Info Service on Climate Change (Jul15/05)
Push for emphasis on country ownership in GCF process
New Delhi, 16 July (Indrajit Bose) — Developing country Board members of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), pushed for a decision on country ownership, emphasising its importance in the GCF process, at the recently concluded meeting, held in Songdo, South Korea, from 6-9 July.
The decision came at the final hours of the meeting sometime morning of 10 July, after much deliberation on whether there should be a decision at all on country ownership at the meeting.
On 8 July, the GCF Secretariat presented to the Board a document which was for information only on ‘country ownership’ and said its “purpose was to enable the Board to take stock of decisions related to country ownership, the role of the national designated authorities (NDAs) or focal points (FP), and multi-stakeholder engagement in order to consider ways in which it (the Board) can effectively monitor the implementation of these decisions, and areas where further work can be undertaken to help to strengthen country ownership”.
However, developing country Board members led by Ecuador, wanted a decision on country ownership at the meeting primarily to strengthen the role of the NDAs and FPs in the process, as there were concerns that the notion of country-ownership was being side-lined or limited.
In his proposal Angel Valverde (Ecuador) outlined the work of the Secretariat in relation to the NDAs. But some developed country Board members objected to a decision on country owership and said that a decision was not required. Developing country Board members had a lot of explaining to do about the importance of country ownership (see highlights of exchanges below) and the need for a decision.
A small group to draft the decision was formed on the suggestion of the Board Co-chair, Gabriel Quijandria (Peru), and after further discussions, a decision was eventually adopted.
decision adopted reads as follows:
of exchanges that took place
Zaheer Fakir (South Africa) said that the role the NDA is playing (presently) appears to be limited. NDAs/FPs need to be at the heart of the process to drive country ownership. He added that the NDA should be anchored in the GCF so that they are the agents of change. For this, there needs to be guidelines so that the NDAs can assume that role, he stressed further. The NDA is involved in a number of processes starting from giving no objection to country pipeline development (re: funding proposals) and formulation of financial packages and models. He also called for a greater role of the NDA to be reflected in the document. “If we want the Fund to be transformational, we need to be driving the change,” said Fakir, adding that “we cannot just rely on the monitoring of an implementing entity”.
Responding to Valverde’s proposal, Leonardo Martinez-Diaz (United States) said that the proposed list of added activities seemed to call for a very high level of work and these added measures are not needed.
Fakir clarified that it is an important issue that empowers countries and that Ecuador’s proposals must be looked at.
Martinez-Diaz said that he had not heard a compelling argument for a decision on country-ownership. “We could use this time discuss other matters,” he said, drawing a sharp retort from Omar El-Arini (Egypt) who disagreed with this view.
Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven (Germany) said the issues raised by Valverde pertain more to the relationship between the NDA and the Secretariat and wondered if this called for a Board decision.
Fakir responded that country ownership could not be pushed around. “What we want to do is to empower countries. We are serious about promoting country ownership and it is important for us to address the issue,” said Fakir.
Responding to comments, Valverde said country ownership is one of those crucial aspects where the Board needs to have continuous oversight and needs to assure that there is constant learning and improvement. He made three additional points—on the involvement of NDAs in core activities, on the role of NDAs in monitoring and how that could inform the Board from a strategic perspective, and on communication with the Secretariat and difference in roles with the accredited entities. He said the proposal on guidelines could be given to NDAs for their involvement in aspects such as country pipeline, selection of implementing partners and formulation of financing models. He also said that the proposal for developing a monitoring framework could be undertaken by the NDA to provide the Board with direct feedback on the impact of the Fund’s activities and the Fund’s contribution. Valverde also called for guidelines for difference in roles and interaction between the Secretariat, the accredited entities and the NDAs.
Following these discussions, the Board came back to discussing ‘country ownership on 9 July, where a draft decision was presented.
Presenting the decision, Valverde stressed the importance of country ownership and for the Fund to have high impact vis-à-vis the needs of developing countries. He also said that the active role of the NDA is a key element in assuring efficiency of operations, which was a gap and which the decision needs to address. Mariana Inés Micozzi (Argentina) supported Valverde.
Andrea Ledward (UK) responded that the implication of the decision was not clear. Martinez-Diaz said the decision was too general. Arnaud Buisse (France) also expressed his inablity to understand the decision. Ludovica Soderini (Italy) expressed concerns about bureaucratising the process.
Fakir said there is need to ensure how to empower the NDAs. “Through country ownership and country drivenness, we will be enhancing results on the ground. The idea of the decision is to ensure that NDAs are not merely rubber stamps and they are at the heart of the process. We also want to ensure that as an NDA, they have oversight responsibility,” said Fakir and added that a little bit of wordsmithing should help resolve the concerns.
Valverde intervened to further clarify the reasoning behind the proposed decision. “We have different experiences of countries when it comes to national entities. There are potential entities, international agencies etc. The feeling is in many of the cases the national entities or the NDAs are skipped,” said Valverde.
“When we talk about such efforts, we are talking about capacity in a systematic way. We are thinking in a systematic structure how to conduct things in relation to the GCF. That is the spirit of this draft. When we talk of financing models, it sounds weird. It should be related to readiness. For better coordination therefore, we need to have guidelines. That is the whole spirit of this,” said Valverde. “We don’t want to make the process bureaucratic. But coordination with the national entities needs to be done,” said Valverde.
Following these interventions, the decision was adopted.