THE Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP) which is implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on behalf of the GEF Partnership (The World Bank; UNEP; UNDP; FAO-UN etc), has been operating in Saint Lucia as an autonomous country programme since 2012.
Saint Lucia is among 126 countries with GEF SGP programmes. SGP operates in four of the seven continents, except for Australia, North America and Antarctica. The programme was established in 1992 to address global environmental problems at the community level, and to reduce and/or eliminate poverty and develop the capacity and capability of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
Since October 2012, the programme has funded 57 projects, at a total investment of US$3.74 million (XCD$10.10 million). Of that total, the GEF SGP’s contribution was US$1.64 million (XCD$4.43 million) and co-funding from private and public donors of US$2.10 million (XCD$5.67million). This investment has employed over 650 persons, generated income and revenue in excess of US$0.3454 million (XCD$0.9325 million), and trained over 2520 Saint Lucians in areas from basic book keeping for projects, apiculture, agro-processing, project management, project reporting, small scale manufacturing, diving, standards and quality control, nursery management, resource management, reforestation, rabbitry, sea moss cultivation, alternative energy development and many other areas. The programme is demonstrating how sustainable development can occur with minimum to zero adverse environmental impacts.
A few notable projects include the funding and technical assistance to Saint Lucia’s first community micro desalination project, which is powered by solar in the community of Laborie; the near completion of Saint Lucia’s first sea moss agro-processing plant, which can run on 100% solar, thus significantly reducing the average cost of production; the planting of over 14,000 trees in the communities of Millet and Ti Colon/Barre St. Joseph; and the granting of over 63 rain water harvesting systems to the communities of Bouton and La Pointe (Mon Repos).
GEF SGP has also introduced aquaponics to Saint Lucia and is significantly contributing to the revitalization of the apiculture industry. The programme has also funded the establishment of the Vaughan Allan Lewis Institute for Research and Innovation (VALIRI) which should become the bedrock for promoting and undertaking discipline and multi-discipline research and an incubator for capacity development of CSOs in Saint Lucia.
Persons interested in SGP projects can go to its international website at http://sgp.undp.org or the Saint Lucian website at http://gefsgpundpsaintlucia.org.
The GEF SGP UNDP is currently in its 6th Operational Programme Period and with reduced funding for that period, which started in 2016 and will end in 2018, SGP is projecting an investment of over US$2.8 million (XCD$7.56 million). During that period, SGP will invest 70% of these funds in three landscapes (Canaries; Soufriere and Mandelée to Fond River). This Landscape Approach will help to better measure results and create more significant impacts at the environmental and socio economic levels. The other 30% of funds can be invested anywhere in Saint Lucia where projects can be designed to fit within the following themes: The Apiculture Value Chain; (ii) Sustainable Agro-Processing; (iii) Agro-Forestry and the preservation of river banks; and (iv) Alernative Energy for Sustainable Production Systems.
CSOs, which vary from Trade Unions and Cooperatives to Foundations, Associations and even Faith Based Organisations are asked to design and submit projects that can address poor land management; deforestation; pollution; sustainable livelihoods; SMEs with a strong environmental link; alternative energy and production systems; environmental literacy; and chemicals among others.
Groups can qualify for up to US$5000 (XCD$13,500) to develop and design projects; up to US$50,000 (XCD$135,000) for implementing projects; and up to US$150,000 (XCD$405,000) for upscaling projects. Organisations are asked to visit the SGP office in the CARILEC Building in Sans Souci, call 452-4900 or email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for enquiries and assistance. The SGP team is also available to visit communities to help them to design projects.