Already a significant financial supporter of the organization, the Netherlands raised its contribution to UNEP’s Environment Fund by around $2.1 million to a total of about $4.5 million for this year, the agency said in a statement issued from its Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. “The decision by the Dutch to give us this much needed and much welcomed support has come at an important time as we head for next year’s crucial World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa,” said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer. “We are facing the New Year with renewed optimism concerning the financial stability of the organization.” The Environment Fund, which in recent years has been declining, is UNEP’s core funding. It is critical for the organization’s activities in areas such as chemicals, early warning of disasters, wildlife and environmental law as laid out in the organization’s work programme and authorized by its Governing Council of 58 nations, the agency’s main decision-making body. The increase in contributions comes in the wake of an assessment of UNEP work carried out by the Government of the Netherlands. “We were pleased with what we found,” said Gertjan Storm, the Dutch Ambassador to Kenya and Permanent Representative to the agency. “It is our conclusion that UNEP has become a more efficient and effective organization and that our money is being generally well spent.” UNEP’s core work programme, the lion’s share of which is funded from the Environment Fund, is estimated at about $50 million a year. Other basic costs include around $14.5 million for management and administrative support costs. Last year, contributions from Governments to the Environment Fund – which are made on a voluntary basis – amounted to some $41 million.