UNDP, GEF Launch USD135 Million Climate Aid Programme for Maldives and SIDS Nations

UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have collaborated to launch a USD135 million (MVR 2.1 billion) aid program to address climate change in 15 countries, including the Maldives.

Known as the “Blue and Green Islands Integrated Programme,” this initiative was officially launched at Tuesday’s fourth Small Island Developing States (SIDS) conference in Antigua. The program, managed by UNDP, will focus on three key areas: infrastructure development, food production, and tourism.

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Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), this initiative highlights a concerted global effort to tackle the urgent environmental challenges facing SIDS nations. Of the 39 SIDS countries, 15 have been selected to receive support under this program. These countries include Maldives, Belize, Cape Verde, Comoros, Cuba, Mauritius, Micronesia, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Samoa, Seychelles, Timor Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vanuatu.

Beneficiary countries were selected through an expression of interest process, with assistance awarded to the 15 most promising proposals.

Speaking at a joint press conference, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner emphasized the urgency of addressing the vulnerabilities faced by SIDS nations. “SIDS countries are facing the greatest risks in global sea level rise and current changes in climate and the surrounding natural environment,” Steiner remarked. He stressed the vital role of innovative assistance in enabling these countries to overcome their challenges, particularly in infrastructure development, food production, and tourism growth.

Representatives from GEF explained funds will be allocated to participating countries, allowing them the flexibility to implement projects across designated areas. Additionally, the fund can be used for multiple projects within each country.

Furthermore, Jeff assured that the necessary administrative procedures for fund disbursement, typically taking 10-14 months, would be diligently managed to expedite project implementation. This streamlined approach is expected to enable projects to be completed within three years of disbursement.

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