SONGDO, SOUTH KOREA – Just before the meeting started, our CSO colleagues had an action outside of the G-Tower (BM venue) calling for the rejection of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (MUFJ)’s applications to the GCF. Both have a track record of funding coal projects, hence we want them out of the GCF. The Board is scheduled to decide on this matter tomorrow, so we encourage everyone who are not in Songdo to tweet away and use #GCFund (apparently BMs are twitter savvy and are quite sensitive to what we say about them, especially when it comes to their looks.

​​As the BM17 started, the co-chairs opened the meeting by welcoming new board members and gave warm wishes to co-chair Ewen McDonald (Australia) for his birthday. They then proceeded to adopting the agenda and hearing reports from the co-chair activities, the activities of the secretariat and progress of tasks taken by various committees and panels.

One item that was mentioned in the activities of the secretariat that the board members took note is the work on the fund’s gender policy. While many welcome the handbook that was recently published in the GCF website, BM from Canada urged the Board to think beyond gender analysis and the plain tracking of women recipients in GCF projects. She suggests to focus more in achieving concrete results and aim to make the Fund a tool to achieve women empowerment. Others suggested to create a regular assessment or update report on matters related to the Funds gender policy in the future.

The CSOs through Liane Schaletek, was also able to make a quick intervention, requesting the secretariat to provide a staff directory file so we know who to address for certain inquiries.

Another item that was discussed quite a few times is the complementarity and coherence of the GCF with other existing Funds, as part of matters related to the COP guidance. According to the secretariat, the Fund has established a harmonious relationship with the secretariats from GEF, Adaptation Fund (especially on matters related to direct access entities), and Climate Investment Funds. BMs are happy with the cooperation and even reiterate the importance of learning from best practices. BM from India even suggested that the Fund must also work with FAO, WHO and other related UN agencies but warns that these agencies must not access resources available in the GCF and instead use their own funds. BM from Sweden is also happy with the harmonization with other funds and suggested to also consider the monitoring and reporting of policies like on gender and stakeholder engagement. BM from South Africa on the other, urged the secretariat to put more actionable steps in terms of coherence with other funds, and not just focus on the quantification of the climate finance architecture. Other institutions like the WRI (as referenced by BM from Sweden) are already doing that.

The Board also spent a significant amount of time discussing matters related to support REDD+ where the secretariat and the REDD+ Champions (Caroline Leclerc from Canada and Tosi Mpanu Mpanu from DR Congo) presented initiatives taken by the Fund so far in coming up with REDD+ preparations. The Bali meeting in April was mentioned as an important event where various stakeholders (REDD+ experts, CSOs and policy makers) brainstormed on how to move forward with REDD+ in the GCF. Many BMs think that complementarity and coherence with other REDD+ related funds is important, while some mentioned that the communities and the rights indigenous peoples remain the heart of REDD+ discussion, hence active engagement with them must be ensured. There were also BMs who pushed to provide spaces for Private Sector. Our CSO intervention delivered by Kimaren Riamit from the IP constituency, urged the BMs to consider the land rights of communities and reiterated the importance of dialogue between the NDAs/focal persons with all stakeholders, especially with women and IP groups.

In terms of the REDD+ Results Based Payment, the secretariat presented 4 items that needed board consideration. These are the size of the RFP, the eligibility date, possible distribution of payments and application of the scorecard. BM from Canada admitted that there are number of issues that were raised in Bali and proposed to consider the document presented by the secretariat as something that is in its pilot stage, to which many BMs believe as a good initial document. However, there are a number of BMs who reiterated important points such as consistency to the GCF policies particularly on the gender policy and the proposed IP policy. While the Cancun safeguard policy is a good starting point to consider for the Fund’s IP Policy, some board members feel that it is not as strong as the ones stated in the Paris Agreement and in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). BM from Malaysia also agreed with most of points but suggested that the REDD+ policy must not tolerate transfer of emissions reductions to any entity. Emissions reductions from REDD+ must only be reflected in the NDCs of the REDD+ recipient countries. The use of scorecards has also received positive feedback, however many believe that it needs further refinement. Other issues raised were on the importance of equity and that the Fund must ensure there is balance between countries needing REDD+ finance. Our CSO Intervention also underscored the need to reflect the IP Policy (which is now being drafted and will be presented in BM18) and UNFCCC guidance on incentivizing non-carbon benefits in the scorecards.

The Risk Management Framework is another important document discussed. The rationale behind the framework as explained by the secretariat, is to encourage the Fund to invest in high risk projects to achieve greater mitigation and adaptation impact. Some BMs were concerned that the Fund has not set any risk policy on Accredited Entities. In our CSO Intervention delivered by Liane Schalatek, we reiterated our previous interventions about the Fund’s “zero tolerance” approach. The “zero tolerance” referred in the document is quite weak as sanctions are said to be given only to countries and failed to include international firms (especially AEs) that the Fund may have to work with. We also raised the vagueness of sanctions to “compliance breaches” and suggested to include measures that would address breaches related to the Gender Policy and Action Plan and to the forthcoming IP Policy.

