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Outline of the book

Chapter one has introduced the GEF as an intelligent response by the Northern-led ‘international community’ to the challenges of global resource management and mass environmentalism, and suggested some of the resulting institution’s powers, allies and flaws.

Chapter two steps back from the GEF to examine the world into which it was born: sources of political influence over globalisation, problems and institutions of global resource management, also the environmental movements channeled variously into direct resistance to the processes and causes of ecological destruction, international treaties and World Bank reform.

Chapter three follows the development of a multi-lateral fund to support the Rio environmental Conventions from a banker’s idea in the mid-1980s to a ‘pilot’ GEF formalised in the World Bank in 1991 – and with projects underway in time to head off more expensive and radical alternative funds proposed from the South in the lead up to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.


Chapter four reports on independent reviews of the GEF and how inter-governmental negotiations to make it more permanent initially fell apart under the pressure of conflicting political ambitions - before the promise of new money overrode other concerns. Yet even after the Facility’s restructuring with ‘expedited’ processes, clearer priorities and governance, problems of the Council’s accountability remain - especially to the expectations of the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions.