Environment
Tuesday, 14 April 2009 10:05

The GEF

What is the  GEF? We investigate the ins and outs of this dynamic organisation.

 

 

With the Global Environment Facility (GEF) holding its first Assembly in Africa as this issue of 25º in Africa went to print, we thought it would be opportune to provide readers with the background and function of this very active entity.


Established in 1991, GEF is an independent financial mechanism that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit the global environment.


GEF funded projects address six complex global environmental issues: biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.  In S. Africa, GEF has funded the Agulhas Biodiversity Initiative, Cape Action for People and Environment (CAPE) project, Succulent Karoo Ecosystem Partnership (SKEP), and Table Mountain National Park.  The GEF’s Small Grants Program (SGP) funds local initiatives, linking communities to national development goals.


Since its inauguration, GEF has provided US$6,2-billion (almost ZAR43-billion) in grants and generated over US$20-billion (ZAR140-billion) in co-financing from other sources to support more than 1 800 projects that produce global environmental benefits in 140 developing countries, and countries with economies in transition.


Three implementing agencies (the United Nations Environment Programme; the United Nations Development Programme; the World Bank) and seven other international organizations (known as Executing Agencies) implement GEF projects, and have direct access to GEF funds.
In addition, the Assembly comprises all 176 countries that are members of the GEF, and it meets once every four years to review the policies and operations of the facility.


As the financial mechanism for four international environmental conventions, the GEF helps fund initiatives that assist developing countries in meeting the objectives of the conventions. GEF also collaborates closely with other treaties and agreements.

 

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