UN Development "up to $500,000 to enterpreneurs promoting conservation

tThe United Nations Development Programme (<“http://www.undp.org/“>UNDP)
today launches a loan and grant programme to help small- and
medium-sized businesses conserve biodiversity at the same time as they
reduce poverty.

Over the next 18 months, the initiative, called Equator Ventures, will
disburse ?¨loan investments?Æ of $30,000 to $500,000 in a
pilot programme, starting today, and will provide expertise in building
enterprises, it said.
Ventures will disburse funds provided by UNDP, the Global Environment
Facility (GEF) of development banks and UN agricultural and
industrializing agencies, the World Bank, the Government of Japan, the
Dutch DOEN Foundation, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and the
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, UNDP said.

?¨Equator Ventures is dedicated to showing that small
entrepreneurs are a key link in the chain towards achieving sustainable
development and the Millennium Development Goals (<“http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/“>MDGs).
Grassroots entrepreneurship, through its ability to bring great
environmental benefits while also raising incomes, has the potential to
transform the way we think about development,?Æ said Jeffrey
Sachs, head of the poverty-reducing UN Millennium Project.

The MDGs, agreed on at a UN summit in September 2000, are designed to reduce socio-economic ills significantly by 2015.

The new loan and grant programme, to be administered by the UNDP-led
Equator Initiative, aims to carry out the recommendations of a recent
report sponsored by the agency called ?¨Unleashing
Entrepreneurship: Making Business Work for the Poor.?Æ

?¨The Equator Ventures partnership fills a critical niche by
addressing a major gap in sustainable development finance that goes
beyond microfinance, on the one hand, and project finance, on the
other,?Æ said Olav Kjorven, Director of UNDP Energy and
Environment Group.

Author: EARSC

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