TWN Info Service on Climate Change (Jul15/07)
16 July 2015
Third World Network

GCF: Experts to indpendent technical advisory panel approved

New Delhi, 16 July (Indrajit Bose) — The Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), at its 10th meeting in Songdo, South Korea, agreed on the name of four experts to the Independent Technical Advisory Panel (iTAP).

The function of the iTAP is to provide an independent technical assessment of, and advice on, funding proposals.

The four experts, recommended by the Investment Committee (IC) of the GCF for the Board’s consideration, are from Bangladesh, Germany, Colombia and Japan, with two of them being female and the other two male.

Of the 185 applications received, the IC had forwarded names of six candidates to the Board for consideration with the caveat that there was no consensus in the committee on two of the six candidates. Of major concern for developing country Board members was the fact that a majority of the candidates recommended were from multilateral development banks (MDBs), and with hardly any experience with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  

When discussions began on the topic on 8 July, the Board member from South Africa, Zaheer Fakir,raised the point that of the six nominated, five are from multilateral development banks (MDBs). He also wondered whether that would get the necessary depth of experience required for the panel to do its work and added that there is a certain character to the kind of investments the MDBs deal with.

Jorge Ferrer Rodriguez (Cuba) also expressed similar concerns, saying that the GCF was created because developing countries had problems with the MDBs. (See below for highlights of exchanges in the Board).

Developing country Board members also wanted clarity on why the IC could not agree upon the two candidates but the developed country Board members were of the view that all of the six candidates should be approved. Board members also went into a closed-door executive session to discuss the two candidates, which was not open to observers.

Developing country Board member from Saudi Arabia, Ayman Shashly, also stressed that the roster of experts from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should be made use of as well, in the selection of experts on the iTAP.

In the document presented to the Board for discussion, the IC had put forth two options to the Board for its consideration: to either endorse all six candidates listed or only the first four candidates, with two additional candidates to be nominated and endorsed between meetings prior to the eleventh meeting of the Board. The IC also said that there should be a review mechanism in place to assess the Panel’s effectiveness.

After discussing the issue the Board endorsed the four members for one term. The decision also reaffirmed that the iTAP would comprise six members as per the terms of reference approved at the ninth meeting of the Board, and that “the remaining two Panel members will be selected before the 12th Board meeting with due consideration to the UNFCCC Roster of Experts and to the geographic and speciality coverage, as appropriate”.

(The iTAP members are supposed to enter into a consultancy contract with the Fund for a term of three years, with the possibility of renewal).

The Board members also decided on a review mechanism for the iTAP. It decided that “the Secretariat, in consultation with the IC, will conduct a review of the iTAP’'s effectiveness to be provided to the Board for consideration at its 14th meeting. This review will include an assessment of:
(i) Projected demands on the Panel and its associated capacity to assess funding proposals in terms of their time commitment and range of technical expertise;
(ii) Any specific gaps in the Panel’s technical expertise that should be filled through appointment of additional Panel members (including from the UNFCCC Roster of experts as appropriate) rather than ad-hoc technical support; and
(iii) Costings for the recruitment and empolyment of the additional Panel members.”

The decision also states that the “Panel will, with the help of the Secretariat, draw on technical expertise, particularly including from, but not limited to, the UNFCCC Roster of Experts and thematic bodies, as appropriate,” and “The Secretariat should, in line with the Panel’s terms of reference…establish a dedicated Roster of Experts for the Panel in major mitigation and adaptation areas over time, and to report on progress at the 14th meeting of the Board”.

Highlights of some interventions

Andrea Ledward (UK) said she agreed with the option of including all the six candidates since a lot of time and effort had been spent to zero in on the six, out of 185 applications. Ledward was supported byAtsuyuki Oike (Japan), Ewen McDonald (Australia), Aize Azqueta (Spain) and Ingrid-Gabriela Hoven (Germany).

Omar El Arini (Egypt) sought clarification on why there was a divergence of views on the two candidates in the IC. He also said that membership should cover experience and expertise in the major result areas of the Fund, but that the result areas of the Fund are not reflected or covered, He said the Board should recommend the four candidates on whom there was consensus and to advertise again for two more candidates.

Zaheer Fakir (South Africa) said that the iTAP is an important body for the Fund and there is need to have breadth and depth of experience. Of the six nominated, five are from MDBs, said Fakir. “Does that necessarily give you the wealth and depth of experience? When you are dealing with MDBs, there is a certain character to the kind of investments they deal with. Does this give us the depth of the kind of proposals we will receive?” asked Fakir. 

Jorge Ferrer Rodriguez (Cuba) expressed concerns that four out of the six candidates have worked with MDBs. He said that the GCF was set up because countries had problems with MDBs. The expertise needed has to be in line with mitigation and adaptation, and experience with the Convention. Only two out of the six worked at the national level. He was agreeable to having the four recommended by the IC to be endorsed first.

Leonardo Martinez-Diaz (US) said it was a good list. “If you pick out, out of context, MDB experience, it will not help. Most of us here have been in the MDB world at some point… We should approve the full list,” he said.

Fakir said that they had not received a clear answer on why there was no consensus in the IC. It is not a question of credibility of the individuals involved. The question is whether they are the most appropriate to do the work, said Fakir. “We are prepared to look at the six candidates but we need clarity on why there was no consensus. Once I have that information, we can take a decision,” added Fakir.

Cristian Salas (Chile) who was on the IC explained that there was no consensus in the Committee and said that there were arguments that went both ways. He suggested that the middle ground would be to go with the four candidates where there was consensus and to leave the remaining two positions to be filled from existing candidates later.

Following this discussion, the Board members moved to an executive session, which was closed to observers.

When the discussion resumed on 9 July, Board members sought further clarification on the draft decision presented to them. Stefan Marco Schwager (Switzerland) wanted a timeline by which two additional members should be selected. Ayman Shashly (Saudi Arabia) said his comment on including expertise from the UNFCCC had not been included.

After further amendments on the timeline and inclusion of UNFCCC expertise, the decision was adopted. +