The status of the GCF Portfolio in terms of Projects in the Pipeline and Approved Projects was presented next by the secretariat. As of July 2017, there are 58 projects in the pipeline worth 3.8 Billion USD, 64% of which is under grant financing (19% Loan, 12% Equity, 5% Guarantee). Of these, more than half are coming from LDCs, SIDS and Africa, and there are still more mitigation proposals than adaptation (30% Mitigation, 25% Adaptation, 45% Cross-cutting). Also, projects in the pipeline now have included concept notes in their submissions. There have been 196 CNs received so far. As with the approved projects, there are 43 projects in total amounting to USD 2.2 Billion. Of the approved, only 34% allocated for Adaptation and 66% for Mitigation. The secretariat also reported that requests for GCF Funds still come mainly from international entities and very few from direct access entities. In terms of result areas, majority of the committed funding is directed to energy access and generation, very few to ecosystem, forestry and land use, and zero on transport. While the need to approve more projects coming from direct access entities have been repeatedly raised, the BM from Germany reminded that proposals must still be aligned with the Funds policies especially on gender and IP. Also, proposals must still reflect country priorities and not be influenced by result areas. BM from Switzerland on the other questioned the high share of grants, low share of proposals coming from Eastern Europe and the low Project Preparation Facility (PPF) requests. Of the 43 projects approved, there are only 18 PPF requests so far and 13 of which come from international entities.

When the SONGDO, SOUTH KOREA. Just before the meeting started, our CSO colleagues had an action outside of the G-Tower (BM venue) calling for the rejection of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (MUFJ)’s applications to the GCF. Both have a track record of funding coal projects, hence we want them out of the GCF. The Board is scheduled to decide on this matter tomorrow, so we encourage everyone who are not in Songdo to tweet away and use #GCFund (apparently BMs are twitter savvy and are quite sensitive to what we say about them, especially when it comes to their looks

​​As the BM17 started, the co-chairs opened the meeting by welcoming new board members and gave warm wishes to co-chair Ewen McDonald (Australia) for his birthday. They then proceeded to adopting the agenda and hearing reports from the co-chair activities, the activities of the secretariat and progress of tasks taken by various committees and panels.

One item that was mentioned in the activities of the secretariat that the board members took note is the work on the fund’s gender policy. While many welcome the handbook that was recently published in the GCF website, BM from Canada urged the Board to think beyond gender analysis and the plain tracking of women recipients in GCF projects. She suggests to focus more in achieving concrete results and aim to make the Fund a tool to achieve women empowerment. Others suggested to create a regular assessment or update report on matters related to the Funds gender policy in the future.

The CSOs through Liane Schaletek, was also able to make a quick intervention, requesting the secretariat to provide a staff directory file so we know who to address for certain inquiries.

Another item that was discussed quite a few times is the complementarity and coherence of the GCF with other existing Funds, as part of matters related to the COP guidance. According to the secretariat, the Fund has established a harmonious relationship with the secretariats from GEF, Adaptation Fund (especially on matters related to direct access entities), and Climate Investment Funds. BMs are happy with the cooperation and even reiterate the importance of learning from best practices. BM from India even suggested that the Fund must also work with FAO, WHO and other related UN agencies but warns that these agencies must not access resources available in the GCF and instead use their own funds. BM from Sweden is also happy with the harmonization with other funds and suggested to also consider the monitoring and reporting of policies like on gender and stakeholder engagement. BM from South Africa on the other, urged the secretariat to put more actionable steps in terms of coherence with other funds, and not just focus on the quantification of the climate finance architecture. Other institutions like the WRI (as referenced by BM from Sweden) are already doing that.

The Board also spent a significant amount of time discussing matters related to support REDD+ where the secretariat and the REDD+ Champions (Caroline Leclerc from Canada and Tosi Mpanu Mpanu from DR Congo) presented initiatives taken by the Fund so far in coming up with REDD+ preparations. The Bali meeting in April was mentioned as an important event where various stakeholders (REDD+ experts, CSOs and policy makers) brainstormed on how to move forward with REDD+ in the GCF. Many BMs think that complementarity and coherence with other REDD+ related funds is important, while some mentioned that the communities and the rights indigenous peoples remain the heart of REDD+ discussion, hence active engagement with them must be ensured. There were also BMs who pushed to provide spaces for Private Sector. Our CSO intervention delivered by Kimaren Riamit from the IP constituency, urged the BMs to consider the land rights of communities and reiterated the importance of dialogue between the NDAs/focal persons with all stakeholders, especially with women and IP groups.

