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The Dutch government has almost doubled its annual contribution to the budget of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) this year, it was announced on 28 November.

The Netherlands, already a significant funder of the organisation, whose total budget is about US$100 million, has boosted its contribution to UNEP’s Environment Fund by US$2.1 million to a total of US$4.5 million.

Klaus Toepfer, UNEP executive director, thanked the Dutch government for its “substantial and timely intervention” and said that the decision “has come at an important time as we head for next year’s crucial World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg”.

The Environment Fund, which provides most of the funding for UNEP’s core work programme has been declining during recent years, totalling US$41 million last year. It is critical for UNEP’s activities in areas such as chemicals, early warning of disasters, wildlife and environmental law.

UNEP, which was created immediately after the UN environment conference, which took placed in Stockholm in 1972, is hoping that the Johannesburg meeting will provide the organisation with a strengthened mandate for addressing issues at the interface between environment and development.

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