The United States is offering to award up to $1.25 million in economic impact payments to companies and organizations that help the government make the most of the world’s vast untapped natural resources.
The announcement was made Thursday by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who described the award as the first in the program’s 20-year history.
Lew said the funds will be used to help support companies and enterprises that are working to secure the use of natural resources in the United States.
“This award is not only for the natural resource sector but also the agricultural, forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas sectors, which are also important sectors for our economy,” Lew said in a statement.
He added that the money would be used “to help secure the full and efficient use of the natural resources of the United State for future generations.”
The award will be awarded to companies, partnerships and organizations “that are working in areas where the federal government has identified the economic impact of its programs,” according to the announcement.
Companies that receive a $500,000 award or more will receive a further $500 to $2 million, while the $1-million amount is “in addition to other funding” awarded under the program.
While there is currently no formal definition for the terms “natural resource” and “resource” in the U.S. Code, the Treasury Department said it would consider a range of terms for determining “natural resources” when determining eligibility for the award.
“The program seeks to provide an incentive to private sector companies and to private industry organizations that are contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” the announcement said.
To be eligible, an entity must be a government agency, an international or private nonprofit organization, a corporation, partnership, cooperative, trust or other entity that has been designated by the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goals program as having a significant role in the management, use, or stewardship of natural resource resources.
The U.N. is a global body of leaders who seek to achieve sustainable development by creating conditions for sustainable development in the 21st century.
The organization’s goals include: combating climate change, improving livelihoods and access to clean drinking water, and reducing extreme poverty and inequality.
According to the U, the program “aims to develop and implement policies and actions to address the economic and social impacts of climate change through economic, social, environmental, and governance development strategies and policies, including through the implementation of sustainable development and development assistance programs.”
“The United States welcomes the United Kingdom’s announcement of an innovative, long-term strategic partnership for the development of natural gas and renewable energy,” said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
As part of the program, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have been awarded $1,500 million in the first year of the initiative.
The U.K. announced its plans for the fund in January, and Kuwait has yet to make a decision.
In the first phase of the project, the UAE and Kuwait will be given the first $250 million, followed by Saudi Arabia ($200 million) and the United Sudan ($200).
The United Arab Emirate and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) were given $100 million in 2016, and the GCC is expected to receive $1 billion in the next phase of its fund.
An additional $100-million grant will be made available in 2021 to projects in Africa and Asia, and $200 million to projects that are “particularly high risk,” the statement said.