There are nine days left before the members of the Transitional Committee (TC) tasked with the design of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will gather in Cape Town, South Africa for their fourth and final meeting before the COP in Durban.
It is clear that discussions are in a critical phase. The outcome of the TC meeting will likely determine whether the GCF will become a major driver for change that allows developing countries to shift towards a sustainable, low-carbon and climate-resilient development pathway, or alternatively become just another business-as-usual instrument. Will the Fund initiate a shift in the global financial architecture towards increased ownership for those who face the harsh reality of climate change impacts and wish to harness the benefits from low-carbon development? Or will it be another body with difficult access procedures for developing countries and thus lag behind the urgency of response that is needed? Success is possible in Cape Town, but there is also a real risk of failure.
ECO would like to encourage all TC members to do their utmost to conclude a strong and ambitious GCF which gives the developing world the bold means necessary to address climate change. Concluding their task will not be the endpoint for the design of the Fund, but rather a starting point which will hopefully provide the framework from which the key pillar in the international fight against climate change will emerge. Thus, ECO urges the TC members to focus on finding common ground, seeking compromise and show that the GCF is a joint response by the global community to the urgent problem which we are facing with our backs against the wall. It will not be perfect from its inception, but has to be a solid foundation on which to build.
Importantly, the TC must ensure that the Fund is credible from its inception, and ECO would like to urge the TC members to ensure that the outcome of their discussions is one which civil society can continue to defend. We seek assurance that civil society will be given at least the same attention as the private sector in the procedures of the GCF – for example, through active observer seats on the board and strong in-country participation.
The GCF will be a key channel for adaptation finance, and many civil society organizations have long experience in addressing the needs of peoples most affected by climate change. We seek assurance that a balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation will be achieved to correct the major global over allocation towards mitigation that exists. We seek assurance that the GCF will enable direct access to funds for developing countries, notwithstanding the fact that reliable fiduciary standards are an important part of direct access design.
We seek assurance that environmental, social and gender safeguards are consistently and effectively applied with a view to reducing the risk that GCF resources are harming the people they are intended to help. Finally, we seek assurance that the GCF will be a key driver of low-carbon, climate-resilient and gender-equitable development pathways thus providing developing countries the help they have long been promised to alleviate poverty and achieve their development goals. There is still a chance to come up with a great result in Cape Town, the world will be watching.