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IDB more than doubles pipeline of projects financed by the Global Environmental Facility

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has more than doubled over the past year its pipeline of projects in climate change, biodiversity and land conservation, and international waters, under its partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The IDB has helped countries in Latin America and the Caribbean secure $70 million of projects that will be funded with grant resources from GEF, a financial mechanism created in 1991 to fund projects related to the environment. Currently, the IDB has $55 million of GEF-funded projects under execution.

Demand for projects that protect the environment and promote sustainable development has been increasing over the past decade as countries expand their economic activity in sectors such as tourism, agriculture, energy and transportation. The IDB and the GEF represent an important source of funding and technical expertise for countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with limited resources to finance such projects.

“The IDB’s growing role as a major source of GEF financing reflects our capacity to combine these projects with our own investments so we can achieve a broader development goal ,’’ said Héctor Malarín, Chief of the Environment and Rural Development Department at the IDB. “Moreover, as a multilateral organization, we can leverage the impact of these projects by bringing public and private partners to co-finance them.”

On average, for every $1 of GEF resources, the IDB has attracted $4 in co-financing since the Bank’s partnership with the facility began in 2004, according to Malarín. The IDB-GEF project pipeline is expected to increase further with the fifth replenishment period for the Facility, which starts in July 2010. Malarín added.

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Under the current pipeline, for example, the partnership is helping protect the Maya Biosphere Reserve and strengthening the capacity of indigenous communities to protect and manage their natural and cultural resources in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor. More recently, the partnership has financed sustainable energy projects in Haiti, Barbados and the Bahamas.

The IDB-GEF partnership channels resources to over 16 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, contributing to protect critical marine and terrestrial ecosystems; conserve biodiversity; reduce pollution; control desertification and foster sustainable energy sources.

The partnership with GEF is part of IDB´s agenda to promote sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2009, the Bank more than doubled its loans for environmental improvement, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and renewable energy to $3.5 billion. The Bank also provided last year $61.6 million in technical cooperation, investing heavily in energy efficiency, renewable energy, biodiversity and disaster risk management.

The IDB is the leading provider of development financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. Under the partnership with GEF, the Bank has become an executing agency for the facility, working closely with governments in the design and execution of projects financed with GEF grants. The GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, ozone depleting substances, persistent organic pollutants and international waters.

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