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GEI is a collaborative effort, launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in October 2008 and endorsed by the UN System Chief Executives Board in April 2009 as one of the nine UN system-wide Joint Crisis Initiatives in response to the global financial and economic crisis.

To encourage and enable Member States to support investment in low-carbon development and in green sectors. GEI provides evidence of
the contributions green investments can make to economic performance, social development and environmental improvement, including climate mitigation and adaptation.