Monday, October 25, 2010

4.44 billion in funds for global environment concerns

The Pacific Voyage Media Team, 26 October Nagoya Japan - 

Ms. Monique Barbut addressing audience at the side event

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has announced a record US$4.44 billion (T$11.24b) in funding.

The aid, the 5th replenishment, is the largest increase in new donor support for the organisation which unites 182 member governments - in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organisations, and the private sector - to address global environmental issues.

The announcement was made by Monique Barbut, CEO, at the 10th Meeting of Parties (COP 10) to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) at Nagoya Congress Centre, Japan.

“I promise that we will do more with these resources by continuing and expanding our work programme in each GEF focal area,” said Ms Barbut. “We will also do more by engaging in new and innovative activities that create synergy among various sectors.”

The announcement made during a side event well attended by Pacific representatives at the Nagoya negotiations. Director of the Vailima-based SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme), David Sheppard was among leading officials at the event.

“Clearly, we must continue our efforts to ensure the GEF remains a world class institution,” Ms Barbut said. “The fifth replenishment gives us this opportunity and I want to touch on a few of our reforms that I think will cement our legacy as a catalyst for environment change.”

Some of the reforms include:
·  Commitment to being a fully integrated results-based management system for portfolio monitoring. This will include opening the project database to agencies to input data for project implementation reports.

·  Commitment to enhance country-driven agenda. The strengthening of country ownership is top priority. GEF is also reforming the Country Support Programme for Focal points to make it even more effective. A key part will be the provision of small grants to interested countries to fund portfolio identification exercises.

·  Expansion on direct access agenda by providing grants to countries for preparation of national reports and communications to the conventions. Countries will have the option of requesting funding either from the GEF Agencies or directly from the GEF Secretariat.

·  Expansion of the GEF Partnership. GEF-5 Replenishment recognised that GEF would benefit from an expansion of the member and type of agencies that are able to receive resources directly from the GEF Trust Fund. This will give countries greater choice and will open GEF to a broader range of expertise and contacts.

The GEF is an independent financial organisation which provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

These projects benefit the global environment, linking local, national, and global environmental challenges and promoting sustainable livelihoods.

The GEF has a number of projects in the Pacific.

In Samoa, the Savaia Marine Biodiversity Conservation Project is one of them. This is a village-based, owned and operated protected area.

According to information on the GEF website, marine resources at Savaia are managed in a sustainable manner for the benefit of village people now and in the future.

“The aim is to sustain the momentum and success of the existing reserve by extending its boundaries to accord protection of a wider area of the village marine environment and to reintroduce certain marine species that were once abundant in the area.

“The ultimate goal is to declare a significant part of the coastal lagoon area of Savaia marine reserve and to apply sound management practices in its operations. The project has a strong partnership with the Fisheries Division providing on-going technical support.”

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