In terms of the REDD+ Results Based Payment, the secretariat presented 4 items that needed board consideration. These are the size of the RFP, the eligibility date, possible distribution of payments and application of the scorecard. BM from Canada admitted that there are number of issues that were raised in Bali and proposed to consider the document presented by the secretariat as something that is in its pilot stage, to which many BMs believe as a good initial document. However, there are a number of BMs who reiterated important points such as consistency to the GCF policies particularly on the gender policy and the proposed IP policy. While the Cancun safeguard policy is a good starting point to consider for the Fund’s IP Policy, some board members feel that it is not as strong as the ones stated in the Paris Agreement and in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). BM from Malaysia also agreed with most of points but suggested that the REDD+ policy must not tolerate transfer of emissions reductions to any entity. Emissions reductions from REDD+ must only be reflected in the NDCs of the REDD+ recipient countries. The use of scorecards has also received positive feedback, however many believe that it needs further refinement. Other issues raised were on the importance of equity and that the Fund must ensure there is balance between countries needing REDD+ finance. Our CSO Intervention also underscored the need to reflect the IP Policy (which is now being drafted and will be presented in BM18) and UNFCCC guidance on incentivizing non-carbon benefits in the scorecards.

The Risk Management Framework is another important document discussed. The rationale behind the framework as explained by the secretariat, is to encourage the Fund to invest in high risk projects to achieve greater mitigation and adaptation impact. Some BMs were concerned that the Fund has not set any risk policy on Accredited Entities. In our CSO Intervention delivered by Liane Schalatek, we reiterated our previous interventions about the Fund’s “zero tolerance” approach. The “zero tolerance” referred in the document is quite weak as sanctions are said to be given only to countries and failed to include international firms (especially AEs) that the Fund may have to work with. We also raised the vagueness of sanctions to “compliance breaches” and suggested to include measures that would address breaches related to the Gender Policy and Action Plan and to the forthcoming IP Policy.

The status of the GCF Portfolio in terms of Projects in the Pipeline and Approved Projects was presented next by the secretariat. As of July 2017, there are 58 projects in the pipeline worth 3.8 Billion USD, 64% of which is under grant financing (19% Loan, 12% Equity, 5% Guarantee). Of these, more than half are coming from LDCs, SIDS and Africa, and there are still more mitigation proposals than adaptation (30% Mitigation, 25% Adaptation, 45% Cross-cutting). Also, projects in the pipeline now have included concept notes in their submissions. There have been 196 CNs received so far. As with the approved projects, there are 43 projects in total amounting to USD 2.2 Billion. Of the approved, only 34% allocated for Adaptation and 66% for Mitigation. The secretariat also reported that requests for GCF Funds still come mainly from international entities and very few from direct access entities. In terms of result areas, majority of the committed funding is directed to energy access and generation, very few to ecosystem, forestry and land use, and zero on transport. While the need to approve more projects coming from direct access entities have been repeatedly raised, the BM from Germany reminded that proposals must still be aligned with the Funds policies especially on gender and IP. Also, proposals must still reflect country priorities and not be influenced by result areas. BM from Switzerland on the other questioned the high share of grants, low share of proposals coming from Eastern Europe and the low Project Preparation Facility (PPF) requests. Of the 43 projects approved, there are only 18 PPF requests so far and 13 of which come from international entities.

When the Status of the Initial Resource Mobilization Process came up, Zaheer, the Board Member from South Africa, questioned the consistency of the data presented by the secretariat and what was posted in the GCF website. This was particularly on the US’ contribution whereby USD 3 Billion is said to be their ‘signed contribution,’ but the data in the report of the secretariat says USD 500 Million signed and the rest will follow depending on the availability of funds. The BM from the US confirmed that the US have already paid USD 1 Billion and that the correct interpretation is that the US is committed to give USD 3 Billion, with an arrangement that is subject to the availability of funds. This issue is quite pressing because of the recent proclamation of US President Trump on having zero intentions of giving its remaining contribution to the GCF.

Other agenda items discussed briefly include:

  • Committee updates and reports
  • Report on the execution of administrative budget and 2016 financial statements
  • Issues related to the staffing of secretariat – where gender balance among staff members were raised and BMs pushed to have a Deputy Executive Director

​​CSOs in Songdo were also active in several meetings and consultations that happened in parallel to the formal Board Meeting (done during breaks or in between sessions). We will include a list of these meetings and a short description of what transpired in tomorrow's update. Comprehensive notes were ​however ​sent out in the list serve.

Report by Claire Miranda of APMDD
July 5, 2017

[This article is also published on APMDD’s FB page.]