TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Oct13/05)
16 October 2013
Third World Network  

Green Climate Fund: Board agrees on initial result areas and indicators

Geneva, 16 Oct (Meena Raman) – The Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has reached agreement over the ‘initial result areas’ of the Fund, its ‘performance indicators’ and its ‘results management framework.’

This was one of the key decisions reached at the 5th meeting of the Board in Paris, which took place on 7 – 10 October, and took more than six hours to reach a compromise.

Various concerns were raised by developing country Board members, especially those from Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, China, Brazil, Egypt and Saudi Arabia over some result areas and indicators initially identified by the GCF Interim Secretariat in two documents prepared for the Board’s consideration.

The concerns included issues such as ‘agriculture’ and ‘REDD-plus implementation’ (matters relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries) which are the subject of on-going negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); uncertainty over the scale of financial resources available to undertake and deliver the results indicated; the capacity of developing countries to verify the results and the apparent tension between the Fund’s priorities and the priorities of developing countries.

On the issue of agriculture, following intense discussions, in the final decision on the ‘initial result areas’, the phrase ‘sustainable land use management to support mitigation and adaptation’ was agreed to in place of ‘agriculture and related land use management’.

As regards ‘REDD-plus implementation’, the Secretariat document had included this issue in the ‘initial result areas’ of the Fund, with an indicator under ‘mitigation’ that made reference to ‘decrease in rate of deforestation tCO2e [tonnes of CO2 equivalent] reductions from deforestation.’   

Norway wanted ‘REDD-plus implementation’ to be included in the result areas together with initial performance indicators. Brazil, while accepting that ‘REDD-plus implementation’ should be on the list, it did not want the indicators specified since negotiations in the UNFCCC were on-going. Following informal discussions between the Board members from the two countries, it was agreed that ‘REDD-plus implementation’ be included in the list of ‘initial result areas’ but the performance indicators are not to be specified now. This was agreed to by the whole Board.

The ‘initial result areas’ of the Fund which was agreed to by the Board are as follows:
a. Design and planning of cities to support mitigation and adaptation;
b. Energy efficiency of buildings and appliances;
c. Energy efficiency of industrial processes;
d. Low-emission transport;
e. Low-emission energy access;
f. Small, medium and large-scale low-emission power generation;
g. Sustainable land use management to support mitigation and adaptation;
h. Sustainable forest management to support mitigation and adaptation including afforestation and reduction of forest degradation;
i. REDD+ implementation;
j. Adaptation activities to reduce climate-related vulnerabilities;
k. Selected “flagship” activities cutting across adaptation result areas;
l. Readiness and capacity building for adaptation and mitigation activities;
m. Scaling up of effective community-based adaptation (CBA) actions;
n. Supporting the coordination of public goods such as “knowledge hubs”.

Further details of the decision and the indicators are provided below. Highlights of the discussions around the decision are as follows.

David Kaluba (Zambia) emphasised the importance of sustainable development and country ownership in the determination of the result areas and indicators. Following a low carbon and climate resilient pathway will mean looking at a country’s current funding to enable it to move away from ‘business-as-usual’. It should be the objective of the GCF to promote that.

Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu (Democratic Republic of Congo) agreed that there is need to identify priority areas as to what the Fund should invest in. He expressed concerns in relation to some issues and indicators which were under discussion in the negotiations under the UNFCCC  such as nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs), measuring, reporting and verification (MRV), REDD-plus and agriculture. He also expressed caution over the list of ‘initial result areas’ becoming prescriptive. Agriculture is a sensitive issue for Africa, as it touches on food security, sustainable development and poverty eradication, said Mpanu-Mpanu. Talking about ‘low emissions’ in this context did not make sense, he added.

Liang Ziqian (China) suggested that all performance indicators should be project based. He added that any country-wide indicator would be problem, in an apparent reference to the indicator on ‘carbon intensity of economy’ in the Secretariat document which was later revised to ‘carbon intensity of nationally determined sectors’ in the decision. He also expressed concerns over the reference to ‘agriculture’ in the result areas in relation to mitigation and wanted it removed. 

Omar El-Arini (Egypt) said that countries define their priorities in line with their national development plans. Looking at the results stated in the Secretariat document, he said there is need for lots of money to achieve these results. There is need to be clear about who defines the results and if there is money to achieve them. In reference to the initial performance indicators, he expressed serious concerns and asked if developing countries would have the capacity to verify the results.

