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'The GEF in context'

if not always the people and places affected (see Chapter two). For example in promoting fisheries ‘development’, the Bank may offer a government credit to buy large boats, refrigeration and processing factories to serve global markets, but takes next to no responsibility for the resulting decline of fish stocks, local markets and immiseration of artisanal fishing communities, let alone damage to marine ecosystems and spawning grounds by industrial scale fisheries. Opening some middle income countries’ economies and resources to ever more foreign investment may have created a degree of economic advancement for some, but damaging environmental consequences combined with displacement, hunger and recurrent resource riots across the South, also economic collapses from East Asia and Argentina to Enron, suggest that all is not well with the model - even if the long term decline of so many African countries under neo-liberal policies is ignored, as is so often the case.

As this book is completed in 2002, the GEF’s official evaluators cannot advertise any serious impact on the rate or causes of global environmental change – although they lack the time, resources and remit to examine the details of grassroots situations where change may or may not be occurring. At the global level, despite isolated green achievements (for example the hole in the ozone layer may be slowing its growth), most forms of pollution are still rife, the climate still seems to be changing, countless plant and animal species and varieties are still going extinct, landscapes, water bodies, fertility and ecosystems are still being degraded or destroyed through ill-considered and unsustainable exploitation – according to UNEP’s scientists as well as the various environmental NGOs. Despite ten years of the GEF’s reforming efforts (not to mention thirty years of UNEP’s), fierce critiques and mass demonstrations are again gathering against the very legitimacy of the international financial institutions, opposing the ecological as well as social consequences of the policies they enforce.(indymedia & SHNews).