2:14 PM EDT
Ed Royce, R-CA 40th

Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Chairman, I think the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Kolbe) has done well to craft a bill in a very difficult budgetary environment. It prioritizes funding for important programs. I believe his and the ranking member's efforts are appreciated.

[Time: 14:15]

I do, however, rise to express concerns about the Global Environment Facility, or GEF, whose funding is eliminated in this bill. As co-chair of the House International Conservation Caucus, I am keenly interested in conservation programs because I believe that how nations of the world manage their natural resources is a vital U.S. interest, impacting our efforts to help create a more secure and prosperous world.

The GEF is the largest international funding source for programs and support good natural resource management around the world. In the roughly 15 years since its creation, the GEF has implemented 1,500 projects in 140 countries, with biodiversity and habitat conservation being the largest single area of focus. Importantly, U.S. funding has leveraged at least $14 for every $1 we have contributed. I believe this model where our resources are matched many times over by other public and private donors

is a good approach. However, I strongly agree with the chairman's push for reform at the GEF. The United States should always be pushing for transparency and accountability at multilateral institutions, and the GEF is no exception. As the chairman knows, at the request of the U.S. Treasury

and other donor nations, the GEF has been working to implement a variety of management improvements. Currently, the GEF is in the final stages of adopting a major element in this reform process, a system of prioritizing its funding decisions called the Resource Allocation Framework.

The Council of the GEF is meeting in late August in a special session to finalize the structure of this framework. The GEF Council recognizes the need for reform and is meeting in less than 2 months to complete work on the reform element most important to the U.S. Government.

And I would respectfully inquire whether the gentleman agrees that the GEF's programs and projects are beneficial to conservation worldwide and to the United States, and assuming that a framework is finalized at the upcoming special meeting of the GEF, would that constitute sufficient progress on reform to have the gentleman revisit GEF funding in the conference?