The Global Environment Facility
The First Ten Years – Growing Pains or Inherent Flaws?

a report by environmental defence and halifax initiative - August 2002

2. History, Governance, Operations and Results

The Global Environment Facility is a multilateral financial mechanism, which channels resources from donor nations to recipient governments to meet the requirements of several global environmental agreements . The GEF provides “new and additional grant and concessional funding” to qualifying countries for projects and activities aimed at protecting the global environment in four “focal areas”:

· ozone layer depletion;
· biodiversity;
· climate change;
· international waters.

As of October 2002, the GEF will formally add persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and land degradation as focal areas, though both areas have been funded through GEF in recent years.

The GEF arose out of a growing awareness of the transboundary nature of many environmental problems in the 1980s. The French government initially proposed the GEF in 1989 at a World Bank-IMF Development Committee meeting and offered to commit US $100 million to it. Pressured by a powerful green movement at home, the German government was immediately supportive. With preparations for the 1992 Rio Earth Summit underway, the United States joined the European initiative.