How We Began

Inspiring subnational action for forests and climate since 2008.

The GCF Task Force was created to respond to the fundamental problems of tropical deforestation and climate change—and the corresponding complexities of ecological disruption, biodiversity loss, food, energy, and water insecurity, and rural poverty.

In 2008, Governor Arnold Schwarzennegger of California convened nine other Governors from Brazil, Indonesia, and the United States, to address a common problem—global climate change. This small group of Governors—key leaders with political power across entire states and provinces—knew they were stronger together. They recognized that curbing tropical deforestation was a critical element of their broader efforts to address climate change, and they assembled to lean on and learn from one another as they worked to advance strategies in their states and provinces. In 2008, this small coalition signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding on climate and forests cooperation—and the GCF Task Force was born.  

Our Approach

We believe that subnational governments are key in the fight against climate change. We believe that jurisdictional approaches help to scale the impact of key climate policies and practices. We believe that governments are stronger together. And we believe that governments work best when they engage with partners and stakeholders, including  international institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, and the people governments represent, including Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

We advance jurisdictional approaches to low-emissions development, including Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+). We promote policy innovation and coherence across state and provincial-level agencies with the goals of curbing deforestation and promoting sustainable development pathways. Our network is founded on the premise that state and provincial leadership—from Governors to Secretaries of key agencies to critical technical civil servants—must be engaged in the fight against climate change. Together, with important civil society and private sector partnerships, subnational governmental leaders are well-positioned to make a scalable impact on our most pressing climate problems. 

Since our first official meeting in 2009, we have more than tripled our membership—growing from 10 states and provinces in three countries to 43 members in eleven countries around the world (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Ecuador, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United States). Today, the GCF Task Force includes the entire Brazilian Amazon, 85 percent of the Peruvian Amazon, 65 percent of Mexico’s tropical forests, and 60 percent of Indonesia’s forests.