Design by Committee

5 April 2011

It seems incredible. In the age of super-advanced information technology, where communications of all kinds fly around the world and across borders in an instant, the countries in the UN Asian regional group felt that the only way they could agree their nominees to the Transitional Committee (TC) to design the Global Climate Fund was by meeting face-to-face. In a few short weeks, citizens across North Africa and the Middle East have reshaped their governments and opened up new political horizons. The Asian group has yet to manage to select 7 members to sit on a committee. It wouldn’t matter if there wasn’t so much at stake. The work of the TC is vital to make a fair and transformational climate fund operational as soon as possible. Starting that work has now been delayed by more than a month, meaning that parties missed the deadline set in the Cancun agreement.

By way of comparability the Africa Group, with more than 50 countries, not only managed to complete their delegate selection on time, but also got agreement on proposing an important new agenda item on finance, that can help ensure there is money to go into the fund as soon as it is operational.

Let’s hope the Asian Group – and the GRULAC Group, which is also holding things up – have at least used the extra time to think through the kind of experts they will nominate. The TC badly needs experts in areas that matter to poor people’s lives and livelihoods, in areas like gender, agriculture and low carbon climate resilient development.

As of now, one can count the number of women currently nominated to the TC on one hand, or rather on two fingers. That may be a 100% increase on the number of women on the UNSG’s Advisory Group on Climate Finance, but it is still a token number. Women are the worst impacted by climate change. They must be at the heart of this new fund, not excluded from its core decision making structures.

The Asian and GRULAC groups can still get the job done, and do it right.

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