Sergio Serra (Brazil) said that members were operating in a vacuum as there is need to know the magnitude of funding resources available. The results will depend on the amount of money made available.  Serra also referred to the Secretariat document on the description of activities related to the ‘initial result areas’. He was opposed to reference to ‘carbon offsets’ as an activity area saying that Brazil is against carbon offsets in relation to deforestation as it relates to questions about their environmental integrity. Serra also had concerns over REDD-plus implementation which was still being discussed in the UNFCCC negotiations, in particular in relation to the performance indicators in this regard.

Ayman Shasly (Saudi Arabia) in response to a comment from Manfred Konukiewitz (Germany) on the harmful effects of fossil fuel subsidies, said that it is the USD 400 billion agriculture subsidies a year that developed countries use, including providing to big food and agriculture corporations that are harmful to the poor in developing countries and are market distorting. Shasly also stressed that in looking at result areas and the criteria, it was important to focus on key areas of sustainable development like providing energy to the poor. He said the ‘initial result areas’ are important for the Fund at the global level to show impact but also stressed the importance of country ownership. He said further that on some important issues, it was important not to prejudice the negotiations. 

Derek Gibbs (Barbados) supported the need for a broad set of objectives and parameters. He said climate change is not waiting for the negotiations (in the UNFCCC), stressing that adaptation is important.

Jose Maria Clemente Sarte Salceda (Philippines) questioned the use of the term ‘results management framework’ when the Governing Instrument of the GCF refers to ‘results measurement framework’.

Pedro Garcia (Dominican Republic) wanted the ‘initial result areas’ to be limited to ‘small scale low-emissions power generation’ and wanted ‘large-scale’ to be deleted. (As a compromise, the Board agreed to ‘small, medium, and large-scale low-emission power generation.)

Manfred Konukiewitz (Germany) said that indicators that refer to policy areas are sensitive for countries. However, there is need to raise awareness about low emission approaches. He cited the example of harmful fossil fuel subsidies that should be eliminated. He said that the GCF cannot ignore the policy environment which can have immediate effect on results and impact. He added that if the policy environment is poor, the impact will be lower. He wanted the GCF to be committed to impacts and a results oriented approach, while recognising national sovereignty to decide on policies. This, he said, is a challenge for the Board. 

Beata Jaczewska (Poland) said the GCF sets priorities from the perspective of the institution while countries develop their own strategies. These two processes have to meet and there needs to be an ex-ante and ex-post assessment and more clarification is needed in this regard.

Nick Dyer (United Kingdom) said that whatever is decided is an evolving process. The real test of the GCF is its ability to articulate what it is about. There needs to be consistency with how proposals are assessed and how progress is measured, he added.

Rod Hilton, speaking for Australia and New Zealand said the result areas are critical in defining the sense of purpose of the Fund. He also stressed the importance of country ownership and that the list of result areas was not exhaustive, but needs to be flexible. He added that more work is needed to be done in relation to adaptation.

Jan Cedergren (Sweden) stressed the importance of spelling out country ownership in the decision and to refine the initial result areas and indicators.

Arnaud Buisse (France) said that the Fund should also be able to contribute to the transformation of the economy.

Matthew Kotchen (United States) said that the initial result areas are indicative of where the Fund wants to focus on, adding it is not prescriptive. He said that further work could be done in relation to the indicators for adaptation. 

Henrik Harboe (Norway) wanted REDD-plus implementation to be included in the result areas together with initial performance indicators in this regard.

Hela Cheikhrouhou (Executive Director of the GCF) in response said the negotiations cover a lot of sectors and the Fund should work with countries even if the negotiations are happening. She added that the Fund should be able to work on areas delinked from the political level negotiations. She said that any institution trying to make a difference needs to show results. The Fund is to help the country strategies. The Executive Director also said that the result areas are a menu of options which are not exhaustive. The activities referred to are to are only xamples.                                                                                                                        
Speaking for the civil society groups, the representative from Third World Network said enabling transformative impacts requires large-scale resources. In defining results and performance indicators, it was important for the GCF to link with the various thematic bodies of the UNFCCC like the Adaptation Committee and the Technology Executive Committee.

Brandon Wu (ActionAid, US), also speaking for civil society organisations said that if the GCF is serious about a ‘gender-sensitive approach’, then having ‘gender-disaggregated’ data in relation to adaptation is important. He also expressed concerns over support for ‘carbon capture and storage projects’ in relation to support for negative emissions technologies as a performance indicator.

