Moving Beyond "Business as Usual": Hard-Fought Decisions at the GCF's 8th Board Meeting in Barbados Further Sharpen the Fund's Profile during Initial Resource Mobilization

The 8th meeting of the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in Barbados from October 14-17, 2014 took place in a paradisal setting close to the beach, but handled a hellish agenda, which kept Board members in a windowless conference room late at night.  It overtaxed the ability of the Secretariat to prepare the more than 50 required documents, the Board members ability to read and think through all of them thoroughly, and thus the ability of the Board to agree on sufficiently elaborated consensus decisions on several issues, with decisions on many other key topics – including the investment framework, the Fund’s gender policy, or specific programs under its Private Sector Facility – postponed.  Nevertheless, the Board succeeded in taking a couple of “must” decisions.  They are of fundamental importance for the Fund and show that the institution is starting to move “beyond business as usual” in its approach to funding climate actions. Key decisions taken in Barbados include further steps on a fit-for-purpose accreditation approach with fast-tracking and a commitment to support and enhance direct access for national and sub-national entities, including through a comprehensive readiness support program worth tens of US$ millions; a results management approach that recognizes the sustainable development context of all GCF funding action in measuring Fund performance in mitigation on the Fund-aggregate level; and a clear commitment that the recipient country has the final say in determining via an active no-objection procedure, which GCF-funded projects and activities, especially those implemented by private sector actors, will support its own strategic vision for a domestic paradigm shift.

Country ownership as the fundamental guiding principle for the Fund’s operationalization was also at the core of a set of decisions on the initial resource mobilization process, particularly the Board approved policies for contributions to the Fund with the Board rejecting the tired practice of existing institutions of tying contributions to voting power in the Board and allowing for earmarking of contributions. The successful pledging conference in Berlin on November 20, 2014 and the commitment of close to 30 countries, among them some developing countries, to contribute some US$10 billion to the Fund, largely in form of grants, can now truly be seen as an understanding of the Fund as a balanced partnership between developed and developing countries and a move beyond Bretton Woods-style business as usual approaches.

Departing Board Co-Chairs Manfred Konukiewitz from Germany and Jose Ma. Clemente Sarte Salceda from the Philippines leave a Fund behind that it hoping to accredit its first implementation partner institutions at the upcoming Board meeting in March and to decide on the first non-readiness GCF projects and activities at its last Board meeting of this year in October. The new Co-Chairs Gabriel Quijandria from Peru (which also holds the current UNFCCC presidency) and Henrik Harboe from Norway will oversee an ambitious and politically driven agenda which intrinsically links the success of the Board in finalizing the operationalization of the GCF to the success of the Paris COP 21 in reaching a new global climate agreement.

This report provides a comprehensive summary of outlook detailing how close the GCF is to full operationalization.

Click here for a listing of relevant GCF Board documents.

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Date of Publication
February 2015
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