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All over the globe, in some of the world's most remote places, a new gold rush is well under way. As the price of the precious metal has grown in recent years, millions of people – modern day equivalents of the North America's famed 49ers of the 19th century - have picked up pickaxes and pans to extract it.

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Back at the turn of the millennium what were supposed to be wetlands in Belarus caught fire. Between 1999 and 2002, big conflagrations swept across peatlands which had been drained over the previous decades – over 1.5 million hectares nationwide were dried out for agriculture, forestry or peat mining between 1960 and 1980 – turning them into powder kegs.

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UN Development Programme and the Government of Kyrgyzstan agree on US$ 1m GEF-financed global project to conserve snow leopards.

The Snow leopard has declined by 20% in the past two decades, leaving only an estimated 4,000-6,500 of this iconic species left in the wild. With an effective breeding population of about 2,500, numerous threats face this irreplaceable cat, ranging from illegal hunting to habitat loss and our rapidly changing climate.

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The Global Environment Facility plays a key role in building a strategy covering a wide range of topics and challenges in an ever-changing field. Through its funding and experts, the GEF has created an invaluable data base of knowledge and sustainable growth throughout the world.

Mabe is honoured to work with the GEF to promote and accelerate the use of energy efficient technologies that will both benefit the environment and dramatically improve people's quality of life, while having a positive impact on governments in developing economies.

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By Lars Tveen, President, Danfoos Heating

The GEF grant really accelerated the work of the SE4All District Energy Initiative. Without the grant we couldn’t go further faster together.

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CAF, the Development Bank of Latin America, has the promotion of sustainable development and the integration of its member countries as strategic pillars. CAF and the GEF share a key role in the environmental protection of the region. This is done through co-financing sustainable development projects that generate regional and global environmental benefits as well as national initiatives to strengthen compliance with international environmental commitments in the framework of the UN.

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By Gerd Müller, Federal Minister of Economis Cooperation and Development, Germany,

and Michel Sapin, Minister of Economy, Finance and Industry, France

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Why is it that in a country like Colombia, the first project developed and implemented with GEF funding at the beginning of the 1990s had to do with the Conservation of Biodiversity in the Biogeographical Region of Choco, yet today, 25 years later we are preparing a project entitled Biodiversity and Sustainable Development in the Pacific Region in the context of Peacebuilding?

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By Geoffrey Lean

Environmental destruction is as old as civilization itself. Egyptian mummies have lungs blackened by the polluted air they breathed. Rome began building aqueducts for drinking water after dumping its sewage in the Tiber. Forests were felled to make ancient Greek ships and ink - from tree bark – for the bureaucrats of China's Tang dynasty. And Gilgamesh, the world's first known written story, warned against land degradation in Mesopotamia.

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By Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility 

Big birthdays are occasions for celebration, and reflection – and reaching 25 years is a particularly important milestone. For a person, it marks the onset of full maturity, a moment at which soberly to confirm the course to an effective and satisfying adult life, while still retaining much of youth's enthusiasm and willingness to innovate. And it can be much the same for organizations.

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