A new paper by the NCPA examines the U.N.’s Global Environmental Facility. The United States has donated $1.24 billion to the GEF. Over the past five years, U.S. contributions have increased 61 percent. The GEF was established to fund international projects to preserve biodiversity, prevent global warming, protect international waters, stop land degradation, save the ozone layer and remove persistent organic pollutants in less developed countries.
However, as with so many well-meaning, international efforts as the study details, the GEF is rife with corruption, sends most of its funding to wealthier, fast growing countries that could fund their own environmental efforts rather than the poorest countries that could really use the help, has little accountability, and appears immune to reform.
Concerning corruption, The GEF has been scandal-ridden. For instance:]
- In 2007, the GEF was caught in procurement fraud in Africa worth $8 million; but when an official reported it, the United Nations retaliated against the whistleblower.
- In the Philippines, the GEF was reportedly operated by an official who awarded grants to her own local nongovernment organization (NGO); then, diverted funds to enrich her family. When a U.N. employee blew the whistle, the United Nations covered it up.
- The U.N. Development Program, which oversees the GEF, was investigated for illicitly giving funds to North Korea, and for their inability to account for $100 million designated for sustainable development projects.
The GEF has proven adept at one thing, transferring money from some rich countries to other rich countries – while leaving those countries most in need of environmental help begging for scraps. The U.S. should not continue to throw good money after bad. This is not a program in need of reform – rather it needs to be scrapped entirely.