The Board decision

The main part of the decision adopted is as follows: 

(a) The Board noted convergence that the Fund will have a strategic focus on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and also seek to maximize sustainable development;

(b) It 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) It noted convergence that ownership and access to Fund resources could be enhanced by inclusion of indicators capturing country-driven policies that have the potential to promote a paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways in the context of sustainable development as set out in the Governing Instrument;

(d) It further noted convergence on key criteria that may be considered through the results management framework when measuring performance of Fund activities, where appropriate, in addition to the core performance indicators, including potential for paradigm shift towards low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways; development co-benefits; environmental co-benefits; potential for replication and scalability; cost-effectiveness; avoidance of lock-in to high-emission, low climate-resilient alternatives; and finance mobilized from non-public sources;

(e) It adopted the initial result areas of the Fund, … as initial areas of funding, in order to enable low-emission and climate-resilient development pathways; (referred to above);

(f) It adopted the initial performance indicators of the Fund, …; (see below for details);

(g) It decided that the Fund’s results management framework will:
(i) Enable effective monitoring and evaluation of the outputs, outcomes and impacts of the Funds’ investments and portfolio, and the Fund’s organizational effectiveness and operational efficiency;
(ii) Include measurable, transparent, effective and efficient indicators and systems to support the Fund’s operations, including, inter alia, how the Fund addresses economic, social and environmental development co-benefits and gender sensitivity;

(h) It decided that the Fund, as a continuously learning institution, will maintain the flexibility to refine its results management framework, result areas and performance indicators, based on Fund experience in implementation and monitoring, and as evaluation outcomes become available, and that the lessons learned will feed back into the design, funding criteria and implementation of Fund activities, based on results;

(i) It further decided that the Fund will assess project and programme proposals in each result area using the same impact indicators;

(j) It decided that national and sector-wide indicators will be used only at the discretion of the recipient country;

(k) It decided that in designing a logical framework for results management, the Fund will develop indicators to measure the impact of the Fund on strategic improvements at a country level;

(l) It decided that in designing its results management framework, the Fund will use the experience of other relevant entities, and, where appropriate, align the framework and indicators with existing best practice models;

(m) It requested the Secretariat to develop, for consideration by the Board at its second meeting in 2014, a detailed operational results management framework of the Fund, based on the initial result areas and core performance indicators and key criteria decided upon by the Board…

(n) It further requested the Secretariat to develop additional result areas and indicators for adaptation activities for consideration by the Board at its first meeting in 2014.

Performance indicators for the initial result areas

It was agreed that there be two types of performance indicators – (i) related to project and programme outputs and (ii) and that related to transformative impact of the Fund’s activities.

In relation to the ‘project and programme outputs’, as regards mitigation, the following indicators were agreed to:

(a) tCO2-eq reduced through improved governance and planning systems for sustainable cities; (b) Reduced emissions from buildings and appliances (tCO2-eq/m2); (c) Increased access to transportation with low-carbon transportation options (tCO2/passenger km); (d) Reduced emission intensity of industrial production (tCO2-eq/year); (e) Households with access to low-carbon modern technologies (Number of households served by off-grid or clearly identifiable on-grid renewable technologies); (f) Deployment of low-carbon power generation technologies (tCO2/kWh); (g) Reduced emissions from sustainable land use management (tCO2-eq/year); (h) Support to development of negative emission technologies
(Number of carbon capture and storage projects, tCO2 sequestered)

In relation to adaptation, the following indicators were agreed to: (a) Environmental effectiveness: including units of human health (disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)) and units of wealth (US$) saved and enhanced; (b) Cost-effectiveness: US$/DALY and US$ saved; (c) Co-benefits: US$/unit of co-benefit; (d) Institutional feasibility: level of acceptance

On the ‘transformative impact of Fund activities’ the performance indicators agreed to are as follows: In the case of ‘mitigation’, (a) Carbon intensity of nationally determined sectors (tCO2/gross domestic product) and (b) Facilitating the design of sustainable cities (tCO2/capita)

In relation to ‘adaptation’, the indicators are: (a) Environmental effectiveness: including units of human health (DALYs) and units of wealth (US$) saved and enhanced; (b) Cost-effectiveness: US$/DALY and $ saved; (c) Co-benefits: US$/unit of co-benefit; (d) Institutional feasibility: level of acceptance.