Environmental Finance, UK
Aug. 31, 2006

London, 31 August: Governments from 32 countries have promised to give
$3.13 billion to a fund which tackles environmental degradation in
the developing world, the biggest collective donation it has received
to date.

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) will spend the money on
environmental projects run by governments, NGOs and community groups.

Monique Barbut, GEF chief executive and chairwoman, said: "This strong
show of support from the international donor community is remarkable,
and signals firm commitment to protecting the global environment."

The 15 year-old funding body receives an injection of cash every four
years. Contributions are worked out using a complex formula, but 20
of the 32 donors have agreed to give an additional amount this year.

China and Korea, but not the US, are among the nations who have
said they will give more, alongside a roll call mainly made up of
European countries.

The GEF declined to break down how much each donor will contribute,
but said that Europe provides "nearly half" of the funding. Although
industrialised countries dominate the list of donors, Nigeria and
Pakistan have also pledged undisclosed amounts.

Barbut said: "We cannot be complacent, and time is not on our side.

The global environment is facing unprecedented threats, and these
funds have to be translated rapidly into projects, programmes and
policies that make a difference in developing countries."

To date, the GEF has given out $6.2 billion in grant funding,
and generated a further $20 billion in co-funding, for more than
1,800 projects in 140 countries. "For every dollar that we invest,
we leverage an additional $4. We would only finance a project if it
had four more dollars," said Sarwat Hussain from the GEF.

The GEF has recently provided grants to a $19 million financing
mechanism for renewable energy in Armenia, a $16 million project
to tackle land degradation in Bhutan and an $89 million project to
combat desertification in Cuba.