Finance

At the fourth UNCED PrepCom in New York, the Green Forum Philippines floated the concept of an Earth People's Fund. Behind the project was the notion of raising funds internationally for disbursement by local community groups in projects that promote sustainable development. This received favorable reactions from many NGO and official delegations, and the Ford Foundation in the United States gave the Green Forum a grant to do a feasibility study. A steering committee of ten NGO representatives from different regions of the world, economists, foundation and business leaders participated in a meeting held on November 21-24, 1992 in Manila. The Fund would have to be democratic, decentralized and transparent, say its proposers.

Skepticism about the existing Global Environment Facility (GEF) led 120 non-governmental organizations from Africa, Asia and Latin America to demand an alternative Green Fund. Their report "The Southern Green Fund: Views from the South on the Global Environment Facility" was released by WWF-World Wide Fund for Nature. Each of the regions contributing to the Southern Green Fund report has proposed alternative structures to the GEF and operating and financing mechanisms which would be more representative of the South and its needs. The report recommends institutional structures and funding mechanisms which are radically different from and independent of existing development assistance institutions and more responsive to the needs and priorities of the South. The new fund would emphasize NGO/community participation, respect for national and regional priorities, integration of local and global concerns, poverty alleviation and independence from donors.

Norway is the sole developed country that has met and surpassed internationally agreed upon targets for family planning and overall development assistance, according to a report by Population Action International. Norway devotes more than 4% of aid to family planning programs, an amount equal to more than $12 for every Norwegian.

Bread for the World (BFW) has prepared a report entitled "Foreign Aid: What Counts for Sustainable Development", which estimates that roughly one out of four U.S. foreign aid dollars are directly underwriting humanitarian and sustainable development objectives. BFW is putting together a campaign to try to double the dollars devoted to sustainable development via U.S. foreign aid.

More than 40 banks from all over the world have signed the "Statement by Banks on the Environment and Sustainable Development", a series of commitments brokered by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to increase environmental principles in the financial services sector. The Statement was first presented by UNEP to banking institutions a few weeks before the UNCED. The banks that have endorsed the Statement jointly agree and recognize that ecological protection and sustainable development are collective responsibilities and therefore must rank among the highest priorities of all business activities.