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Tuesday, July 11, 2006 

Funding on the decline?
Web Posted - Tue Jul 11 2006
THE new Global Environment Facility (GEF) Resource Allocation Framework (RAF) is likely to undermine the agenda of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

That was the view expressed by Minister of Energy and the Environment, Elizabeth Thompson, as she delivered the feature address at the opening of the GEF Sub-regional Consultation at the Barbados Hilton yesterday morning.

Minister Thompson said that with the new RAF, while the GEF has always been a reliable source of funding for SIDS, it would appear that future GEF funding for SIDS could be on the decline.

The RAF by its very nature is geared towards categorising countries according to perceived contributions to global problems. It therefore limits access to funding by smaller economies such as Barbados and favours the larger economies. This categorisation prejudices SIDS as it does not take into account the vulnerability of Small Island Developing States to natural disaster or exogenous economic shock, she maintained.

Likewise, she contended, it also fails to recognise the increasing economic marginalisation being experienced in the Caribbean, the adverse impacts of globalisation and trade liberalisation, the loss of preferential trade markets, the graduation from concessionary financing of several Caribbean countries including Barbados, and the consequential loss of national capacity for financing environmental protection.

Nevertheless, she said that they are aware that the GEF is more than a channel for project financing and that it also supports global environmental considerations in national development planning, encourages the transfer of environmentally sound technology and knowledge, as well as strengthens the capacity of developing countries to play their full part in protecting the global environment. Additionally, she said that in an effort to assist Barbados and the wider region to better access the GEF she would like better channels of communication between our region and the GEF Secretariat opened.

There is also a view that GEF time lines project preparation and access and mechanisms are somewhat complicated and tedious. In this regard, we call for more awareness raising workshops, seminars and training sessions to put the Caribbean region in a position to derive the maximum benefits available to us from GEF, the minister said.

She continued, We also call upon implementing agencies to include us in the project concept and project preparation phases. All too often, implementing agencies unilaterally develop projects for us, which do not reflect national needs and policy priorities. Such inclusion will have two benefits  appropriate projects suited to the region and allow us to build our national capacity for future initiatives.

Barbados Advocate ©2000

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