TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Jul13/02)
3 July 2013
Third World Network  

GCF Board debates objectives, results and indicators
Published in SUNS #7618 dated 3 July 2013 

Beijing, 2 Jul (Meena Raman) - An intense exchange of views ensued among Board members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's Green Climate Fund (GCF) on the issue of its ‘objectives, results and performance indicators' at its fourth meeting in Songdo, South Korea, which met from 25 to 28 June 2013.

Intense exchanges between Board members from developing and developed countries began with strong criticisms of a paper by the co-chairs/Interim Secretariat on the Fund's ‘objectives, results and performance indicators'.

Several Board members, especially from China, Egypt, India, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), expressed concerns over the detailed prescription of result areas in mitigation and adaptation, as well as the performance indicators set out in the paper, saying that they were not in line with a country-driven approach.

They also stressed that some result areas for the Fund (such as mitigation in agriculture) pre-judged on-going negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Several developed country Board members, on the other hand, wanted an initial list of priority result areas and performance indicators to be agreed to during the meeting.

The final decision that was adopted postponed the determination of the initial result areas (which will be considered at its September meeting) of the Fund and the core performance indicators to be employed to measure performance against the objectives of the Fund.

Several developing countries, including China, India and Egypt, also expressed concerns that the ‘objectives' of the Fund did not address the mobilisation of resources although this was in the governing instrument of the Fund.

The final decision, which was agreed to, is as follows: "The Board: (a) noted convergence that the Fund will have a strategic focus on climate mitigation and adaptation, and also seeks to maximise sustainable development; (b) reaffirmed that country ownership will be a core principle of the business model framework of the Fund and that countries will identify their priority result areas in line with their national strategies and plans; (c) decided to consider further the initial result areas of the Fund, with an aim to achieve substantial progress at its September 2013 meeting: (d) further decided to consider the core performance indicators to be employed by the Fund to measure performance against the objectives of the Fund and the mitigation and adaptation results to be considered by the Board at its September 2013 meeting; (e) further decided to consider the expected impacts and role of the Fund in the initial result areas at its second meeting in 2014."

The initial draft decision that the Board was supposed to adopt as set out in the paper by the co-chairs/Interim Secretariat, provided detailed options for priority mitigation result areas in order to enable low-emission development pathways; options as cross-sectoral results of the Fund; and options as the priority adaptation result areas of the Fund in order to enable climate-resilient development pathways.

The draft decision also noted convergence on the performance indicators for project and programme outputs for mitigation and adaptation and on the performance indicators for transformative impact of the Fund activities.

The draft decision also requested the Interim Secretariat to prepare a document outlining the core performance indicators to be employed by the Fund to measure performance against the objectives and results as agreed by the Board, and to be considered by the Board at its meeting in September.

It also requested the Interim Secretariat to ensure that the document on the results management framework, which will be considered by the Board at its September meeting, is aligned with the proposed core performance indicators.

Following a strong push back by developing country members, the co-chairs produced a draft decision for the consideration of the Board members which referred to an annex entitled ‘initial result areas' that listed 15 areas related to mitigation and adaptation.

The draft decision also referred to performance indicators linked to these initial result areas.

This again led to another round of concerns being raised by developing country Board members which led to the deletion of the annex listing the initial result areas.

Several developed country Board members, in response to the final decision adopted, expressed disappointment and regret that the initial result areas and performance indicators for the Fund could not be agreed to.

Below are some highlights of the exchanges that took place in relation to the paper by the co-chairs/Interim Secretariat (paper).

Dipak Dasgupta (India) said there was no mention in the paper of the scale and mobilisation of resources under the objectives of the Fund and that ‘country-ownership' was mentioned minimally.

Omar El-Arini (Egypt) said the paper neglected one of the major objectives of the GCF, which is to "play a key role to channel new, additional, adequate and predictable financial resources."

There is no mention of the need for high scale of resources. The short-term vision and the results sections also do not deal with scale or mobilisation of financial resources. This is a major shortcoming. It gives many details on low-emission development pathways and priority mitigation result areas but there is no mention how these proposed results were formulated, and whether from sources or documents that governments have agreed on. They do not seem to be from UNFCCC agreed documents nor the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed summary for policymakers.

The authors of this paper do not have the mandate to set the mitigation priorities for developing countries and nor can the Board adopt these proposed priorities without reference to what has been agreed to under the Convention, said El-Arini.

On performance indicators, El-Arini said the paper proposes a set of several performance indicators for mitigation and adaptation but the indicators and other items for measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) and for biennial update reports of developing countries are being negotiated in the Convention's subsidiary bodies. The adoption of indicators now in the GCF independently without even reference to the processes taking place in the Convention would cause serious problems, as they would in a way supplant or pre-empt those negotiations.

He expressed caution against adopting the draft decision as presented.

Zou Jiayi (China) commented that the paper was very complicated and that she was not in a position to make a decision based on the paper. She said there is need to simplify the approach in relation to performance indicators. The more detailed they are, the less is the ability to get consensus.

