The World Bank and the Politics of the Global Environment Facility
Zoe Young
240 pages (Pluto Press, 2003)

Zoe Young, a self-described former green activist, slams the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for a lack of transparency and accountability, pursuing a pro-development agenda, and taking a damaging “top-down” approach to environmental problems. The secretariat of the GEF, an organization that finances the preservation of the global environment, compiles stacks of reports laden with technicalities, yet fails to provide requested performance reports to its board. This, Young argues, is an example of the chronic bureaucratic malaise at the World Bankfunded operation. Many of her sources refused to be named, and their reticence enhances the sense that shady doings may indeed be occurring behind closed doors. Young’s alarmist tone somewhat undermines the credibility of her scathing assessment. Nevertheless, she delivers a troubling picture of GEF bureaucracy, fundraising methods, and grantmaking procedures.