Rio+20: Global Environment Facility calls for more ‘synergy’ between UN departments

By Ed King
RTCC in Rio

Twenty years on from their conception, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the financial mechanism for the three “Rio conventions”, calls on them to find synergies that will allow them to work together.

Speaking to RTCC at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, Monique Barbut from the GEF said that the three conventions – the Convention for Biological Diversity (UNCBD), the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – have been developing their own identities.

Now she says, they need to work together, co-operate more closely and therefore encourage co-operation with countries.

“It is true that when you want to build your own identity, you are first looking at yourself,” she said. “But now they are adults – 20 years is the age of an adult – I think that now is the right time to think what kind of synergies you can have among them.

“In many countries – if you look for example at the poorest countries in Africa – how can you say that a problem is climate, how can you say one is biodiversity and the third one land degradation?

“If you are in Mali the three of them are the same problem.”

Barbut says there are many ways the three conventions could work together. For example countries under each of the conventions have to report annually on progress – something which can be a costly process.

By combining the three reporting strands into one joint report, 25% of this work could be removed by ending duplication.

And with such joint projects between the conventions, Barbut says nations would also have to begin talking and working out what they can do together.

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