GCF allocates additional USD 50 million for readiness programme

Apia, 23 December 2016 (Indrajit Bose)

Delhi — The Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) decided to allocate up to an additional USD 50 million for the execution of the Fund’s Readiness and Preparatory Support programme.

The Board took this decision at its 15th Meeting held in Apia, Samoa from 13-15 December.

(Previously in 2015, the Board had approved USD 15 million for the Readiness and Preparatory Support.)

However, two issues became contentious during the Samoa meeting: (i) the amount to be allocated to the Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme, which serves as a crucial pillar for the GCF, and (ii) continued support for National Adaptation Plans (NAPS) of countries.

Some developed country Board members also proposed an evaluation of the programme before further allocation of funds.

(The Governing Instrument [GI] provides that the “Fund will provide resources for readiness and preparatory activities and technical assistance, such as the preparation or strengthening of low-emission development strategies or plans, NAMAs (nationally appropriate mitigation actions), NAPs (national adaptation plans), NAPAs (national adaptation plans of action) and for in-country institutional strengthening, including the strengthening of capacities for country coordination and to meet fiduciary principles and standards and environmental and social safeguards, in order to enable countries to directly access the Fund.)

At the Board meeting, USD 100 million was the initial amount requested by the Secretariat to be allocated to the programme. Board members, however, had different views on this.

Developed country Board members led by United States (US) and France were of the view that the amount requested was quite high. The US also suggested not providing additional resources for NAPS till further guidelines were developed. Developing country members were supportive of the amount.

(According to a decision taken at the 13th meeting of the Board, the GCF had decided “to expedite support for developing countries for the formulation of national adaptation plans…”)

Leonardo Martinez-Diaz (US) said that the proposed amount of USD 100 million was a dramatic increase and it would be premature to make that increase. The US would be comfortable with an allocation of USD 30 million, Martinez-Diaz said. He also said that there should be guidelines on the GCF providing resources for readiness grants. He suggested expediting the development of guidelines for NAPS and for the Secretariat to not approve additional resources for NAPS till the guidelines were developed. He added that the accreditation process and the readiness programme should be linked.

The US also tabled a reservation about not providing readiness resources to Eritrea, which it said should go into the report of the meeting and that the reservation was part of a legislative requirement for the US government. “The US in light of its policies concerning development projects involving countries whose governments are not addressing trafficking in persons and which do not have civilian audits of military expenditures opposes the decision to provide readiness support for Eritrea,” said Martinez-Diaz.

May Gicquel (France) supported the US and said that USD 100 million seemed to be quite a large increase. She added that doubling to USD 30 million till the review’s results come out seemed reasonable. She also said that if USD 30 million was not enough, one could always top this up with a new allocation.

Diann Black-Layne (Antigua and Barbuda) said that if only USD 30 million is approved, it sends a bad signal that one had to keep coming back to the Board for money on a decision that had already been approved, since the Board had already decided that readiness resources would be provided to developing countries.

“It does not send a good signal. The whole basis for providing funding under the Convention (UNFCCC) is predictability. Is it going to be there? The idea is to approve a package to get up to USD 100 million. It does not look good that as a Board we approve readiness guidelines, readiness support and then we do not support the budget for that,” said Black-Layne.

She also said that for the Fund to be equitable and fair, readiness support must be provided to developing countries in order to make everyone operate at the same standard. “This is why we have very few direct access projects in the pipeline. Every meeting we complain about it. This is the time when we can do something about it,” said Black-Layne.

Black-Layne also said that it was too soon to focus on the outcomes of the readiness support. She added that not a lot of money has been disbursed yet and some of the early evaluation would point to the legal barriers in accessing the readiness money. “But those legal issues such as privileges and immunities are broader issues for the Board,” she said.

Regarding NAPs, she said that they should continue approval of NAPs. From earlier discussions, she said that Board could clearly identify transformational mitigation projects, but not transformational adaptation projects, although transformation is talked about. “We have USD 10 billion (for the GCF from the initial resources mobilization)… So, let us give countries the funding they need and let them decide on what the adaptation projects are. We can get guidelines from Convention bodies. We all participate in the bodies,” she added further.

Referring to discussions on the Bangladesh adaptation project, which the Board members could not agree on, Black-Layne said, “Right now there is a lot of fear about adaptation projects and I am struggling with that. If you look at the pipeline of projects, they are not fairly distributed. As a Fund we said we would focus on direct access entities, including the private sector as well. In the case of many developing countries, who would like to access readiness, some have chosen to work with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) etc.; some have chosen to work with direct access. According to the GI and decisions of the Board, we have made a decision that those options would be made available to recipient countries. Now let us talk about equity. Those countries who are providing financing have asked the Fund for latitude in the way they can provide funds. We have done that. In return, recipient countries would like to maintain all channels that are open to them to access resources, including going directly to the Secretariat. The function of the Secretariat is to facilitate direct access for the private sector and governments who choose that option. If we made that decision and say this is the hallmark of the Fund, we should fund it,” lamented Black-Layne.

Amjad Abdulla (Maldives) said the rationale behind country ownership was key and that it was too early to see lessons learned from the readiness programme. He said that the GCF should cater to the countries’ demands. He also said that USD 100 million was a conservative figure and suggested that a lot of lessons could be learned from NAPs and NAPAs (national adaptation plans of action). “Countries are submitting proposals for exactly what is there in the NAPAs. If anyone is questioning what is adaptation, it is there…It is very unfortunate to come back and question now that this is not adaptation and it is development. We should approve what is requested by the Secretariat. It is us developing countries who are requesting them. We need to see the predictability (in the availability of resources),” said Abdulla.

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu (Democratic Republic of Congo) said readiness is one area that can get countries up to speed to be able to come up with transformational projects. He said that the USD 100 million request seemed to be an adequate amount and expressed support for the amount. He added that if a commitment had been made to provide countries with readiness support there should be no pretense or excuse given to the countries that the policies of the Board had not been finalized and the Board is therefore unable to provide the resources.

Richard Muyungi (Tanzania) emphasized that the Board needs to be consistent. “We should remember that we just made a decision to support readiness activities as part of the COP guidance (referring to the UNFCCC meeting of the Conference of Parties). We cannot understand a situation within one meeting, we are thinking of reversing a decision that came from the COP guidance…The fact that there should be additional guidelines should not be the reason countries should be denied support,” stressed Muyungi.

Igancio Lorenzo (Uruguay) said that it is highly probable that NAP proposals would come up in 2017 and there should be adequate support for that.

On the evaluation of the readiness programme, Sally Truong (Australia) said the Secretariat should focus on disbursements of readiness funds as well as to focus on monitoring and reporting and that there should be an independent evaluation of the readiness next year.

Kate Hughes (UK) added it would be valuable to understand the impact of the programme on the ground and the need to make sure that the readiness programme had the intended impact. She stressed on the importance of an independent evaluation. She also said that there should be a shift in talking from outputs to outcomes and the impact.

In this regard, the Board requested the Secretariat “to present the results of the independent evaluation of the Programme to the Board no later than the last meeting in 2017, and to ensure that the results of the evaluation are taken into account when considering requests for resources for the Programme subsequent to the evaluation”.

The Board also requested the Secretariat “to present the draft terms of reference for the independent evaluation of the Programme for Board consideration at the sixteenth meeting of the Board”.

(Edited by Meena Raman)

UNFCCC / Green Climate Fund / 15th GCF Board meeting
13 December - 15 December 2016, Apia, Samoa
by Indrajit Bose
Apia, 23 December 2016