UN Environment Programme (UNEP)—is increasingly important as a
source of financing sustainable transportation projects around the world.
After some initial missteps, the GEF is playing an increasingly constructive
role in bringing about the sort of dramatic shift in transport paradigm that
will be required to avert significant global warming.
Despite its rapidly increasing importance, transportation was one of
the last major sectors that contribute significantly to global warming to be
considered for GEF funding. The GEF was for many years reluctant to
become involved in the transport sector, fearing that the cost of interven-
tions would inhibit a productive role for the GEF, and fearing the GHG emis-
sions impacts of transport sector projects would be difficult to quantify.
In its early years, the GEF funded two transportation-focused projects.
One in Tehran, Iran, funded a number of studies of emission monitoring
systems, inventories of pollution sources, and proposed new policy initia-
tives. A second project, approved in 1996, was a $7 million project in Pakistan,
focused on establishing vehicle inspection and maintenance centers.
Creation of Operational Program #11
The GEF felt that these projects lacked focus, and the benefits were diffi-
cult to quantify. In the late 1990s, it decided to make transportation a spe-
cific operational program and began to draft Operational Program #11 (OP
#11). The GEF Standing Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), which advises
the GEF on technical matters, issued a set of draft recommendations, but
the GEF ignored the STAP recommendations and hired a fuel cell researcher
to write OP #11 as an outside consultant. Not surprisingly, the initial draft
of OP #11 focused exclusively on hydrogen fuel cell vehicle technology. The
GEF embraced the hydrogen strategy, and, for many years, hydrogen and
fuel cell programs dominated the GEF portfolio of transportation project
This first draft OP #11 provoked significant criticism among some gov-
ernment officials, nongovernment organizations (NGOs), and transport
experts. Some government departments, including the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) and Germany’s Umwelt Bundesamt, complained,
as did the UN Habitat. The initial draft was also viewed with skepticism
by some within the World Bank. Intervention by these groups managed to
get the mandate broadened to include the following funding priorities (GEF,
Modal shifts toward more efficient and less polluting forms of public and
freight transport through measures such as traffic management and avoid-
ance and increased use of cleaner fuels
Nonmotorized transport (NMT)
Fuel cell or battery operated two- or three-wheeled vehicles designed to
carry more than one person
166 Driving Climate Change

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