(PRESS RELEASE VIA SNO) – The Government of Saint Lucia joins over a hundred countries, civil society organizations, private sector and intergovernmental organizations in Da Nang, Viet Nam, from June 27th to 29th for the Sixth Global Environment Facility (GEF) Assembly.
The GEF was founded in 1991 and to date is the largest donor of grant funding for Small Island Developing States (SIDS), Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Countries with Economies in Transition (CEIT).
The GEF started as a pilot project within the World Bank on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and is about to start its seventh replenishment with a portfolio of over 4 billion US dollars. The GEF provides financial assistance to countries through their eighteen (18) implementing partners in the focal areas of biodiversity, climate change, chemicals and waste, land degradation and international waters. Moreover, the GEF is the funding mechanism for five multilateral environmental agreements including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Conventions to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD).
GEF’s Assembly is a governing body and comprises one hundred and eighty-three (183) member countries. The Assembly meets every four (4) years at the ministerial level to review and evaluate the GEF’s operations, based on reports submitted by the GEF Council; to review the membership of the Facility; and to consider for approval by consensus, amendments to instruments for the establishment of the restructuring of the GEF based on recommendations by the GEF Council.
The Minister of Education, Innovation, Gender Relations and Sustainable Development, Honourable Dr. Gale T. C. Rigobert is in attendance and is accompanied by Ag. Deputy Permanent Secretary Ms. Caroline Eugene and Sustainable Development and Environment Officer, Ms. Jeanel Volney, both of the Department of Sustainable Development.
Minister Rigobert addressed the Assembly with a theme focused on the ever-thriving GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) in Saint Lucia. She praised the work undertaken by the programme with special mention of a young entrepreneur Mr. Karlis Noel who with funds from the SGP developed a prototype for desalination system which will now be replicated in Nauru.
Minister Rigobert was also a Panelist on a Chemical and Waste Roundtable entitled “Preventing a Toxic Legacy- Transforming the Chemicals Industry”. In her contribution, Minister Rigobert spoke to inter alia, the role that the political directorate can play to ensure sustainable chemical management in their countries. These include being champions and advocates of key focal areas relating to chemical management and providing the necessary financial incentives for industries to go green.
Saint Lucia is expected to receive approximately US four (4) million dollars from the GEF to undertake projects in the focal areas of climate change, land degradation and biodiversity.