Opening Statement of Climate Justice Now! (CJN) during the 2nd Transitional Committee Meeting
Thank you Chairman. My name is Manny Calonzo and I am with Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives. We are a member of Climate Justice Now! – a global network of movements and organizations committed to the fight for social, ecological and gender justice.
We would like to thank the co-chairs and the secretariat for distributing this meeting's materials on the website. This is a good first step toward an inclusive design process; still, better transparency is needed if the work of the Transitional Committee is to be seen by the world as legitimate. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) has to be transformational not only in how it raises resources and what it funds but also in the way it engages with and accounts to communities globally.
Its funding must be adequate, predictable, new, and additional to fulfill its task of financing low-carbon, climate-resilient development and stabilizing the climate.This is a global public good for which public budgetary contributions should form the core of the Fund's resources; at least half of its funds must be allocated for adaptation in the form of grants to rectify the current global funding imbalance between mitigation and adaptation, and 'direct access' to the GCF should directly benefit communities in the Global South instead of the usual aid-industry insiders.
We all know that the global public need in 2020 will be far greater than $100 billion, and that those who owe a 'climate debt' in the historically industrialized countries should be contributing many times more, if they take seriously the mandate 'polluter pays'. Therefore, the entirety of the $100 billion in the GCF should be public funds; private sector resources, especially from the carbon markets, should not be counted towards the $100 billion benchmark. The carbon markets have proven themselves volatile, ineffectual, fraud-ridden, and destructive to affected environments and communities. The GCF should not seek to further develop carbon markets nor rely on inflows from them.
Many of the financial instruments currently proposed are the same risky instruments that have contributed to the destabilization of the global financial system.The GCF cannot afford to gamble with the global public good of climate stabilization.The GCF should not devote scarce public funds to underwriting the risks of venture capitalists and corporations. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) risk saddling Southern countries with higher infrastructure costs than public, direct access grants. In particular, the GCF should clearly reject the creation of complex public-private "investment" funds that could become a vehicle for financial speculators.
Indeed, we fear that the emphasis on the private sector has become an unwarranted fixation. We heard yesterday that the private sector requires a regulatory framework and enabling environment rather than financial incentives from the GCF. This is best done at the national level where it can be integrated into national strategies. The GCF should not prioritize leveraging private sector finance at the international level but rather devote scarce public funds to important programs and projects that are not amenable to private-sector investment.The private sector does have an important role, however, in providing tax revenue to support climate action.
All GCF activities must respect human rights and follow strict environmental, social and gender guidelines.The GCF should ensure coherence with other UN treaties including the Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Basel Ban Amendment and others, This will require adherence to standards which exceed current best practices. For example, the GCF should avoid the use of financial intermediaries, whose use has undermined MDB's safeguard policies and the many 'false solutions' to the climate crisis (such as nuclear, biotechnological engineering and biofuels, nanotechnology, carbon capture and storage, timber plantation sinks and the like).
A key question is the role of international institutions in the new fund, and in particular, the World Bank and the regional development banks. A letter sent to each of you from people affected by the World Bank's practices outlines why an institution that is undemocratic, exacerbates indebtedness, and continues to massively finance fossil fuels should not have a role in a fund to fight climate change.
We are pleased to see a consensus emerging in favor of a legal personality, which we believe essential to ensure direct access. With only a few short months until Durban, it is crucial that the Transitional Committee agree on this and other fundamental features of the Green Climate Fund.We would also strongly emphasize that it is simply wrong for any party to make progress on the GCF conditional on other areas of the UNFCCC negotiations.
Alongside substantial, binding emissions cuts, the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund in Durban will be a signal that industrialized countries are ready to start fulfilling their obligations under the Framework Convention.It is fitting that this decision should come in Africa.The continent that has contributed the least to climate change is probably the one worst affected.But there are many ways that the GCF will harm Africa and the entire Global South, if major changes in the fund's revenue-raising and spending design are not immediately rectified.
Thank you very much and we wish the Transitional Committee a very meaningful meeting.