Agreement on what exactly to fund with limited project aid
is always difficult to secure when there are conflicting agendas
and interests at stake. This has been especially true in GEF
negotiations, in which ministries including environment, foreign
affairs, technical assistance and overseas development all
have roles to play alongside numerous other interested bodies.
The GEF is formally governed by a 32-strong governing Council,
divided more or less equally between donor and recipient government
representatives and officially overseen by a three-yearly
Participants' Assembly of all the governments involved. The
Council receives guidance from and reports to the governing
bodies of the UN treaties on Climate Change and Biodiversity,
but just as UN bodies cannot effectively challenge trade and
investment policies agreed in the more powerful Bretton Woods
institutions, Conferences of the Parties to the UN Conventions
cannot override GEF Council decisions.
Despite complex voting arrangements having been negotiated,
the Council makes decisions by consensus guided by the powerful
chairman and CEO of the GEF, Mohamed El-Ashry. Appointed from
the World Bank’s environment department, he also heads the
GEF’s thirty-strong administering Secretariat (see Chapter
four). In Council meetings El-Ashry treats Southern representatives
‘like kings’ (interview, CBD secretariat, 1997), but cannot
offend GEF’s major donor governments who in the end, pay his
wages. Aware of these dynamics, most other people and organisations
involved in the GEF seek less to upset this balance than to
use it, lobby it, attract funds with minimal strings attached
and find employment in the GEF system for their people.
Sources: Banuri and Spanger-Siegfried, (2000) and Imber, (1994).