Zou said that instead of this, the Board could formulate some simple guidelines for performance indicators and leave the details to the project or programme funding level. Most confusing are the elements of the "transformation" concept, she added, calling for definition of low-carbon development pathways.

She said there were some misleading judgements regarding transformation, as transformational change and country ownership go together and there could not be a trade-off. She added that the performance indicators mentioned overlap with the UNFCCC negotiations and the Board should not pre-judge them.

Jorge Ferrer (Cuba) said the performance indicators were focusing on recipient countries and asked about performance indicators on the delivery of resources and technology transfer. He said this was the approach applied in the area of development assistance, which was repeated here.

Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu (DRC) said a lot of the options on mitigation in the paper did not have any relevance for his country from sub-Saharan Africa. He gave an example of the reference to reduction of emissions from agriculture which is mentioned. This prejudged the outcome of negotiations on this issue. In Africa, when there is a problem of having food security and feeding the hungry, the priority is not about reducing CO2 emissions. In the area of adaptation, it is difficult to come up with one yardstick as regards performance indicators.

Farrukh Khan (Pakistan), referring to calls for making a transformative impact, said the paper limits transformation to the policy level when it should involve three dimensions, which, when pulled together becomes the paradigm shift. The "triple transformation" involves transformation in policies, resource mobilisation and in access modalities with enhanced direct access.

On the issue of indicators in distinct sectors, he said this is linked to country-ownership and could not be top-down. Countries should decide on the level of transformation that they want to achieve. The GCF cannot impose an aggregate emissions reductions target, but needs to provide incentives for transformation at the national level, with a higher level of support to be provided.

Feturi Elisaia (Samoa) said that resources mobilisation is important and needs to be at a scale that can make an impact.

Adriana Soto (Colombia) said the GCF should respond to the priorities identified by recipient countries to strategically focus interventions on low-carbon development and climate resilience.

Manfred Konukiewitz (Germany) said the Fund should have a clear focus; it is not a broad development fund, but needs to keep in view the co-benefits of actions and have synergy with broader sustainable development objectives. All areas of results are important and prioritisation can be done at a later point. The performance indicators mentioned in the paper entailed a lot of technical specifications and there is need for more technical advice. At this point, it is probably too early to make those choices.

Arnaud Buisse (France) raised the question of how the Fund's priorities are articulated with the priorities of developing countries. This is not to prevent the Fund to have some priorities but is about how to bring the two together. In the short-run, progress is measured on a case-by-case basis.

Highlighted below are reactions from several Board members on the draft decision proposed by the co-chairs which referred to an annex of ‘initial result areas' (annex) that listed 15 areas related to mitigation and adaptation. The draft decision made no reference to the paper by the co-chairs/Interim Secretariat.

Dipak Dasgupta (India), referring to the annex, said that the areas listed pre-judged on-going negotiations in the UNFCCC. He said developing countries had red-lines, for instance, in agriculture which is a sensitive area.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu (DRC) who reiterated that the mitigation in the agriculture sector was a sensitive area for the African Group in the light of food security concerns. Other areas mentioned had no relevance for countries from sub-Saharan Africa. Since there could be no convergence on the annex, he asked for it to be deleted, including the relevant decision where this was reflected.

Manfred Konukiewitz (Germany) said that the annex was a good start, as the Fund needs to have a more prescriptive area of ‘collective intentions'.

Arnaud Buisse (France) said that there is need for priority or initial result areas which can evolve or be revised to enshrine the idea of the Fund with some priorities.

Anton Hilber (Switzerland) was not happy with the ex-ante prioritisation of the result areas, particularly on the basis of what is presented in the paper. He said there was not enough information to come up with the list of areas, which need to match the interests of the Fund and the recipients. He said the problem was one of sequencing.

Nick Dyer (UK) said that his country was not in a position to discuss contributions (to the Fund) if there is no discussion on the priority areas to be funded and deleting the annex was a step backwards. He suggested reference to an ‘initial' or ‘indicative' list to start with.

Zou Jiayi (China), in response, said that if there is no convergence on the issue, there is no convergence. This did not mean that members are not willing to discuss result areas or indicators, but at the moment, there was no agreement on the scope of the result areas.

Responding to the UK Board member, she said that it was extremely unproductive to make agreement on the result areas in the annex a pre-condition for meeting financial commitments.

Dipak Dasgupta (India) agreed with China and said that he did not know if the result areas were right. He added that there is also need for a proper assessment of the indicators and this is not merely an academic exercise. He said he needed to further consult with other ministries in India before any decision is reached in this regard.

Rod Hilton (Australia) and Alexander Severens (the US) said that the list of result areas is needed. Severens added that the list may not be perfect and could be refined but it should not be lost as an ‘indicative' or ‘initial' list.

The US and Australian Board members expressed regret and disappointment that no agreement was possible on an indicative list of result areas. This was also echoed by Kjetil Lund (Norway).