The 9th meeting of the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) took place for the first time in the shiny new headquarters of the Fund in Songdo from March 24-26, 2015 under the leadership of new Board Co-Chairs Henrik Harboe of Norway and Gabriel Quijandria of Peru. The ambitious agenda provided the Board with many opportunities to shine, but in the end only a few truly shining moments were delivered. The highlight of the meeting most certainly – and the point in time toward which many activities were geared over the past several Board meetings – was the accreditation of the first seven institutions as implementing entities for future GCF projects and programs. They were approved as a balanced package of small and large as well as national, regional and international entities, including one social impact private sector investment fund, proving that the new Accreditation Panel is up to the task of making the Fund’s fit-for-purpose accreditation process work, even though improvements are possible – and needed.
Other must-have policy decisions on financial instruments, the further development of the initial investment framework, the status update on the resource mobilization and on progress on implementing the readiness work program, the policy on ethics and conflicts of interest of the Board, or the new gender policy and action plan contributed more to shiny foreheads of Board members working feverishly until early morning hours to wrestle to a decision than providing shiny moments of Board leadership. The Board in Songdo was not able to finish its entire (maybe overly optimistic) agenda, missing for example agreement on the Board’s work plan for the remainder of the year, thereby increasing the pressure on the remaining two Board meetings this year to make all the “must-have” decisions so that the Board can consider and approve the first project proposals in time to show the Paris COP21 that the Fund is now fully operationalized.
Much homework remains to be done – including on still unfinished business leftover from 2014 in addition to that from the 9th Board meeting in Songdo – to ensure that the GCF will not only be able to get to Paris with an “open for business” sign, but that it is in shape as the main entity under the UNFCCC financial mechanism to support developing countries with activities and projects that move “beyond business as usual”. A lot of work on a comprehensive monitoring and accountability framework for the Fund, for example, still has to be done with the three GCF accountability units not yet up and running and an interim information disclosure policy in dire need of updating so that it at least meets best practice standards set by other funds like the Adaptation Fund. All this is an important reminder to the GCF Board and the Secretariat to “hurry slowly” and to not forget in their haste to deliver against the political deadline set by the Paris COP21 that the GCF has to deliver not only fast, but more importantly well.
This report provides a comprehensive summary and an outlook detailing the GCF’s work toward Paris.
Click here for a listing of relevant GCF Board documents