The First Ten Years Growing Pains
or Inherent Flaws?
a report by environmental defence
and halifax initiative - August 2002
For many, the most significant
outcome of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit was the Global Environment
Facility (GEF), a publicly funded multi-billion-dollar
green aid fund. The GEF was created by Northern governments
in 1991 and formally established by a World Bank resolution.
The GEF was charged with financing protection of the global
environment by transferring resources North to South
to meet commitments to the new Rio environmental conventions.
The GEF received nowhere near the hundreds
of billions of dollars that speakers at the Rio Earth
Summit had suggested would be needed to protect the
global environment. Over its first decade, however,
the GEF has spent in excess of US $4 billion in support
of over 1,000 environmental projects in 160 countries.
It has helped develop the environmental capacity for
governments to meet their obligations under the multilateral
climate change, biodiversity and ozone depletions agreements.
It has tested new relationships between the Bretton
Woods and the United Nations organizations - and tried
the patience of all involved.
Yet, after ten years, what has the GEF
achieved? The 2002 GEF Performance Study attempted to
reach conclusions about GEFs real-world effectiveness,
without threatening replenishment negotiations. Evaluators
stated that GEF funds have, to some extent, promoted
energy efficiency and renewable technologies, improved
management standards in protected areas, and supported
agreements on international waters and ozone depletion.