As Coordinator of the GEF’s chemicals and waste team, Anil Sookdeo is working to end exposure to toxic pollutants and chemicals that endanger human health and that of the planet. In an interview, he recalled how his first job at an ammonia plant opened his eyes to environmental risks related to chemicals and led to a career focused on preventing accidents, injuries, and damage from their use.
What is the GEF doing about dangerous chemicals and pollutants?
This story highlights the work being done through the GEF Small Grants Programme at the Green Creek Farmers’ Cooperative in Belize, where sustainable agricultural production and protection of flora and fauna define the community’s cultural identity.
In times of crisis, it is typically rural areas that are most vulnerable to adversity, and it is often big cities that send humanitarian aid to the countryside. With the COVID-19 crisis, however, the situation has reversed. The pandemic’s mobility restrictions are disrupting food supply chains and hindering access to traditional and nutritious food in urban areas.
“The sun isn’t even out. You get up, button your uniform, tie your boot laces, put on your beret, grab your field gear, and kiss your family goodbye. You close your eyes and take a moment to make peace with the reality that you may never see them again.” This is the daily routine of a ranger.
Representatives of the Global Environment Facility’s COVID-19 Task Force joined an International Conservation Caucus Foundation briefing for U.S. Congress members to present research on the links between deforestation, illegal wildlife trade, and health risks from zoonotic diseases, making the case for an integrated approach to tackling these challenges.
The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme (CGIP), implemented by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and funded by the GEF, has supported over 1,300 small and medium-sized enterprises developing disruptive technology that address climate change and energy challenges. CGIP alumni in Morocco, South Africa, Thailand, and Pakistan are now innovating responses to COVID-19.
The GEF Country Support Program held more than 66 in-person events from June 2018 to March 2020, at the mid-point of the GEF-7 funding cycle. In March 2020, the program shifted to a more online format to continue engaging with partners during the COVID-19 outbreak. Against this backdrop, the Country Support Program team launched a survey of its events. The survey polled 1,300 participants of GEF-7 events to capture their views of the support provided and assessment of how well the program has contributed to increasing their knowledge of the GEF and its resources.
Three out of four participants in the Global Environment Facility’s recent Country Support Program events have attested that the activities strengthened their ability to plan and deliver new environmental projects, affirming how these meetings have helped share knowledge and tools to tackle environmental challenges.