Three projects have been approved for Green Fund funding in 2020 with more approvals expected before the end of the year. This was revealed by the Community Liaison Officer at the Green Fund Executing Unit Ms Leslie Ann Dillon during a webinar entitled ‘Unlocking the Green Fund’ on Friday August 21st facilitated by the Environmental Policy and Planning Division (EPPD) of the Ministry of Planning and Development.
The latest recipients of Green Fund financing include: the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) for the development of an eco-friendly and cost-effective approach to using indigenous bacteria capable of biodegrading organophosphate based pesticides; the Cashew Gardens Community Council (CGCC) for a Community Recycling Programme; and the Environmental Research Institute of Charlotteville (ERIC) for an underwater turtle monitoring project which represents the first Green Fund approval for a Tobago-based project.
What is the Green Fund?
First established under the Finance Act 2000, the Green Fund is the National Environmental Fund of Trinidad and Tobago. All private sector entities that generate revenue in Trinidad and Tobago are required to pay a levy to the Green Fund of 0.03% on gross income. Essentially it is a grant facility available to organisations throughout Trinidad and Tobago who are engaged in activities related to the focal areas of remediation, reforestation, conservation of the environment and environmental education and public awareness of environmental issues. Initiatives seeking Green Fund funding should be aligned with local environmental policy and international conventions to which Trinidad and Tobago is a signatory.
According to the Auditor General’s report of 2019, at the end of the 2019 financial year, the Green Fund stood at approximately 6.9 Billion TT dollars. To date, only an estimated 392 million TTD has been disbursed towards the financing of 27 environmental initiatives, just under 6% of the total Fund.
A 2019 assessment of the Green Fund highlighted that as of 2019, 77% of Green Fund financing had gone to State Agencies. Civil Society Organisations who have been involved in the submission of proposals have gone on to state that the process is onerous and difficult to complete, with at least 100 civil society organisations, in the 2019 review, saying that their applications have often become ‘stuck’ without any understanding of what stage in the process their applications currently sat.
The Green Fund Executing Unit has the responsibility of managing the implementation and operations of the Green Fund. This includes receiving and ensuring proposals submitted for funding from eligible organisations meet the criteria of the Green Fund and forwarding these proposals to the Green Fund Advisory Committee for review and recommendation for approval. The Unit is also charged with monitoring the implementation of projects approved for funding, financial management and reporting to the Ministry of Planning and Development, the Ministry of Finance and the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago on all Green Fund initiatives.
Applications are referred by the Green Fund Executing Unit to the Green Fund Advisory Committee, whose core function is to advise the Minister with responsibility for the environment on the certification of projects for Green Fund funding. The Minister with responsibility has the final say on all Green Fund funded initiatives.
Who is eligible for Green Fund Funding?
The Green Fund can be accessed by any organisation incorporated as a Non-Profit Company under the Companies Act; any non-profit unincorporated organisation registered as a Non- Governmental Organisation with the Ministry responsible for Community Development or the Tobago House of Assembly; any group that is registered as a Community Group with the Ministry responsible for Community Development or the Tobago House of Assembly; and any organisation incorporated by statute other than the Companies Act, meaning organisations which are registered under their own Act or an Act of Parliament. These organisations must have an environmental mandate and must be engaged in activities related to the four focal areas stated above.
Dillon outlined a number of success factors in the Green Fund Application Process that include: a strong alignment to the National Environmental Policy and other related national and international policies and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs); the described importance and impact of the initiative at a community, national and global level; a well-thought out methodology and work plan, and realistic budgeting.
Organisations that have been denied by the Green Fund are not barred from amending their applications, taking into consideration the Minister’s reasons for denying the application and resubmitting.
Learn More about the Green Fund
The webinar entitled “Unlocking the Green Fund” can be viewed on the Facebook pages for the Green Fund and EPPD.