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'The GEF in practise'

For the 1995-1998 GEF ‘operational’ phase, which promised to ‘build on the lessons’ of the pilot phase, donors promised a total of $1.8 billion – but again, only about half the promised sum was spent on mostly quite large development projects: for example for renewable energy technologies and protected areas, also mapping of genetic resources, sources and sinks of ‘greenhouse gases’ and preparation of plans for their management. The rest of the money was carried over in 1998 when GEF was replenished with an advertised $2.75 billion to last until 2002.

Though the total sum promised had risen again, it was in this context that some people from the South described GEF as ‘a con’. The longer time period and a carry-over of about $860 million, much of it not yet even raised from late paying donors, meant their real contribution would quite possibly decline – making careful distribution of precarious funding all the more important.

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13 The capitalised terms ‘South’ and ‘Southern’ are used here to refer to countries that are targets for multilateral development aid funds including the GEF. ‘Northern’ governments made the major contributions to GEF funds, and are sometimes referred to as ‘donors’. To simplify the GEF picture, I use the generic term ‘South’ to refer to former communist areas as well as countries in Central and South America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific region which, if they sign up to the Conventions, are eligible to be ‘recipients’ of GEF funds. On occasion I also refer to the ‘G77 (and China)’, a grouping of Southern governments, which emerged in the 1960s to counter the dominance of the ‘G7’ (North American, Western European and Japanese) governments in international negotiations.

Sources: Banuri and Spanger-Siegfried, (2000) and Imber, (1994).