The World Bank and the Politics of the Global Environment Facility

Zoe Young

£ 15.99 / US$ 29.95 PAPER

“By weaving first hand encounters, science and their differing culture perspectives the author has created an illuminating, heartfelt and highly profound book.” —The Ecologist.

“Zoe Young's book is high quality scholarship, and politically, provides a devastating critique of the first stage of the establishment's global environmental governance.” —Patrick Bond.

2002/10 / 240pp / DEMY (215x135mm)
ISBN: 0745315488
Pluto Press

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a massive, publicly funded experiment in greening the world economy. Based inside the World Bank, this barely known institution is providing billions of dollars for action under UN Conventions on climate change and biodiversity, also international waters, land degradation, persistent organic pollutants and ozone. Advocates describe an open and inclusive ‘work in progress’ showing real results on the ground—but others see this complex new aid mechanism as ‘greenwash’ for global business as usual, a ‘sweetener’ for World Bank loans, even ‘an enormous con’. This is the first book to explore the GEF in political detail, using documents, interviews and observation to shine light on practices of conservation and colonialism, capitalism and complexity, compromise and co-option, culture and commodification.

Zoe Young explains how the GEF was formed in 1990 by Western governments keen to deflect environmentalist attention from World Bank policies, and to control—through funding—the UN treaties on global resource use. She examines how an innovation ostensibly supposed to promote institutional reform and co-operation for conservation has helped to enclose nature and open up Southern nature and markets to ’global‘ experts and investors. She also gives a disturbing account of some issues of science and public accountability that require more attention before the world's environment could be managed more fairly—and sustainably.

Format notification: This title is simultaneously available in paperback and hardback