By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
BAHAMIANS will be able to access $1 million in grant funding under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) small grants vehicle, the Minister of the Environment and Housing said yesterday, adding that the programme had committed to providing this locally through 2014.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the GEF small grants training workshop, Kenred Dorsett said the Bahamas has received more than $8-$10 million through the GEF over the past decade.
“Under the recent replenishment of the Global Environment Facility, the Government of the Bahamas has the potential to access some $7.5 million for the GEF,” said Mr Dorsett.
“To this end, I am pleased to advise that the Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST) in the Ministry of the Environment and Housing undertook a National Portfolio Formulation Exercise (NPFE) to identify projects to access these resources.
“My Government is now considering a paper to advance this by focusing on the use of forestry and non-pine forestry products to further develop sustainable livelihoods in our local communities.”
Mr Dorsett added: “Over the past decade and through its strong partnerships, led by the BEST Commission through my Ministry, the Bahamas has received more than $8 to $10 million in grants from the GEF.
“If we were to also add the financial support from bilateral aid organisations, or support provided by regional and interregional sources, some $12 to $15 million have been accessed for work to protect our environment.
“Equally important is the Government’s ‘In-Kind’ support from the BEST Commission, the Department of Marine Resources, Ministry of Agriculture the Department of Environment Health Services (DEHS) and our non-governmental partners, the Bahamas National Trust, the Nature Conservancy and The Bahamas Environment Educational (BREEF) Foundation.”
Mr Dorsett said the GEF is “the largest public funding vehicle of projects to improve the global environment”.
Over the past 19 years, the Small Grants Programmne has invested $450 million and leveraged similar levels of financing for over 13,500 projects by communities in 122 countries.
The programme provides grants of up to $50,000 directly.
The Bahamas established a National GEF Small Grants Programme in 2009, and it has since provided more than $200,000 in grants to Bahamian civil society organisations inclusive of non-government organisations and community-based organisations.
The Bahamas GEF Small Grants Programme is focused at the national level in providing grants in environmental areas that support local communities in addressing their needs in the areas of biodiversity, climate change, land degradation, chemicals, international waters and capacity development.
“The GEF Small Grant Programme has committed to providing $1 million in grants through the local office through the year 2014,” said Mr Dorsett.
“All of these funds will directly benefit local civil society organisations and communities needing assistance in the aforementioned thematic areas. Under the thematic area of capacity development, which brings us all here today, the GEF Small Grant Programme is committed to partnering with the Government of the Bahamas, other international organisations such as IICA, the OAS, the US Embassy and the College of the Bahamas to deliver key training that will meet the needs of all local CSOs in the area of grant writing and accessing grant funding.”
The minister added: “The support of local civil society organisations is of the highest importance to the GEF Small Grant
Programme, and having the support of the
Government of the Bahamas to make it practical is priority.
“This year alone the GEF Small Grant Programme has provided grants to support the development of Eco-Schools here in Nassau and the Family Islands through its grant to the Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF).
“Other grants have been issued to the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) to assist in the development of the Bone Fish Pond National Park and the Moriah Harbour Cay National Park, Exuma, to aid in the removal of invasive alien species and the restoration of mangroves which have been destroyed by encroachment.
“The GEF Small Grant Programme has supported the lobster fisheries communities of Abaco through a grant to the Friends of the Environment, Abaco, which undertook the
‘Size Matters’ campaign educating all stakeholders about the need for sustainable catch of lobster fisheries.”