GEF endorses new phase of Sustainable Cities Integrated Program (SCIP) under GEF-8

The Global Environmental Facility (GEF) approved the third phase of the Sustainable Cities Integrated Program (SCIP) during the 67th GEF Council meeting. The GEF-8 SCIP will bring together over 40 cities across 20 countries, with GEF grant financing of $170 million and an expected leverage of at least $936 million in co-financing from partner organizations. With this approval, GEF grand financing totaling $480 million and nearly $5 billion in co-financing is expected to directly impact more than 90 cities across 34 countries. 
The program will be implemented by the World Bank, the lead agency, through the Global Platform for Sustainable Cities (GPSC) and in collaboration with nine GEF agencies: West African Development Bank (BOAD), Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the World Bank. 
SCIP aims to expand existing partnerships, focusing on developing innovative and sustainable urban solutions and strengthening local institutional capacity. As with previous GEF-6 and GEF-7 Sustainable Cities programs, SCIP will continue working with WRI, C40, and ICLEI as core partners for GEF-8, while also engaging new partners due to the program’s multidisciplinary nature. This includes working with UNEP, the lead agency for GEF-7 (Urban Shift), to more strongly integrate learnings and resources across the three programs. By leveraging existing partnerships and SCIP’s convening power, international organizations, financial institutions, the private sector, academia, and civil organizations will collaborate to strengthen political buy-in and help institutionalize and mainstream integrated approaches into decision-making and policy development. 
The GEF-8 SCIP aims to support cities and local governments in undertaking integrated urban planning, implementing policies, and investing in nature-positive, climate-resilient, and carbon-neutral urban development. SCIP will target five levers for urban systems transformation: 
1. Policy Integration and Coherence: Strengthening urban governance, policy frameworks, and regulations to promote a sustainable and integrated model across all government levels. 
2. Financing and Investment: Enhancing municipal finance and private sector engagement to increase access to finance and enable rapid implementation of innovative approaches to sustainable urban development investment. 
3. Urban Innovation: Increasing demand for innovation by engaging local and multinational companies to develop cutting-edge, tailored sustainability solutions. 
4. Partnerships: Leveraging the existing partnership framework and other multi-stakeholder platforms to increase collaboration with various organizations, financial institutions, and the private sector to advance sustainable public-private partnership models. 
5. Expanding Knowledge to Increase Capacity: Co-developing tools and best practices and sharing them broadly to empower local governments to catalyze transformation. 
Drawing lessons from GEF-6 and GEF-7, including better alignment between technical assistance and investment, greater partnership and private sector involvement, and stronger global influence on the urban sustainability agenda, SCIP will be delivered through two integrated tracks: city or metropolitan level child projects and the Global Platform. It will be implemented through three components: 
1. Supporting integrated and inclusive urban planning, strategies, and multilevel action policy development. 
2. Promoting investments in sustainable, nature-positive, and resilient urban development and adopting context-appropriate financing mechanisms. 
3. Strengthening knowledge-sharing and capacity-building. 
Moreover, SCIP activities will not be limited to countries participating in GEF-8 SCIP but will involve and support other cities. This approach will ensure that policy innovations can be scaled to more cities, increasing the overall global benefit of the program across all integrated thematic areas. 
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