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WASHINGTON, November 9 (Itar-Tass) - The Global Environment Facility (GEF) provides 12.7 million dollars for the special programme to protect Russia's big cats -- Amur tigers and snow, Far Eastern and Persian leopards.
The authoritative international organization reported on Friday that the decision was approved by the meeting of its governing Council in Washington this week.
The funds will be used for the conservation of unique natural landscapes and ecosystems in the Russian Far East, Altai-Sayan and North Caucasus regions, critical to the endangered big cats.
The GEF programme for the first time will be financed through another international ecological organization -- the World Wildlife Fund. GEF grants were received previously only through such international institutions as World Bank and the U.N. Environment Programme.
The council meeting approved a total of $238 million for 41 ecological projects in 69 recipient countries. Thus, the funds provided for GEF programmes during the four-year period that ends on June 30, next year, have totaled 3.2 billion dollars, the organization said.
"I believe all these events indicate the continued demand for GEF as an important player in the global environment, now and in the future," GEF CEO and Chairperson Naoko Ishii noted.
The Global Environment Facility is a key international mechanism to finance global projects related to climate change, biological diversity, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants. Founded in 1991 as an experimental programme of World Bank, three years later it became independent and exists at present with donations from founder countries, providing grants and loans for solution of various ecological problems. GEF is a financial mechanism to impalement the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification. Russia has been participating in its activities since 1994.