Many developing country board members were not happy about the lack of consultation when the B20 agenda was drafted by the co-chairs.

Green Climate Fund

Note: If you recall in our Update 1, many developing country board members were not happy about the lack of consultation when the B20 agenda was drafted by the co-chairs. There were different ideas in terms of:

Hello again!

Day 2 of the Board Meeting started a bit late again with the Co-Chair presenting the proposed agenda that was revised based on comments from Day 1.

Note: If you recall in our Update 1, many developing country board members were not happy about the lack of consultation when the B20 agenda was drafted by the co-chairs. There were different ideas in terms of:

  1. flow and sequence
  2. items missing in the agenda which should be included and
  3. items which can/should instead be scheduled in the next meeting.

The first day ended with no formal adoption of the agenda

The Board then proceeded to discuss the revised agenda presented by the Co-Chair. The revised agenda was still met with many questions from several developing country Board Members. For example, Omar El-Arini, BM from Egypt, asked why the Selection of Trustee and the Fund’s Programmatic Approach were still not included in the agenda. Jorge Ferrer, BM from Cuba, said that the gender policy need not be prioritized and discussed at the B20 meeting as there is an existing gender policy and instead the Board should give more time to discuss the matter of the Fund’s Trustee. Several Board members from developing countries reiterated their dissatisfaction about the lack of proper consultation in the period leading to B20, and that the agenda debate could have been avoided if proper consultations were done. Ayman Shasly, BM from Saudi Arabia was very strong in his reiteration on the lack of consultation, the lack of response to queries and suggestions made to the Co-chairs, and said that this is what caused the current situation in the Board. He reiterated his assurance of corrective measures so this situation will be avoided in future events, and demanded again that a paragraph on proper consultation be added to the decision regarding the matter of conducting the meeting with just one Co-Chair that was initially approved the previous day. It was eventually agreed for this para to be included in that decision – the text of which would be presented later in the day for proper adoption.

The debate took an ugly turn when several developed country BMs insisted on proceeding with the meeting and said among other things, that it was a problem of developing countries constituency and should be solved within the developing country constituency instead of discussing it in the full Board meeting. Lars, the alternate Board Member from Sweden said that the debate was a waste of precious time especially in the light of the urgency of addressing climate change. Others expressed similar views. These comments provoked very strong reactions from several developing country BMs. They insisted that non-consultation of the agenda is a very serious matter that the whole Board should be concerned about, and that consultation with Board members is a responsibility of both Co-Chairs and not just to their specific constituencies. They repeated their reminder that the agenda is not merely a technical or procedural discussion. The BM from Egypt, said he is offended by comments that suggest they are the ones causing the delay, when ultimately it could have been avoided if the Co-Chairs consulted properly. He reiterated that he had written to both Co-Chairs about the agenda prior to the meeting, and both of them had not responded. Zaheer Fakir, BM from South Africa reminded the Board that the matter is important, which can take days to discuss if necessary, because as Board Members to the Fund they are mandated to follow the rules of procedure, show best practice and good governance. Omar further added that the Board is a Board of equals and that he will not tolerate the lack of respect shown by developed country Board members, and that they do not need to be lectured. Ayman reiterated many of his earlier points and expressed his criticism of the Co-Chair on how the whole thing is being handled. The counter-response from developed country Board members Geoffrey Okamoto, BM from US said that he sits in many Boards, that this is his first encounter with this kind of a situation, and that the GCF board is becoming dysfunctional and toxic. Similar comments were expressed by a few other developed country Board Members.

In view of the escalating exchanges, a recess was called again and the Board resumed at nearly 4:00 pm.

At the resumption of the meeting in the afternoon, another set of documents were distributed – 1 of the documents was the latest revised version of the agenda, and the other document was the decision on proceeding with one Co-Chair which also included the paragraph on consultations. After a few exchanges, the Board adopted both documents.

Text of the decision on the Co-Chair and Consultation, with the last para proposed by Ayman, Board Member from Saudi Arabia:

“The Board notes that the Co-Chair from developing country Parties is unable to attend the 20th meeting of the Board;

Acknowledges that the Board, having received no nomination, is unable to elect another Board member from developing country Party to assume the functions of the Co-Chair for the duration of the meeting;

Agrees, notwithstanding paragraph B and Section 4.2 of the Rules of Procedure of the Board, and in light of the exceptional circumstances and without setting a precedent, that the Co-Chair from developed country Parties shall discharge the duties of both Co-Chairs for the duration of the 20th meeting of the board only, and that in doing so, he shall, in accordance with paragraph 10 of the Rules of Procedure of the Board, be guided by the best interests of the Fund, and

Requests the Co-Chairs to consult with members of the Board and alternate members of the Board on the matters relating to the preparations for the 21st meeting of the Board.”

The adoption of the two documents was followed by the discussion of the Board using the adopted revised agenda.

Howard Bamsey, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, presenting the Report of the Activities of the Secretariat, which includes the events and activities undertaken of the Secretariat in the last 12 months, and the 2018 workflow. The report notes growth in the Fund’s portfolio, increased fund disbursements by $100M, and improvements in readiness approvals as well as the country and entity work programmes. The GCF Executive Director also shared the increased interest from various countries in GCF engagement, and that in-country support is still needed.

Appreciation of the work of the Secretariat were evident from the Board Members comments. Many were happy about the initiatives to reach out to countries in the form of regional Structured Dialogues, webinars and conference calls. They also agree that stronger engagement with Direct Access Entities remains to be very relevant. At some point, the GCF Executive Director mentioned that these activities require lots of resources and the Secretariat may not be able to do as many Structured Dialogues in the future. He shared that the Secretariat is exploring other options like piggy-backing the events with other international events to minimize travel costs, and setting up GCF regional offices with minimal staff embedded in an office of an international entity.

By half past 5:00 in the afternoon, the Report of the Activities of the Co-Chairs was on the table. But the chair Lennart Bage, declared to end the meeting at exactly 6:00PM because a reception dinner is scheduled for the observers, so he warned the Board that the session may be cut short and will be continued the next day. This allowed only one intervention from the Ayman Shasly, BM from Saudi Arabia, who raised the issue of non-consultation of the co-chairs once again. He stated that there were meetings and consultations convened by one of the co-chairs without the knowledge of the rest of the Board members, and he thinks such moves are a misuse of funds. He also raised the issue of Argentina filing a case to the IRM for a project, and the IRM recommended to raise it to the Board, but the information never reached the Board Members. The chair was not able to respond as Ayman’s intervention took up all the time left.

So at exactly 6:00PM the board adjourns Day 2 with all major agenda items like replenishment, funding proposals, and accreditation, among others still not discussed.

By: APMDD TEAM in Songdo
2 July 2018, Songdo, South Korea

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