The World Bank Approves Single-Largest Grant Ever for the Environment
in Support of Madagascar's Third Environment Program
Posted 26th of May 2004
The World Bank Board yesterday approved an International Development
Association (IDA) Development Grant of US$40.0 million equivalent and
a Global Environment Facility (GEF) Trust Fund Grant of US$9.0 million
to support the implementation of the third phase of Madagascar's National
Environment Action Plan.
The grant constitutes the single-largest concessional financing package
for the environment provided by the Bank in its 60-year history.
The Third Environment Program Support Project, as it is known, is primarily
focused on strengthening the results of its previous two phases. It
will expand Madagascar's protected areas network to include key missing
habitats, establish conservation sites in natural forests and transfer
forest management responsibilities to communities. These will be complemented
by measures aimed at reducing existing pressures on natural forests,
including reforestation and the scaling-up of the usage of efficient
"The project aims at ensuring that the long-term management of Madagascar's
unique natural habitats and biodiversity resources are set on a more
sustainable footing", said Martien van Nieuwkoop, the World Bank's Task
Team Leader for the project.
Habitat protection and biodiversity conservation are expected to contribute
directly to poverty reduction and economic growth in Madagascar.
"Biodiversity conservation efforts are essential in unleashing the significantly
high revenue-generating potential of the eco-tourism sector in Madagascar",
van Nieuwkoop pointed out, adding that the substantial hydrological
benefits generated under the project will highly benefit poor farmers
As a member of a broad coalition of bilateral and multilateral donors
and international NGOs, including Conservation International, the World
Wildlife Fund for Nature, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, the
Bank has supported Madagascar's National Environmental Action Plan since
its inception in the early 1990s. So far, the Plan is credited with
achieving a number of tangible results, including: (i) reduced deforestation
and erosion rates; (ii) greater ownership by communities through forest
management transfers of sustainable natural resource management; (iii)
secured diversity of key habitats and species; and (iv) increased revenue
generating capacity of conservation efforts as testified by the growing
number of visitors to Madagascar's national parks.
Funding for the project is provided jointly by IDA, the World Bank's
financing arm for the poorest countries, and by the Global Environmental
Facility Trust Fund (GEF), which is a mechanism for providing new and
additional grant and concessional funding to meet the incremental costs
linked to initiatives taken to achieve agreed global environmental targets
in four focal areas. The areas are: climate change; biological diversity;
international waters; and ozone layer depletion. GEF also supports the
work of the global agreements to combat desertification and eliminate
persistent organic pollutants. The World Bank Group is one of GEF's
implementing agencies and supports countries in preparing GEF co-financed
projects as well as in backstopping their implementation.