Environmental leaders from 185 countries will gather in Vancouver, Canada for the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) from August 22-26. The assembly, which takes place every four years, is the ultimate decision-making body for major changes to the GEF, including ongoing restructuring processes and the establishment of the new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund agreed to last year at the Kunming/Montreal Convention on Biological Diversity – CBD CoP15. WCS is sending a high-level delegation to the GEF and is available for interviews.

WCS Delegates include:

  • Monica Medina, WCS CEO & President
  • Joe Walston, WCS EVP, WCS Global
  • Justina Ray, WCS Canada President and Senior Scientist
  • Alfred DeGemmis, WCS Director, International Policy
  • Madhu Rao, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas; WCS Senior Advisor
  • Mariana Varese, Director, Amazon Landscapes


GLOBAL BIODIVERSITY FRAMEWORK FUND (Thursday, Aug 24 --12:30 PM- Press Conference/Livestream) The highlight of the Assembly agenda will be the launch of the new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF), which will provide a boost to developing countries’ investments in nature and support Indigenous Peoples and local communities in their pursuit of the ambitious goals agreed to at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 in December 2022. WCS will continue to work with our partners to mobilize funding for the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems, those with high ecological integrity. WCS works in many countries that receive smaller proportions of international biodiversity finance or development assistance, despite such high levels of ecological integrity. As such, we are working to demonstrate the unique contributions of these countries’ ecosystems and identify new financial models (such as the HIFOR initiative) to enable the implementation of the GBF, including its targets to maintain ecosystems of high integrity and conserve at least 30% of lands and 30% of waters.

NATURE CRIME ALLIANCE – WCS is a founding member of the Nature Crime Alliance, which will be formally launched on Wednesday, August 23rd at 9am (Vancouver time). WCS fully supports the mission, objectives, vision, and guiding principles of the Alliance – a global multi-sector network that will increase  political will, mobilize financial resources, and bolster operational capacity among its members and partners to combat nature crime and other international criminal activities that affect the environment.

World Bank/GEF Putumayo-Içá River Basin Project – WCS joins the governments of Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, and many other civil society partners, on the World Bank/GEF Putumayo-Içá river basin project. This partnership will involve using traditional and scientific knowledge for informed decision-making to strengthen governance and capacity for integrated water resource management across the 118,000 km2 (45,560 square miles) river basin.

WCS delegates will be participating in the following panels that will be taking place throughout the GEF Assembly:

Tuesday, Aug 22

  • 9-10:30 AM: National planning towards an inclusive, equitable, and effective Global Biodiversity Framework Target 3: Launching a guide and showcasing experiences from 6 countries.
  • 11:00 AM-12:30 PM: Human-Wildlife Coexistence: Managing human-wildlife interactions for conservation and development.
  • 2-4:00 PM: Indigenous and Local knowledge -- Session 1: Arctic and North 
  • 4:30-6:25 PM: Indigenous and Local knowledge -- Session 2: Amazon

Wednesday, Aug 23

  • 9-10:30 AM: Launch of the Nature Crime Alliance
  • 9-10:30 AM: Conservation of primary forests: A hard look at where we are and where we go from here.
  • 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Accelerating Global Conservation Efforts to Achieve 30x30.
  • 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM: Mesoamerica Critical Forest Biomes: Protecting the irreplaceable.
  • 1:00 – 12:30 PM: Science for Conservation    

Thursday, Aug 24 

  • 11:00-12:30 Plenary 1: Solutions for a Healthy Planet: Integrated Responses to Global Environmental Degradation.

Interviews throughout the GEF assembly can be arranged through Mary Dixon: mdixon@wcs.org; or text through WhatsApp: +1-347-840-1242, or Stephen Sautner: ssautner@wcs.org; or text through WhatsApp: +1 908 247 2585