TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Sept12/02)
13 September 2012
Third World Network

Climate: Standing Committee on finance operational

Bangkok, 12 September (Marjorie Williams) – The first meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) kicked off in Bangkok on 6-8 September 2012.

At the inaugural meeting, which was opened by the UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, the members of the Standing Committee (SC) selected Ms. Diane Black Layne, of Antigua and Barbuda (also a representative of the Alliance of Small Island States, AOSIS) as Chair and Mr. Stefan Schwager of Switzerland, as Vice-Chair. The Chair and the Vice-Chair will hold their positions for one year.

The SC discussed the modalities of work, its scope and functions and elaborated tentative elements towards the development of a work programme for the remainder of 2012 and the period 2013-2015 as required by the Durban Decision (2CP17).

The SC was established through a decision in 2010 in Cancun, Mexico (at the 16th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC) to assist the Conference of the Parties (COP) in exercising its functions with respect to the financial mechanism of the Convention in terms of improving coherence and coordination in the delivery of climate change financing; rationalization of the financial mechanism; mobilization of financial resources and measurement, reporting and verification of support provided to developing country Parties.

At COP 17 in Durban, South Africa in 2011, Parties further defined the roles and functions of the SC, including the decision that the SC shall report and make recommendations to the COP, for its consideration on all aspects of its work. The Durban decision also elaborated the functions and modalities of the committee, including that the membership of the committee to comprise of “Ten members from Parties included in Annex I to the Convention (Annex I Parties) and ten members from Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention (non-Annex I Parties), including two members each from the Africa, Asia-Pacific, and the Latin America and Caribbean States, one member from a small island developing State and one member from a least developed country Party.”

(Annex I Parties comprise developed countries and economies n transition while non-Annex I Parties are developing countries.)

Each member of the SC has been nominated by Parties and approved by the COP and are elected to serve for a term of two years with the option of seeking additional terms.

The first meeting of the now fully operational SC tackled a number of matters including discussion of its scope and functions, the modalities of work and a preliminary discussion on work programme from 2012 and 2013-2015. The final work programme is to be presented to COP 18 in Doha, Qatar at the end of this year.

The 18 of 20 members who attended the three-day meeting agreed to work in three working groups focusing on the elaboration of the set of activities listed in accordance with the four functions identified for the SC in the Durban Decision viz. on improving coherence and coordination in the delivery of climate change financing; rationalization of the financial mechanism; mobilization of financial resources; and measurement, reporting and verification of the support provided to developing countries.

In its deliberations, working group 1 discussed activities such as the organization of a forum to exchange information for the communication and continued exchange of information among bodies and entities dealing with climate change finance in order to promote linkages and coherence. Under rationalization of the financial mechanism, the group discussed activities such as maintaining linkages with the subsidiary bodies and the thematic bodies of the Convention.

Working group 2 focused on matters such as providing ‘draft guidance for the operating entities of the financial mechanism of the Convention to the COP; and making recommendations on how to improve the coherence, effectiveness and efficiency of the operating entities of the financial mechanism. It also highlighted the importance of related issues such as the definition of climate finance, long term finance and the mobilization and scaling up of resources..

Working group 3 discussed the matter of providing expert input, including through independent review and assessments, into the preparation and conduct of the periodic reviews of the financial mechanism by the COP and the preparation of the biennial assessment overview of climate finance flows to include information on the geographical and thematic balance of such flows, drawing on available sources of information, including national communications and biennial reports of both developed and developing country Parties, information provided in the registry (for nationally appropriate mitigation actions), information provided by Parties on assessments of their needs, reports prepared by the operating entities of the financial mechanism, and information available from other entities providing climate change finance.

The brainstorming activities of the working groups did not result in final conclusions regarding the work programme. The matter will continue to be discussed through an iterative process of draft documents to be coordinated by the Chair and the Vice-chair working with the Secretariat via the email.

The next meeting of the SC is scheduled for 4-6 October 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa. The suggested activities for this second meeting of the Committee include a report to the COP and the work programme, including elements such as the design and preparation of the forum, the relationship between the Subsidiary bodies, the Adaptation Committee, the Technology Executive Committee and other committees; draft guidelines for the arrangements between the COP and the Standing Committee; guidance to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and initial guidance to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

(The GEF is an operating entity of the UNFCCC financial mechanism.)

Members of the SC are: Mr. Stefan Agne, European Commission; Mr. Gregory Andrews, Australia; Ms Diane C. Black Layne, Antigua & Bermuda (AOSIS); Mr Paul Bodnar, US; Mr Georg Borsting, Norway; Mr Jozef Buys, Belgium, Ms Outi Honkatukia, Finland; Mr. Syed Mujtaba Hussain, Pakistan(ASIA), Ms. Edith Kateme-Kasajja, Uganda (LDCs); Mr. Raymaon Landveld, Suriname (GRULAC); Mr Ali Daud Mohammed, Kenya (AFRICA); Mr Ulf Moslener, Germany; Ms Bernaditas Muller, Philippines (ASIA); Mr. Eric Naeraa-Nicolajsen (Denmark); Mr. Seyni Nafo,Mali (AFRICA)); Mr. Kyekyeku Yaw Oppong Boadi, Ghana (AFRICA); Mr. Paul Herbert Oquist Kelley, (GRULAC); Mr. Stefan Schwager, Switzerland); Mr Ayman Shasly,Saudia Arabia, (ASIA); and Mr. Teruhiko Shinada (Japan).