India increases grants to $15m to handle global environment crises

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Da Nang (Vietnam), June 26 (IANS) Playing a crucial role to mitigate climate change and other environmental challenges across the globe, India on Tuesday announced it will increase for the next four years the money it pays to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), a mechanism to provide grants for environment projects.

India’s representative to GEF Council Aparna Subramani made the announcement at its meeting in this Vietnamese city that will conclude on June 28.

Subramani, who represents India in the World Bank and a representative of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, besides her home country in the GEF Council, told the gathering that India has decided to increase its commitments from $12 million to $15 million to the GEF’s new four-year investment cycle, known as GEF-7.

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GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii, who opened the GEF council meeting on June 24, thanked India for increasing its financial support, which will go to other developing countries to deal with urgent environmental crises.

Subramani also said at the council meeting that NGOs getting money for GEF projects should not remain the same over years. This point was immediately supported by the delegate from Argentina.

The GEF Council is meeting two months after governments, in a demonstration of confidence, approved a $4.1 billion replenishment of GEF-7.

GEF, established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental problems, has provided $17.9 billion in grants and mobilised an additional $93.2 billion in financing for more than 4,500 projects in 170 countries.

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India, among the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, is both a donor and a recipient of GEF, an international partnership of 183 countries.

The GEF Council will be followed be the sixth GEF Assembly (June 27-28), which meets every four years, and is expecting 1,200 participants, including heads of state, environment ministers, UN, NGO and business leaders.

(Vishal Gulati is in Da Nang for the Internews’ Earth Journalism Network Biodiversity Fellowship Programme at the Sixth Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly. He can be reached at [email protected])

–IANS

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