Green Climate Fund (GCF)

Upping the Ante. The 5th Green Climate Fund Board Meeting speeds up progress on the Fund’s Business Model and sets a time-line for GCF resource mobilization :

“Paris: Tour Eiffel at Night” by Wally Gobetz, Flickr, (published under Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

At its 5th meeting from October 7 – 10, 2013 in Paris, France, the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) rose to the challenge that the Co-Chairs posed in presenting the 24-member group with a near “mission impossible” to get through an overloaded agenda by accelerating their decision-making on various operational policies under the Fund’s Business Model Framework (BMF). The reason for the Board “upping the ante” after several prior meetings where progress seemed to be only incremental and some of the fundamental policy differences between developing and developed country Board members almost insurmountable was the strategy by the outgoing Co-Chairs from South Africa and Australia to tie the begin of the GCF’s resource mobilization process explicitly to the completion of a set of core policies to enable the Fund to receive, manage, program and disburse GCF financial resources as soon as possible. The Board decisions in Paris – although not formally setting a date – nevertheless provided an implicit time-line for such a process making it theoretically possible to have an initial pledge meeting for substantial contributions to the Fund in late August or September 2014 – provided the Board manages to get through its next two Board meetings without major controversies or delays.

The Board meeting in Paris marked also the formal end of the interim phase of the Fund’s Secretariat with the new Executive Director Hela Cheikhrouhou, who participated for the first time in this capacity in the Board proceedings, showing herself to be in full command of the ongoing move of the Secretariat to its new headquarters in Songdo, South Korea as well as in full command of the issues decided by the Board. In a show of support, in Paris the Board approved her vision for the initial structure of the GCF Independent Secretariat with the planned expansion of its size to close to 50 professional staff by mid-2014.

In Paris, the Board was also finally able to conclude arrangements on the relationship of the Fund, which is an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the Convention’s Conference of Parties (COP), to whom the GCF is accountable. With the GCF Board in Paris confirming the draft arrangements worked out over several meetings by the Convention’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCF), both bodies were able to fulfill their COP mandate to present the finalized arrangements to the COP 19 in Warsaw.

The GCF Board’s next meeting will be from February 19 – 21, 2014 in Bali, Indonesia. It will be a crucial one to make progress toward fulfilling the eight policies whose completion the Board in Paris decided are essential “triggers” for the Fund’s initial mobilization efforts. In Paris, several developed Board member promised that their countries have money waiting in the bank to contribute to a “substantial” mobilization effort for the GCF then.

by Liane Schalatek, Heinrich Böll Foundation, North America

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