In 1991, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme came together to establish the Global Environment Facility to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues. 

What started as a pilot program on the eve of the Rio Earth Summit has developed today into a unique partnership that unites 183 countries, 18 partner agencies and a growing network of civil society and private sector representatives. 

Today, the GEF is the world’s largest public funder of environmental projects, and the financial mechanism for the UN Rio Conventions and other multilateral agreements. And, in many ways, the GEF’s support to help buttress Earth’s life support systems is needed more than ever. 

The greenhouse gases that cause climate change are at higher levels than at any time in at least 800,000 years. 2015 was the hottest year on record, and 2016 may be hotter still. Globally, species are being lost at a rate only seen before during mass extinctions. The health of our oceans is declining rapidly. 

The Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement clearly recognized that the health of the planet, from the climate to oceans, water, land, biodiversity and forests, is essential for sustainable development. For so long, we have taken these global environmental commons for granted, and pushed them to their limit. Now is the time to change course. 

The GEF’s 25th Anniversary is an opportune moment to both celebrate past achievements as well as highlight the challenges ahead. 

Throughout the year we have marked the anniversary with events, activities and products. Below you will find the links to the stories and guest articles that have been submitted by countries, partner organizations and dignitaries from around the world and that are now compiled in the "25 Years of GEF" book (see below).