Independent eco fund proposed

Independent eco fund proposed After an initial whimper of protest, Southern governments accepted the partly reformed global environmental facility (GEF) as an interim mechanism to fund the implementation of decisions at the UN Conference on Environment and Development. But loud dissent was heard from the NGO camp when the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute recently proposed a strategy for creating an independent fund to address global environmental problems.

In its recently released State of World Report, the institute proposed taxing worldwide foreign exchange transactions. By Worldwatch's calculations, even a tax of 0.003 per cent on daily transactions would raise US $8.4 billion -- almost 4 times the recent US $2 billion replenishment of the GEF. The demand for a fund is a common concern of many NGOs who fear that the North could manipulate GEF. Further, since the US wants to cut all foreign assistance to GEF, the Worldwatch report questions any American participation in combating global environmental problems.

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