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Background Brief - 21 Jan 2004

Financial Contributions

Germany has been a long-standing supporter of UNEP with its financial commitment stretching back to 1974.

Germany, at over $ 5.8 million, is now the second biggest contributor to UNEP’s core funding, known as the Environment Fund, after the United Kingdom.

The country also contributes to various trust funds and activities including UNEP’s work on Dams and Development, conservation of bats in Europe, the PADELIA initiative that is boosting environment law in African countries and UNEP’s work on persistent toxic substances.

In this respect Germany has, since 1998, provided over $1.75 million towards the UNEP-brokered Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) of which important amounts have helped developing countries address the threat of these so called ‘dirty dozen’ chemicals. These include substances such as polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs) found in equipment like old batteries.

Germany provides financial support to numerous UNEP-linked environmental secretariats including the Conservation of Migratory Species, the Convention of the International Trade in Endangered Species, the African-Eurasian Waterbirds, the Basel Convention on hazardous wastes, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Vienna Convention for protecting and repairing the ozone layer.

Renewable Energy

Germany has been an important supporter of UNEP’s work in the field of renewable energy. It supports, through its bank KFW, the new African Rift Geothermal Energy Development project. This aims to increase the amount of electricity generated from hot rocks across East Africa and as far north as Djibouti.

In April last year, countries set a target of delivering 1,000MW of geothermal electricity in East Africa by 2020.

KenGen, the Kenyan electricity company, has in the past few days begun seismic testing at the Menengai Crater near Nakuru, as part of this project.

UNEP is providing technical assistance and some of the funding through the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the multi-billion dollar fund that assists developing countries with environment and sustainable development projects.

UNEP and GEF recently launched a solar and wind assessment in developing countries. This is trying to identify and map sites where wind turbines and solar power systems can be cost effectively deployed.

GTZ, Germany’s aid arm, is providing financial support for wind and solar measurements. DLR, the German space agency, is also contributing to the exercise.

The UNEP-facilitated Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development was launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in August 2002.

The network, made up initially of ten centres in ten developed and developing countries, will help promote the research, transfer and take-up of green and cleaner energy technologies to the developing world. Germany is the biggest donor to the initiative providing Euro 1.5 million for the first three years.

UNEP is also helping in the preparation and organization of events at the International Conference for Renewable Energy being held in Bonn, Germany, 1-4 June, 2004.

Regional preparatory meetings have or are being held in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia with assistance from UNEP’s regional offices.

Post Conflict Assessment

UNEP has a post conflict assessment unit based in Geneva which has carried out environmental assessments in the Balkans, Afghanistan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Desk studies have also been carried out for Iraq.

A new focus is on Africa. The Unit has just completed a report on Liberia and other African countries have also requested assistance. Germany is paying over $148,000 to the unit’s work for 2003.

For More Information Please Contact Eric Falt, Spokesperson/Director of UNEP’s Division of Communications and Public Information, on Tel: 254 20 623292, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 682656, E-mail: or Nick Nuttall, UNEP Head of Media, on Tel: 254 20 623084, Mobile: 254 (0) 733 632755, E-mail: