Bush Reduces Commitment to Global Environmental Protection
The Bush Administration is failing to keep its word to other nations by budgeting $57 million less than what it promised to pay to replenish the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a collaborative funding agency that "provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit the global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods..."
The administration's last two budget requests sought ample funding from Congress for the GEF. However, its 2005 budget provides only $121 million, which many say is insufficient for this very effective, much-needed environmental program.
Established in 1991, the GEF is the primary financial method for transferring energy and other technologies from developed to developing countries under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Managed by the UN Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme and the World Bank, the GEF has provided $4.5 billion in grants, and generated $14.5 billion in co-financing from other partners, since its establishment. The GEF has supported over 1,300 projects in some 140 countries.
"For the past two years, the Bush Administration, to its credit, requested funding that reflected its commitment to increase the U.S. contribution to the GEF. Based on that pledge, other donor nations stepped up to the plate and increased their contributions. In requesting such a major cut, the Bush Administration has damaged its credibility and goodwill in the world's major forum on the global environment. It will gratuitously throw away one of its few green credits unless Congress saves the day," said Randall D. Snodgrass, Director of Government Relations at World Wildlife Fund, in an interview with BushGreenwatch.
The GEF provides funds for six global issues: biodiversity, climate change, international waters, ozone, land degradation, and persistent organic pollutants. Projects have included helping developing countries prevent and control desertification, supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency, eliminating threats to endangered wildlife, and increasing the size of the protected areas system in the Brazilian Amazon.