Tue, 19 Dec 2000

Funds sought for fighting effects of global warming

JAKARTA (JP): While observing serious threats of global warming here, experts on Monday called for the importance of foreign assistance in financing rehabilitation projects on the adverse effects of global climatic changes.

Agroclimatologist from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) Rizaldi Boer said there was actually a nonlimited budget provided by an international agency, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), to finance projects of anticipating or rehabilitating the effect of global climatic changes.

"But, unfortunately the GEF funds are difficult to obtain as the funding countries seem reluctant to disburse them.

"The mechanism is complicated. There are so many criterions that we have to fulfill. It's very frustrating," Rizaldi, who was once a consultant for GEF, said.

"But, as long as we can prove that the environmental damage was caused by global climatic changes, we can propose for the fund," he said on the sidelines of a seminar.

He cited that the GEF funds, which is contributed by developed or industrialized countries, are worth million of dollars.

"The GEF funds are given in respect of the fact that developed countries contribute 75 percent of the total global carbon dioxide emission, while the developing countries bear the effect," he said.

Separately on Monday, Deputy Environment Minister for Environmental Management Daniel Murdiarso said the GEF had promised the Ministry of Environment over US$300,000 a few years ago, but the funds had yet to be disbursed.

"The mechanism of the fund disbursement is handled by the developed countries. We want it simplified so that we can receive the funds faster and more easily," Daniel told reporters.

"Ministries which are related to problems caused by climatic changes are themselves not familiar with GEF or its funds," Rizaldi said. This, he added, also contributed to the problem.

He also cited the inability of the Indonesian institutions to make good and strong proposals for the GEF fund disbursement.

"China and Malaysia could secure the GEF funds because they had made good and feasible proposals," Rizaldi cited.

In China, he said, the government held regular meetings with related institutions to gather ideas and suggestions.

"But, China has also been pressuring GEF," he added.

"While over here, two institutions have made two separate proposals on the same issue. They have refused to work together to submit a single proposal," Rizaldi said without elaborating.

"Therefore, we have to strengthen coordination among government institutions." (hdn)