Transitional Committee « Climate Equity

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The Complex Web of Climate Finance Decisions in Durban — with the Green Climate Fund at its Center!

27. November 2011,

Ever since developed countries in Copenhagen at COP15 pledged significant short- and long-term financial support to help developing countries achieve their climate action goals, the discourse about climate finance – on how to fulfill the pledges from what sources, on which institutional channels to use or create, on how to balance and rationalize the global climate finance architecture and on whether and how to align the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of climate finance with that of emissions reductions – has been a dominant driver of the multilateral climate negotiation process. COP17 in Durban starting this Monday will be no different. By some counts no fewer than seven or eight distinct decisions relating to climate finance are on the Durban schedule, all of them interwoven and interlinked in a complex web of conditionalities, reciprocities and political gamesmanship with the larger Durban negotiation package. The most prominent one, , the pivot in the view of many insiders, will be the confirmation of the design for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the approval of a transitional process as well as initial funding for its set-up by the parties. Without the GCF and its secured financial sustainability, there will be no Durban package. (more…)

No Consensus on the Design of the Green Climate Fund — Transitional Committee work ends “sub-optimal”

25. October 2011,

The seven months long process to design a new Green Climate Fund (GCF), on which a 40 member Transitional Committee (TC) composed of 25 from representatives from developing and 15 from developed countries had embarked since the end of April, ended in Cape Town, South Africa on October 18th with – in the words of host and co-chairman Trevor Manuel of South Africa — a “sub-optimal” outcome, if not outright failure to complete its mandate, as some countries alleged. Tasked to come up with a draft governing instrument laying out the objectives and mission, the governance structures and core operational modalities of the new global climate fund, the 40 TC members failed to reach a consensus on the proposed text.

While most country members noted that they were unable to agree with some provisions in the draft governing instrument, but were willing to go along with it for the process’ sake, only the United States and Saudi Arabia rejected the document outright in its current form, asked for further negotiations and thus denied the unanimous agreement needed to recommend the text to the Conference of the Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for adoption.

Instead, COP 17 in Durban will consider and approve a governing instrument that in all likelihood will be opened up for renegotiation – this time among the 194 members of the UNFCCC, instead of the narrower circle of 40 in the Transitional Committee, making consensus and an agreement acceptable to both developed and developing countries even more elusive. With this development, it is almost certain that the new Green Climate Fund will not be able to start its work in early 2012, if at all. And the obstacles for a successful outcome for global climate negotiations at the Durban “African COP” in early December, of which a carefully designed Green Climate Fund was to be a central piece, have become all but daunting. (more…)

Designing the Green Climate Fund: So much disagreement, so little time …

19. September 2011,

So much disagreement, so little time: With three out of four scheduled meetings of the Transitional Committee (TC) tasked with designing the new Green Climate Fund (GCF) now completed after the recent one in Geneva, severe differences remain primarily, although not exclusively, between the 25 developing and 15 developed member countries about form and functions of the Fund. This despite the fact that some progress and convergence of opinions on some important matters is emerging, such as that funding decisions should be driven by and consistent with developing countries’ own national climate and development plans. However, the points of divergence and disagreement are too many and too fundamental in nature to simply hope for a rapid alignment or quick compromise between the TC members.

Given that there are just two full days of negotiations in the 4th TC Meeting in Cape Town on October 16th and 17th and a mere four weeks of behind-the-scenes hackling and drafting left to bridge that divide, it is hard to agree with the optimistic assessment of UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres that the TC “is now fully on track to conclude the design of the Fund for the approval by the UNFCCC’s Conference of the Parties in Durban” in late November. The road to Durban remains bumpy, and TC members have little time to cover a lot of distance. (more…)

Engendering the Green Climate Fund — An Opportunity for Best Practice

18. July 2011,

Gender considerations are currently not systematically addressed in existing climate financing instruments; where gender appears, it is in bits and pieces.  Probably the main reason for that is that gender was not integrated into the design and the operationalization of these financing mechanisms from the very outset – as is the case for the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) as well as for the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) or the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) administered by the Global Environment Facility, and even the Adaptation Fund, which only started project funding last year.  This is where the Green Climate Fund, currently designed by the 40 members of the Transitional Committee, has a chance to do better:  It has an opportunity to be truly transformative and distinguish itself from existing funds by being the first to integrate a gender perspective from the outset. Gender as a cross-cutting issue must guide the discussions about the scope, the governance and operational guidelines of the Green Climate Fund in the Transitional Committee. (more…)

From Anticipation to Confusion and Delay: The First Design Meeting for the Green Climate Fund

4. March 2011,

When the Parties in Cancun agreed to set up a global Green Climate Fund (GCF) and tasked a new Transitional Committee (TC) of experts to meet by March 2011 for the first time to get to work on designing the new global climate fund, this was hailed as one of the most important concrete outcomes of the Cancun Agreements. Observers also noticed with hope that the TC would have a majority of its 40 members (namely 25 of them) come from developing countries.  This, so the expectation would ensure that the new Green Climate Fund would be more needs-based and recipient-country driven than is the case with most of the existing climate financing instruments, and less guided by industrialized countries’ demands as primary fund contributors.  Developing countries, having fought so hard before and in Cancun for the Green Climate Fund, seemed eager and excited to get to work quickly…. (more…)

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