TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Oct13/07)
18 October 2013
Third World Network

Green Climate Fund to support readiness and preparations   

Geneva, 18 Oct (Meena Raman) – The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board has agreed to provide developing countries resources for ‘readiness and preparatory support’. This was one of the decisions adopted at its 5th meeting in Paris, France that took place on 7-10 October. 

The Board also considered and made decisions on the establishment of the independent Secretariat.

Readiness and Preparatory Support

While Board members agreed that it is important to fund readiness and preparatory support, some of them, such as China and Colombia, stressed that this should not be a prerequisite or conditionality for developing countries to access the GCF’s resources. This was also supported by developed country Board members, including Germany and France.

The Board decided that “the Fund will provide readiness and preparatory support to: (i) enable the preparation of country programmes providing for low-emission, climate-resilient development strategies or plans;

(ii) support and strengthen in-country, Fund-related institutional capacities, including for country coordination and multi-stakeholder consultation mechanisms as it relates to the establishment and operation of national designated authorities (NDAs) and country focal points;

(iii) enable implementing entities and intermediaries to meet the Fund’s fiduciary principles and standards, and environmental and social safeguards, in order to directly access the Fund;

It also noted that (i) the scope of readiness and preparatory support could evolve over time and be tailored to address countries’ specific circumstances;  (ii) the importance of readiness and preparatory support for effective private sector engagement, particularly for small- and medium-sized enterprises and local financial intermediaries in developing countries, and activities to enable private sector involvement in small island developing States (SIDS) and least developed countries (LDCs); (iii) readiness and preparatory support could be provided to all eligible countries, and that its allocation would take into account the urgent and immediate needs of developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, including LDCs, SIDS and African States.

The Board also requested the Secretariat “to present to the Board, at its first meeting in 2014, a detailed programme of work relating to the provision of readiness and preparatory support, with relevant timelines and resource needs…”

It further requested the Secretariat to outline a system for determining the allocation of resources, separate from the support provided from the Secretariat’s administrative budget, for readiness and preparatory support, for its consideration at its first meeting in 2014.  It further decided that “the urgent need to provide readiness and preparatory support should be reflected in the administrative budget and staffing of the Secretariat and requested the Secretariat to mobilize resources for readiness and preparatory support.”

Liang Ziqian (China) said that ‘readiness’ should not be a prerequisite before countries receive funds as those that are ready should not be held back. He also asked who determines when a country is ready.

Adriana Soto (Colombia) agreed with China that readiness should not become a form of conditionality and did not want it to be a prerequisite as initially proposed in the draft decision (which stated that “readiness and preparatory support …may be a prerequisite for countries to meet the Fund’s objectives”). She said that countries are at different stages of readiness, some of them are already very far in planning.

Derek Gibbs (Barbados) reported on a workshop on readiness that took place in Bridgetown, Barbados from 11‐12 July 2013, organised by the Caribbean Development Bank  and the German GIZ, held in partnership with the GCF and attended by 40 participants. He stressed that readiness and preparatory support should be a strategic priority of the GCF.  He also agreed that readiness is not a precondition but it is clear that developing countries must start preparing themselves now.

David Kaluba (Zambia) emphasised the importance of country ownership and the need for proper human resources at the country level.

Tosi Mpanu-Mpanu (Democratic Republic of Congo) said that readiness is an on-going process and will not happen over-night. He thanked Germany for being an early mover in supporting readiness activities. He also called for the provision of “fast start” finance for readiness and preparatory support.

Omar El-Arini (Egypt) said that readiness support should enable the preparation of country programmes providing for low-emission and climate resilient development strategies or plans and should also support and strengthen in-country institutional capacities in relation to the NDAs. 

Manfred Konukiewitz (Germany) agreed that readiness should not be a prerequisite, but it should help all countries to adhere to the standards set by the GCF. He said that the German government is in support of readiness activities and the workshop in Barbados was part of that.

Arnaud Buisse (France) was also in agreement that readiness should not be prerequisite for countries. Henrik Harboe (Norway) said readiness is of critical importance as a step to get into concrete activities. Jan Cedergren (Sweden) said there were many actors in the landscape of ‘readiness’ who need to be considered, including South-South cooperation.

Establishment of the independent Secretariat

The Board reviewed a document on the ‘Initial structure and staffing of the Secretariat’ which was proposed by the Executive Director (ED), Hela Cheikhrouhou, and agreed with the proposal. It also authorized the ED to recruit initial staff as was proposed by her.

Several Board members while supporting the ED in general, also raised issues on her proposals. In particular, concerns were raised over the organisational diagram, which presented the adaptation and mitigation windows under one division with one director and four staff, while the Private Sector Facility (PSF) as a separate division with one director and four staff.

Dipak Dasgupta (India) requested clarification on why the PSF had a separate division when the mitigation and adaptation windows were lumped together. He said mitigation and adaption are two very different things and asked why the PSF and the mitigation/adaptation divisions had the same number of staff.

Audrey Joy Grant (Belize) said she was taken aback by the lumping together of adaptation and mitigation windows. She said support for readiness has to be elevated with a separate staff for this and also stressed the need to look at geographical and gender balance in recruiting staff. Derek Gibbs (Barbados) expressed similar views.

Ayman Shasly (Saudi Arabia) said that besides having a gender-balance in the staffing, there is need for ensuring regional balance as well. He also said there is need to have a staff person work on public sector resource mobilization. He further wanted a separation between the mitigation and adaptation windows as this would help in terms of accountability.

Omar El-Arini (Egypt) said that ED needed to be empowered to start the Independent Secretariat and hire a core staff with temporary contracts if necessary. She must be able to go to Songdo, South Korea (the host of the GCF) and be there before the end of the year.

Arnaud Buisse (France) said he shared the same concerns as Dasgupta and Grant. Similar views were also expressed by Jozef Buys (Belgium) and Henrik Harboe (Norway). 

Manfred Konukiewitz (Germany) stressed the importance of gender balance in the staffing as an objective.

Kentaro Ogata (Japan) said the PSF is a feature quite unique to the GCF and supported a separate wing for the PSF. Matthew Kotchen (US) also stressed the importance of having the PSF as a separate unit as it required different skill-sets for staff.

Hela Cheikhrouhou (ED) said the document prepared for the Board was just an initial structure to get the independent Secretariat going, and that it will evolve. The first two years will be a lot about getting ready for receiving the initial capitalization, raising awareness in the developing countries, work with countries on choosing the NDAs etc. The three divisions (country programming, mitigation/adaptation and PSF) are all geared towards supporting the Fund’s readiness. The PSF experts have to work directly and indirectly with governments on how to attract the private sector for jobs.

In response, Dipak Dasgupta (India) reiterated that there is a huge difference between mitigation and adaptation and there is a need for ensuring a right balance. He suggested more reflection on the part of the ED in this regard. Cheikhrouhou agreed on the need to have a balanced approach.