by Xiao Xuezhi
Deputy Director General, Foreign Economic Cooperation Office, Ministry of Environmental Protection of China
In more than 20 years’ of partnership with the GEF, China's Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO) has executed many projects to conserve biodiversity, protect international waters, tackle climate change, and reduce persistent organic pollutants and mercury contamination. By 2015, FECO - an institution affiliated to the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China (MEP) established in 1989 to manage projects funds in cooperation with international organizations and implement multilateral environmental agreements - had executed 38 national projects, a quarter of the country's total, receiving $270 million in grants from the GEF and leveraging over $1 billion in co-financing.
These projects have significantly helped enhance China’s capacity for decision making and enforcing regulations, led innovation in concepts and technologies in environmental protection, promoted the reduction of pollutants of global concern and delivered significant global environmental benefits while improving people's livelihoods. They have also continuously achieved highly satisfactory performance from the perspectives of the GEF and other international institutions. Many have become exemplary models for executing projects that could be followed, and learned from, by other developing countries.
In 2015, the partnership opened a new chapter when FECO was officially accredited as a new GEF national implementing entity, enabling it to leverage a stronger impact on improving China’s environment. This considerably cemented the trust and partnership between the two bodies, as the GEF’s principle of country ownership and driving is further promoted and practised.
As the GEF celebrates its 25th anniversary, tackling global environmental issues and realizing sustainable development continues to be a pressing but arduous task, which demands stronger cooperation in the international community. FECO is willing to deepen cooperation with the GEF to contribute to its global objectives and visions and develop high-quality projects to deliver more environmental benefits, not just for China but for the whole world. It would also like to see the GEF playing a more important role and having a greater impact in future, as it serves as the financial mechanism for multilateral environmental agreements.