Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
AS THE Global Environment Facility (GEF) moves beyond its pilot phase, cut-throat competition is generating a tide of proposals aimed at a slice of its US $2 billion pie. Ironically, the ministry of environment and forests (MEF), the nodal agency in the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) dealing with GEF, has only recently prepared an environment action plan for easy identification of thrust areas for assistance, keeping in mind India's priorities.
But environment minister Kamal Nath's hopeful calculations of India garnering about US $400 million in the current phase will first have to counter ad-hocism and ineffective coordination. A highly placed MEF official laments, "By the time MEF was abreast of GEF and the debate over restructuring of GEF was resolved, the pilot phase was over."
The IMC is gradually gearing up to develop a formal mechanism to generate and coordinate project proposals. Officials confide that 5 major areas in biodiversity conservation have been identified, including biodiversity information network, capacity building in biodiversity conservation, ecodevelopment in 8 national parks, conservation projects for biosphere reserves, wildlife preserves for tigers and elephants, ex situ conservation, and conservation of wetlands and coral reefs.
Of the 22-odd proposals in the pipeline, about 8 have been shortlisted by the GEF for further modification and improvement. The rest are being revised by the IMC. The GEF does not give funds to individual countries, but to any agency anywhere which comes up with a satisfactory project outline. Hence the rush for a seat in the rapidly crowding bus.
Early to gauge the advantages, the power sector has already bagged assistance worth US $26 million. Even in the post-pilot (July 1994 onwards) phase, the first proposal ready to get the go from GEF is also a joint project of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and the department of oceanography: demonstrating greenhouse gas reduction by commercial harnessing of sea wave power.
But abject lack of awareness among concerned ministries regarding GEF criteria -- such as incremental costs -- dogs the IMC. Harried officials worry about the intricate interface between the various environmental issues and stiff international competition. As one of them put it, "We will have to put our heads together and come up with foolproof projects, avoiding duplication and keeping in line with national priorities."