The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and UNIDO's Green Industry Initiative

The Global Environment Facility (GEF), established in 1991, unites 181 member governments — in partnership with international institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector — to address global environmental issues.

As an independent financial organization, the GEF provides grants to developing countries and countries with economies in transition for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants.

The focus of UNIDO’s support via these energy and environmental programmes is to assist countries in putting in place the policy, institutional and financial frameworks in the GEF focal areas. UNIDO has major activities in the focal areas of Climate Change, International Waters, Ozone Depletion, Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Land Degradation and supports more than 50 countries in achieving sustainable industrial development under the GEF mandate.

The strategic focus is on two key areas: (a) promoting the cleaner and more efficient use of resources and energy by industry; and (b) facilitating productive activities (particularly in rural areas) through the provision of modern energy supplies based on renewable energy.

Where industry is already established, UNIDO offers technical cooperation to industry and enterprises to become more sustainable in their use through resource and energy efficiency measures, including systems optimization approaches, and by supporting the strengthening of international and national energy/environment management standards.

Given UNIDO’s intervention in strengthening the linkages between resource/
energy efficiency and sustainable development in the industrial sector, the GEF Council in its 30th meeting in December 2006 decided that UNIDO, along with ADB, AfDB, EBRD, FAO, IDB and IFAD, should have direct access to the GEF Funds, on an equal basis along with the three historical GEF Implementing Agencies, UNDP, UNEP and the World Bank. This decision has given UNIDO a unique opportunity to enhance the impacts of its GEF Portfolio. UNIDO-GEF recognizes the importance that greening the industrial sector requires a holistic approach, with both energy and environmental policies/strategies playing strong and defining roles.

In November 2009, the GEF Council approved UNIDO's work program comprising of seven large scale projects in the focal areas of Climate Change, POPs and Ozone Depleting Substance with a total GEF funding amounting to US$ 36.1 million. One of the approved projects innovatively addressed the multi-focal areas of Climate Change, Technology Transfer and Ozone Depleting Substance.

By the end of 2009, UNIDO had a total of US$257 million of GEF-supported pipeline; GEF allotments amounted to US$ 138.3 million; cumulative expenditures under GEF projects as of end 2009 were US$ 94.8 million.

The past years have proven that the initial phase of the GEF-UNIDO partnership
with member governments has marked a significant increase in UNIDO portfolio
of energy and environmental based projects. Continued collaboration between the organizations has resulted in greater synergy between economic, social and environmental aspects of developing countries and economies in transition activities.

For more on UNIDO related information please email the GEF coordinator for UNIDO:

Georgios Anestis