A ceremony that kicked off a green initiative to empower local communities and NGOs in protecting the environment and combating climate change
On March 27, 2010, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) along with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), launched the GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) at a unique ceremony organized by Ministry of Finance, the GEF Small Grants Programme and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP); and co-organized by All China Environment Federation (ACEF), one of the grantees of SGP China and Chaoyang District Government, the local government where this SGP project is taking place.
Over 300 people attended this unique event including government officials, United Nations officials, representatives from grantee NGO's and local communities, volunteers, and journalists. Launched in Beijing, the GEF SGP is envisaged to protect the environment while enhancing people's well-being and livelihoods.
China was officially included as one of the 23 new country programmes for start up in GEF-4. Last year, SGP China announced its first "call for proposals", receiving 156 responses within a 30 day period. The National Steering Committee of SGP China approved 22 projects, which collectively encompass all of GEF's strategic priorities including: biodiversity conservation, combating climate change, protecting international waters, preventing land degradation and eliminating persistent organic pollutants. The breadth of the initial round of projects spans from Xinjiang Province to Zhejiang Province, establishing initiatives that range from the implementation of innovative community-based biodiversity conservation and sustainable land management practices to productive uses of renewable energy.
At the ceremony, the programme kicked off one of its projects called the 'Wangjing Community Low Carbon Action' implemented by All China Environment Federation (ACEF), a project that aims to reduce the monthly electricity consumption by 1 kWh per family during this coming summer (from June to August). 10,000 households living in Beijing's Chaoyang District, the city's largest and most populated area, will participate in this community-based green campaign that will lead to a carbon dioxide reduction of up to 50 tones and more importantly, a behavior change as each household adopts to live a low-carbon, sustainable life.
"The GEF SGP is operated on the premise that local people will be empowered to protect the environment when they are organized to take actions, have a measure of control over access to the natural resource base, can deploy the necessary information and knowledge, and believe that their social and economic well-being is dependent on sound long-term natural resource management," said Khalid Malik, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China. Malik noted that by raising public awareness, building partnerships, and promoting policy dialogue, the programme aims to promote an enabling environment within China for achieving sustainable development while addressing global environmental issues.
With a total budget of US$ 1.15 million from the GEF, SGP China is one of 122 country programmes of the global SGP which is implemented by UNDP, and as such is implemented in a country-driven manner through a National Steering Committee that is a partnership of the Chinese government, local NGOs/CBOs and other stakeholders. The programme will channel financial and technical support directly to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as well as community-based organizations (CBOs) for their GEF-related environmental projects