TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Apr12/03)
21 April 2012
Third World Network

NGOs urge World Bank's climate funds to sunset, favour GCF
Published in SUNS #7355 dated 23 April 2012

Geneva, 20 Apr (Kanaga Raja) -- Some 115 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have urged governments to "sunset" the World Bank's Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) and instead, redirect their funding to the new Green Climate Fund (GCF), and make it fully functional as soon as possible.

(The GCF has been established within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - UNFCCC).

In a letter dated 19 April to governments that fund the CIFs, the NGOs urged these governments to ensure that the GCF is fully functional as soon as possible, and that continued funding of the CIFs do not undermine this effort.

Among the signatories to the letter are ActionAid, Bretton Woods Project, Christian Aid, Climate and Development Network (Africa), Coalicion Clima Espana (Spain), several country chapters of Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace International, International Trade Union Confederation, Jubilee USA Network, Oxfam International, Sierra Club, and Third World Network.

In their letter, which comes just as the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings commence, the NGOs said that with the Durban agreement concluded, the operationalisation of the GCF is underway.

"We are eager to see the GCF fully functional as the primary international climate fund operating in a timely, effective, equitable, transparent, and environmentally sound manner. We believe that the GCF has the potential to make a marked shift in assisting developing countries in the fight against climate change, with important provisions on gender equity, national ownership by recipient countries, participation by civil society, and environmental and social safeguards," they said.

However, they added, a significant hurdle remains: finding sufficient resources to capitalize the GCF in as fast a time frame as possible.

"While it is true that the GCF is not yet ready to receive substantial sums of money, the aim is for it to be fully operational in 2013. Thus, having funds pledged and delivered will be crucial to guaranteeing its early effectiveness," the groups stressed.

"We are therefore writing to urge you to pivot away from provision of funds for the World Bank's Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) and similar initiatives under the multilateral development banks and to commit to redirecting these monies toward the GCF," the letter to governments said.

From the start, the NGO letter noted, the CIFs were designed to "sunset": the CIFs "will take necessary steps to conclude its operations once a new financial architecture is effective."

The groups underscored that countries "should adhere to the sunset clause and actively support the GCF as the primary international financial institution for climate finance. New contributions to the CIFs could create a disincentive for the early operationalisation of the GCF, encourage expansion of the CIFs, and prolong their operation."

In order to apply lessons learned from the CIFs to the GCF, the groups also urged a fully independent review of the CIFs' overall performance, as well as their programs and projects.

"To ensure that the assessment is truly independent, this review should be conducted by a board of experts not associated with the World Bank or regional development banks, including their own independent evaluation bodies."

According to the NGO letter, the review should focus on key areas that the CIFs were intended to address, including:

-- How, in practice, country ownership has been implemented, whether projects were integrated into national strategies, and whether the CIFs have been effective in engaging diverse stakeholders, including civil society and affected communities and populations, including women;

-- Whether projects were "transformational", in particular the extent to which financing and engagement by the CIFs measurably improved the ability of domestic policy and regulatory frameworks to put in place, implement, and scale up long-lasting mitigation and adaptation strategies and activities;

-- The extent to which the CIFs have led to concrete sustainable development impacts for impoverished and marginalised communities, and contributed to building local economies, as well as an assessment of any negative environmental or social impacts;

-- The extent to which the CIFs have leveraged truly additional investment from the private sector and an assessment of risk borne by the public sector; and

-- The extent to which transparency and accountability were guaranteed in implementation of projects and results. +