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Joint Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
&
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Alexander Downer

8 August 2002

Major Increase in Funding to Protect World Environment


We are pleased to announce Australia has significantly increased its contribution to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the world's major multilateral financing mechanism for addressing environmental challenges.

Australia pledged $68.2 million to the Facility, an increase of 58 percent over its previous contribution, at a meeting held in Washington overnight.

The GEF was established in 1991 to address four critical threats to the global environment: biodiversity loss, climate change, degradation of international waters and ozone depletion.

The GEF is the single largest source of funding for the global environment and is the main source of financing for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Over the past decade, the GEF has committed US$4.2 billion in grants, and has leveraged US$11 billion in additional financing from public and private sources, for more than 1,000 projects in 160 less developed countries.

With this pledge, Australia will have committed over $184 million to the GEF since 1991 and has co-funded several GEF projects in the Asia-Pacific region.

This significant increase in funding demonstrates the Government's commitment to addressing global environmental issues in a practical and effective manner, particularly in the lead up to the World Summit for Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg later this month.

Contacts:
Jo Elsom AusAID (02) 6206 4960 or 0412 804 489
Chris Kenny Mr Downer's office 0419 206 890
Catherine Job Dr Kemp's office 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia