The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has so far offered grants totalling $634 million to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), civil society organisations (CSOs) and international institutions all over the world.
Head of the organisation in Nigeria, Olabisi Jaji, made the disclosure at the weekend in Abuja at a forum on the GEF small grants programme (SGP) for NGOs. Halima Mohammed spoke on Jaji’s behalf.
Jaji said GEF, which was launched in 1992 as a funding window designed specifically for NGOs and CBOs has through its SGP, made 14,000 small grants directly to these organisations in its 182-member countries.
The programme entails four categories such as full-sized projects (which are from $1 million and above), medium-sized projects (up to $1million dollars), enabling activities ($500,000, $250,000 and $150,000) and small grants (maximum of $50,000).
The objectives of the workshop are: to promote further appreciation and understanding of the GEF’s SGP in Nigeria; to build capacity for advocacy using project results and to engage in consultative processes for multilateral environmental agreements; to showcase some of the results of SGP projects in the country through exhibition; and, to encourage knowledge sharing and build partnerships for environmental initiatives.
Climatologist, Prof. Olukayode Oladipo, called on governments around the world to ensure that they pay attention to the United Nation’s declaration on sustainable development, economic growth and human environment which, he said, would lead to economic transformation of their states.
Principles of the UN declaration, according to Oladipo, want states across the world to cooperate and strengthen endogenous capacity-building for sustainable development by improving scientific understanding through exchanges of scientific and technological knowledge and by enhancing the development, adaptation, diffusion and transfer of technologies, including new and innovative technologies.
To achieve sustainable development and higher quality of life for all people, states were advised to eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and cooperate to promote a supportive and open international economic system that would lead to economic growth.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Environment, Taiye Haruna, said NGOs/CBOs have greater roles to play in achieving the objectives of sustainable development and that the huge task facing the world is to determine how to overcome environmental challenges including restoring the natural resources, achieving human health protection and designing strategies to allow for future growth, while protecting the environment, maintaining biodiversity, safeguarding human health and preserving cultural and social values.
“There is no doubt that NGOs/CBOs are making great strides in meeting the environmental challenges, though difficulties and tensions remain common. We all should strive to tackle the environmental challenges facing the nation,” he stated.
Meanwhile, Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF, has hailed the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. According to her, it is a landmark international agreement to protect the earth’s ozone layer and demonstrates the global benefits that can flow from concerted effort and cooperation to address environmental threats.
The ozone layer in the earth’s upper atmosphere protects living things from harmful ultraviolet rays from the sun. The phase-out of industrial chemicals under the Montreal Protocol has resulted not only in the recovery of the ozone layer but also has reduced greenhouse gas emissions that contribute significantly to climate change.
“In both its universal acceptance and its focused implementation, the Montreal Protocol is widely recognized as the most successful environmental agreement and is looked to as a model for resolving global environmental challenges,” said Ishii. “GEF investments have helped measurably restore one of our atmosphere’s protective shields while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This demonstrates the multiplier effect we achieve when we identify synergies in our approach to environmental challenges.”
With 197 nations signed as parties to the accord, the Montreal Protocol is the only universally ratified treaty in United Nations history and has, to date, enabled reductions of more than 97 percent of all global consumption and production of controlled ozone depleting substances (ODS). As a result of the Montreal Protocol, concentration of ODS in the atmosphere have begun to decrease.
The GEF funds ozone-protection programs in countries with economies in transition. The GEF has assisted 18 such countries in phasing out ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol, investing $235 million in support of 29 projects and leveraging co-financing from other sources of an additional $247 million.
Dr. Ishii said that cooperation among the key implementing and funding agencies supporting the Montreal Protocol has been critical to the treaty’s success. In addition to the Ozone Secretariat and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol (MLF), the GEF has worked closely with the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation on projects related to the Protocol.
She likewise congratulated Marco Gonzales, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat, and Maria Nolan, chief officer of the MLF.
On Wednesday, September 19, officials involved in the implementation of the Montreal Protocol will gather at the World Bank to celebrate the 25th anniversary.