Financing fight against climate change: global body to the fore

By Joydeep Gupta

Bali (Indonesia)(IANS) : The Global Environment Facility (GEF) wants to act as the secretariat for the international fund that will be set up during the UN summit on climate change starting Monday to finance moves towards greener technology.

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The GEF is a 178-member international financing body set up by the World Bank and the UN to fund sustainable development projects around the world.

Since it was set up in 1991, GEF has provided $6.2 billion in grants and has leveraged $20 billion in co-financing for over 1,800 green projects in more than 150 countries.

Now the GEF “stands ready to build on its past experience working with the most vulnerable countries that seek market-driven sustainable ways to adjust to climate change today”, Monique Barbut, CEO and chairperson, said here.

“Governments across the globe now accept that immediate action is needed to adapt to climate change; at the GEF this has been a concern for years and we have proven experience financing sustainable development projects that help countries focus on ways to lighten the carbon footprint,” said the head of the Washington-based body.

GEF is already the independent financial mechanism for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which is holding the summit that will decide what countries around the world will do to combat global warming after the Kyoto Protocol ends in 2012.

Barbut said the GEF had found all countries had “enough information to start implementing adaptation actions” to live in a warmer world that will have adverse impacts on agriculture and water supply and sea level rise.

“Climate change impacts all development sectors. GEF adaptation projects aim to ensure food security, access to water, sound public health, coastal infrastructure and other basic needs,” she added, warning that countries needed “a significant scaling up of adaptation experiences and much greater resources”.

(Joydeep Gupta can be contacted at [email protected])