TWN Info Service on Climate Change (May14/02)
21 May 2014
Third World Network 

Strong plea from civil society for urgent resources for the Green Climate Fund

Songdo, May 21 (Indrajit Bose) – “What will it take you to deliver on the financial commitments? What will open you up to the severity of the climate change crisis? What will move you to act?” These were some of the questions civil society asked of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board members during discussions on the penultimate day of the Seventh GCF Board meeting in Songdo, South Korea.

The general mood at the meeting is that of nervous anticipation. With just a little less than a day to go for the meeting to end, the Board members still have a lot to tick off as ‘done’ from their checklists. Of the eight essential requirements that will lead to mobilizing resources to the Fund, technically called ‘initial resource mobilization’, two were decided at an earlier meeting held in Bali, and six of them are under discussion at the ongoing meeting, which began on 18 May.

These include issues around accreditation rules; approval processes for funding; drawing up a results management framework; financial risk management and investment frameworks; the structure of the Fund; and initial modalities for the Fund’s mitigation and adaptation windows. Barring the financial risk management framework, decision on the other requirements is at various stages of finalization.

While the Board members have organized themselves in smaller groups to tackle the issues, many remain optimistic that they will be able to resolve all of them by the time the meeting ends.

The members will have to reach agreement on the remaining essential requirements before the initial mobilization of resources for the Fund can begin. Reacting to the process that does not inject urgency to put in money into the Fund, and which meanders only around how to begin to carry out the mobilization process, civil society voiced its message loud and clear by saying the credibility of the fund is at stake.

Speaking at the Board meeting on 20 May on behalf of the civil society group, Meena Raman of Third Work Network, an active observer to the GCF, reminded members that the GCF was an operating entity of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and not just any other kind of fund and that it has the responsibility to deliver. “We are watching you and your credibility is totally at stake,” said Raman.

Reminding the Board that David Kaluba of Zambia, a Board member representing the Least Developed Countries, had cried expressing his frustration at an earlier GCF meeting last year, Raman expressed the sentiment that people are gravely impacted and are dying even as the Board reflects on the processes. Her intervention drew wide applause from observers, from an overflow room, who were watching the Board proceedings. In the corridors, several developing country Board members expressed much appreciation for the intervention.

Raman posed tough questions to the developed country Board members and asked of them what it would take to move them to contribute money to the Fund. Reminding the Board members that they must act urgently now, she said it has been four years since the Cancun climate conference and it was decided there that the developed world would pool in USD100 billion a year by 2020 into the GCF. Clearly, a lot of time has lapsed since and the world awaits action. “Where is your heart and where is your conscience?” she asked of the Board.

Not convinced about the adequacy of the decision proposed to the Board for adoption, Raman added the decision essentially watered down the urgency for contributions to the Fund, delays its initial capitalization and lacked any ambition on the scale of resources. 

Below is the transcript of the intervention:

“You are the Board of an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention, not just any kind of fund out there. We are watching you and your credibility is totally at stake.

We remember David’s tears (referring to David Kaluba, a Board member from Zambia, who had cried out of frustration) as he reflected our tears for those affected by the climate crisis and for Mother Earth. The large numbers of the poor impacted by the climate crisis do not have our luxuries. They have died or will die or are gravely impacted even as we speak.

What will it take to move you the ‘contributors’? How much more do we need to convince you about the gravity of the crisis? How many more need to die? How much more essential requirements are needed before you get serious in meeting the urgency (for financial resources) now? We need to see the size and scale of ambition here. Where is your heart and where is your conscience?

A substantial initial capitalization of the GCF, before the meeting of the Conference of Parties in Lima, will be an important step in meeting the pre-2020 finance commitments under the UNFCCC and towards reaching a fair and ambitious climate deal in Paris in 2015. 

We are concerned that the process proposed in the draft decision (tabled at the ongoing meeting in Songdo) is not in line with the spirit of the agreement that was carefully negotiated in Paris last year. Starting to talk about how to begin to carry out the mobilization process isn’t enough. This does not reflect the urgency of the climate crisis, nor the ambition we seek.

We (referring to developing countries) talk about making a need for a paradigm shift and for transformative changes (in developing countries) … but we do not see that reflected in the issue for the capitalization of the Fund.

The intention of the Paris decision was that substantial pledges would be forthcoming—not that contributors would start to talk about how and when to pledge. In light of this, there should be a clear timetable for when the initial resource mobilization process should be completed, clearly related to the three months mentioned in that decision.

We think it would be useful to put forward an ambitious target for the initial capitalization. There should also be either a proposed process along with a timetable for a formal replenishment cycle, or a request to the (GCF) Secretariat to elaborate a process and timetable for such a replenishment cycle, for consideration by the Board at its next meeting.

We need to show goodwill and partnership here in this multilateral process.
For the sake of transparency, credibility and accountability, we appeal to you to ensure participation of civil society organisations in (resource mobilization) meetings.

In Cancun in 2010, the UNFCCC Parties agreed to mobilising resources of US$100 billion per year by 2020.  We are in 2014. Yet we are very very far away in this decision. We are not even being as ambitious as we were in the fast start financing of US$30 billion from 2010-2012. Surely we can show more ambition here.

We are concerned that a privileged role has been carved out for contributor countries. We believe this is inconsistent with previous decisions made by the Board, which explicitly kept the power to define the terms of resource mobilization with the Board. In paragraph (e) of Annex I, the scope should not be limited to “interested contributors”. Rather, it should, “Request the Secretariat to develop policies for contributions for consideration by the Board at its 8th meeting.” [The decision paragraph at present reads: Decides that the Board will consider and approve the policies for contributions based on recommendations from the interested contributors collectively engaging in the initial resource mobilization process.]

In Annex II (f), we are unaware of the precedents for an eminent person to moderate the meetings in the initial resource mobilization process. [Annex II (f) of the draft document titled, ‘Confirmation of the Completion of the Essential Requirements and the Commencement of the Initial Resource Mobilization process’ that was tabled, says that a ‘prominent person’ would “moderate the meetings in the initial resource mobilization process” and that this was in accordance with best practices in the multilateral resource mobilization processes.] We are unconvinced of its necessity, when over and over again, we have heard about how action is needed more than even to address the climate crisis.

[With reference to the inclusion of a “prominent person”] are we saying we need more convincing about the need for urgent resources and that this will not come without a celebrity? Please get serious. This is not a charity event.

Developing criteria and finding such a person could cause for further delays. Please—and I appeal to you—Act Now. It is better late than never. But act now to have money in the Fund to save the poor and the planet!.”