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'The GEF in context'

As banks, corporations and their allied professional classes try once more to pacify popular ecological concerns and separate them from resistance to the capitalist system itself, what further institutional reforms – and difficulties - are likely? Will available funds, expertise, attention and political initiative be used more effectively for environmental protection in future? If governments were unable to come up with an effective solution when there was mass popular interest in conservation in the late 1980s and early 1990s, what hope is there for less compromised solutions now that international attention has largely moved on to focus more on hunger, trade and war?

With US military ambitions for ‘full spectrum dominance’ of the globe and the bleeding of a so-called ‘war on terror’ into something like a war on dissent, most of the biggest and especially Washington-based environmental NGOs are working with the World Bank and/or GEF, and are politically wary of seeming to attack what now passes for the US government’s ‘national interest’. Whatever their aspirations, hopes and promises, can real world solutions to widely distributed environmental problems really all be channeled through a largely Washington-based community of environmental professionals whose jobs depend, in the final analysis, on the surplus and favour of the US’ and Western Europe’s globalising corporate empires?

³ FDI in 49 'least developed countries' increased from US$600 million in 1990 to US $5.2 billion in 1999, although their share of global FDI remains at 0.5 percent. Over the same period, official development assistance to these countries declined $5 billion (more than GEF's 'additional' aid…) to $11.6 billion. unctad For arms trade figures see www.caat.org.