The 7th Board Meeting of the Green Climate Fund delivers key policies meant to signal that the Fund is ready for business in 2015
The 7th meeting of the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in Songdo from May 18 – May 21, 2014 could easily be labeled the most crucial Board meeting in the short history of the GCF. With the need to make decisions on six of the eight operational policies still outstanding that the Board at its fifth meeting in Paris had degreed “essential requirements” to even start initial efforts for mobilizing resources for the Fund, it was indeed a make-or-break meeting. The pressure on the 24 Board members, including their Co-Chairs, German Board member Manfred Konukiewitz and the Philippine’s Jose Ma. Clemente Sarte Salceda, to deliver at this meeting after a sub-optimal 6th Board meeting with few decisions and much discontent in Bali in February was palpable. But deliver they did. Initial resource mobilization for the GCF officially started with a first contributor meeting in Oslo at the beginning of July. It is now conceivable that some first pledges could be made in time for the UN Secretary General’s extraordinary climate summit in New York on September 23rd. Germany took the lead on July 14th by committing € 750 million to the Fund.
This feat – by many considered unlikely if not impossible going into the Songdo meeting – was accomplished by a deliberate concentration on only the bare minimum necessary to allow the Board to certify by consensus that those six outstanding modalities were sufficiently elaborated for initial GCF operations to begin, and, above all, by the radical clearing of the meeting’s agenda of anything that could cause delay or detract from the challenging task at hand. The long list of postponed agenda items, which while not labeled as key requirements for resource mobilization are nevertheless essential for the full operationalization of the Fund, included still contentious items around country ownership such as enhanced direct access to GCF funding and a no-objection procedure for private sector investment proposals. Readiness and preparatory support; options for a Fund-wide gender-sensitive approach; more deliberations on adaptation focus areas and indicators; or the terms and conditions for GCF loans and grants – all of which in line with former Board decisions should have been addressed in Songdo – were likewise pushed to a future GCF Board meeting.
There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done by the Co-Chairs, the Board and the Secretariat under Executive Director Hela Cheikhrouhou before the Fund is fully open for business in 2015. A significant part of this stems from the need to clarify and elaborate some of the “bare(ly there) essentials” decided in Songdo. The mandates for further work from the recent GCF Board meeting, as well as postponed decisions and time-bound items on the Board’s workplan for 2014 could result in as many as 37 separate policy papers for consideration and decisions by the GCF Board at its next three-day Board meeting from October 15 – 17 in Barbados. The Co-Chairs, in consultation with the Board and the Secretariat, will therefore have to carefully set priorities for the next Board meeting, which will also be their last in this capacity. Their intention will be to ensure that the collective message that the GCF Board then sends to the climate summit in Lima, Peru in early December (COP 21) is that the GCF is ready to be the linchpin for a global climate agreement in 2015.
Click here for a listing of relevant GCF Board documents for the 7th Board meeting.