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The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is looked to as a megafund to get environmentally sound initiatives off the ground. But at a meeting earlier this month, based on a major review of the fund’s first decade of operation, its donors failed to agree on the next budget.

In the review, GEF was commended for achieving “significant results” in addressing global problems such as ozone depletion. But it received poor marks for its efforts to reach out to the scientific community.

James Seyani, a Malawian botanist, said “projects should be submitted to critical scientific review, which has not been the case in the past”. And experts in developing countries are rarely consulted.

Outgoing chair of GEF’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel Madhav Gadgil, an ecologist at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, recommended that the fund greatly expand its scientific links in the developing world.

Reference: Science 296, 1596 (2002)