and early warning systems, more than 645,000 people are benefitting from climate-smart agricultural practices, and 473,000 people have improved access to water. 

For more information, please contact: 

Radhika Dave, Senior Technical Advisor for Climate Change Adaptation, UNDP  

Muyeye Chambwera, Regional Technical Advisor for Climate Change Adaptation, UNDP  

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