When the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) convenes for its fourth meeting from June 25 – June 28, 2013 in Songdo, South Korea, the Co-Chairs will be pushing the 24-member body to take some key decisions on how the GCF will conduct its business in order to push for the paradigm shift toward low-emission, climate-resilient, sustainable and gender-sensitive development in developing countries mandated by its Governing Instrument, and provide an answer to the question of what role the private sector will play in contributing to that shift. The discourse on the Business Model Framework (BMF) for the Fund – the constituent building blocks of policies, guidelines, and organizational structure of facilities, windows and units to operationalize the Fund – will dominate the Songdo meeting agenda, including a whole-day of informal discussions on June 25th. The Board will have to carefully navigate the unavoidable tension between urgency to “get on with it” and show results (as a prerequisite that developed countries have reiterated repeatedly to even start talking about the initial resource mobilization for the Fund) and the need to be thoughtful, thorough and innovative in getting the Fund right (to rationalize the existing climate finance architecture, fill delivery gaps and secure the GCF as the global community’s main multilateral climate funding mechanism for decades to come). At the same time, the Co-Chairs and the Secretariat have to show that they are receptive to and addressing the concerns of Board members, including on process and transparency of the BMF work.
Also on the agenda in Songdo, although somewhat overshadowed by the focus on the business model for the Fund, is the selection of the new Executive Director for its Independent Secretariat from a short-listed group of three candidates. Once chosen – presumably in a non-public executive Board session – the new GCF Executive Director will have to oversee as one of her/his first tasks the move of the current GCF Interim Secretariat from Bonn to Songdo and its reconstitution as permanent Independent Secretariat before the end of this year.
Also up for decision in Songdo are several agenda items addressing the transparency and accountability of the GCF and its Board, including the Fund’s information disclosure, further work on a communication strategy, a competition to design a logo for the Fund, as well as voting rules for the Board. Much works remains for the GCF to meet, let alone set, new international best practice in terms of transparency. In Songdo, the Board could take a bold step toward this goal by allowing for web-casting of its proceedings and stipulating meaningful consultation on Board preparatory documents in order to ensure that stakeholders, particularly the people in developing countries who are to benefit from GCF funding decisions, have a way to contribute their expertise, experiences and suggestions to inform the Board’s actions.
Lastly, the Board will again have to take up the relationship of the Fund, which is an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the UN Framework Convention on Climate change (UNFCCC), with the Convention, its Conference of Parties (COP), to whom the GCF is accountable, and other organizations. The arrangements between the COP and the GCF are also addressed simultaneously in the Convention’s Standing Committee on Finance (SCF), where a recent meeting failed to reach agreement on elements of such arrangements.