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'The GEF in context'

4 The World Bank and IMF were created at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA in 1944 - see chapter two

5 Effectively controlled by Northern governments' treasuries, these strictly 'economic' Bretton Woods institutions are meant to help the global economy to function, although as lumbering and unaccountable bureaucracies they do not always do so effectively and have widely been held responsible for financing environmentally destructive developments across the South (see for example, Rich, 1994). The World Bank makes loans to Southern governments for development projects including roads, dams, mines, forestry, agriculture, schools, hospitals and sectoral reform programmes.

'Establishing the Global Environment Facility'

In a world of realpolitik the assumption that states signing ever more demanding treaties could solve global environmental problems becomes 'inadequate and politically naive', (Paterson, 1995). Treaties and Conventions facing crises of implementation require financial as well as political support if they are to approach the desired impact. GEF therefore inspired new hopes in some environmental and diplomatic circles because unlike other global environmental initiatives, had the powerful World Bank behind it and billions of dollars of real money to spend. But for reasons explored further below, the same facts also invited pessimism and mistrust.The GEF was initially created by Bank staff and a few officials in Western European government ministries as a ‘green window’ of the Bank, intended to finance projects supportive of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). These major UN Conventions were due to be signed by governments around the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, having been negotiated in response to intense environmental pressure on especially Northern governments.