International Environment:

Information on Global Environment Facility's Funding and Projects

RCED-99-149: Published: Jun 15, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Global Environment Facility's funding and activities, focusing on: (1) the amount and the sources of its funding commitments for fiscal years (FY) 1995 through 1998; (2) how it selected projects for funding; (3) how it allocated funds among major priorities and how funds for climate-change projects were allocated by purpose and country for FY 1995 through FY 1998; and (4) what oversight and evaluation mechanisms it has established, and what, if any, findings have resulted from its evaluations and reviews.

GAO noted that: (1) from FY 1995 through FY 1998, 35 nations committed to contribute, or pledged, a total of about $2 billion to the Global Environment Facility trust fund; (2) the United States and two other nations accounted for the majority of these pledges; (3) projects are selected through a multistage review and approval process, which includes technical, environmental, and other considerations; (4) nations and other applicants submit project concepts, which are developed into detailed project proposals if they meet the Facility's eligibility criteria; (5) these criteria require, among other things, that a project be from a developing country and that funds from the Facility be used only for new activities; (6) the project proposals are then reviewed for technical appropriateness, financial feasibility, environmental benefits, and other considerations that reflect the Facility's policy goals; (7) during these reviews, representatives of contributing nations and Facility-appointed scientific and technical specialists review and comment on the proposals; (8) according to Department of the Treasury officials, the Facility ultimately selects projects through negotiations and consensus; (9) the Facility allocated a total of $1.2 billion to projects for FY 1995 through FY 1998; (10) these funds went to projects in its four priority areas; (11) the remaining $44 million went to projects addressing two or more of these priority areas; (12) in coordination with the three international agencies that help implement its projects, the Facility has established an approach for project oversight and evaluation; (13) this approach includes both strategic-level reviews, which examine such issues as the Facility's effectiveness in providing resources to address global environmental problems and the Facility's relationship with recipient nations, and project-level reviews, which examine the implementation and the results of individual projects in greater detail; (14) these reviews have found both strengths and weaknesses; (15) in some cases, the Facility's projects have encouraged the broader adoption of environmentally sound technologies by recipient countries; and (16) some projects appear dependent on funds from the Facility and might not meet the expectation that they be self-sustaining after their funding ends.

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