The Global Ecosystem Resilience Facility (GERF) aims to develop resilience for vulnerable ecosystems, such as coral reefs and mangroves, through innovative finance and risk management opportunities.
Ecosystem assets support biodiversity, providing food and livelihoods to millions of people across the globe while also serving as key recreational resources that generate tourism revenue.
Ecosystems also offer communities and built assets invaluable protection from extreme weather impacts. For example, coral reef systems absorb wave energy and reduce storm surge.
However, ecosystems are at risk, and damage to green infrastructure reduces their ability to provide ongoing physical risk protection, as well as other ecosystem services vital to the sustainable growth of the local, and often wider, economy.
The Global Ecosystem Resilience Facility (GERF) seeks to address this and to support public and private organizations to understand the true value of ecosystems and put in place effective protection measures.
In particular, GERF focuses on ocean ecosystems, which have previously received less in the way of practical risk management and mitigation measures, to support the blue economy. Amid more intense storms, floods and droughts, higher sea levels and temperatures and ocean acidification, coastal communities become more vulnerable. To safeguard lives and livelihoods, the resilience of the environment that supports them must be strengthened.
The GERF acknowledges that there are two key aspects driving changes in the environment: human activity and natural processes. The facility addresses both aspects; communities build resilience through sustainable practices under their control, and disaster risk finance protects against events outside of their control.
Innovative finance mechanisms
The GERF develops and provides innovative finance mechanisms to incentivize country adoption of environmental policies through concessional finance and advice in their use and applicability. Risk pools and mutuals are in development as key risk management tools for communities and ecosystems. Alternative risk transfer solutions, such as catastrophe bonds, are also a focus and, when up front capital investment is required, the structuring of a resilience bond can be explored.
The GERF also provides access to catastrophe and financial modeling, as well as options for risk management and risk transfer. The facility incentivizes the continued implementation and monitoring of management frameworks and policies by providing access to concessional finance to fund increased resilience of ecosystems and communities.