|Civil Society Wants Bigger Role in Green Climate Fund Planning
|Thursday, 14 March 2013 11:51
Impacts include severe flooding, as the Caribbean island nation Dominica experienced in 2011. Credit: Desmond Brown/IPS.The Green Climate Fund is expected to channel some 100 billion dollars a year to help developing countries counter and adapt to climate change.
WASHINGTON, Mar 12 2013 (IPS) - As the new board of the United Nations Green Climate Fund meets in Berlin this week, activist and watchdog groups here and around the world are expressing frustration over proposed rules they say are already significantly limiting civil society participation in the new initiative.
The fund, created in 2010 under the auspices of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is eventually expected to channel some 100 billion dollars a year to help developing countries counter and adapt to climate change. Yet because it has no fundraising capability itself, the source of that money has yet to be decided upon.
In weeklong meetings this week, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) board members are slated to engage in critical discussions on that funding model. This will include the role that private sector financing is expected to play, an issue that has divided developed and developing countries.
Decisions taken at the Green Climate Fund board are central to how the needs of climate vulnerable communities will be met, so it is essential that their deliberations are open and transparent,” Janet Redman, co-director of the Sustainable Energy and Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies, a Washington think tank, said Tuesday.
“At this point it seems the board wants to limit public participation, access and voice. That would be a huge step backward.”
On Tuesday, 73 international civil society organisations sent the GCF’s leadership an open letter decrying a lack of rules conducive to their “meaningful” participation.
“The active and engaged participation of civil society at the Board and country level is essential for creating an effective, equitable and environmentally sound Fund that can be responsive to the differentiated needs of men and women, minorities and indigenous peoples increasingly impacted by climate change,” the letter states.
The signatories urge the fund to build on the experiences of other international funds “rather than permitting a retreat to operations that are less transparent and accountable, as is currently the case”.
Among broad policy recommendations and potential procedural tweaks, the letter pushes for a system of permanent observers allowed to participate in all meetings and the broadcasting of board proceedings on the Internet. The signatories also suggest a process by which to accredit stakeholders and “sufficient financial resources … to support their effective participation”.
“I would be pleasantly surprised if the GCF board started to view civil society as valuable partners in shaping the GCF into a 21st century institution based on science and equity, but I’m not going to hold my breath,” Karen Orenstein, a Washington-based campaigner with Friends of the Earth U.S., a watchdog group, told IPS from Berlin.
Developing countries have keenly watched the development of the GCF. In mid-February, a joint statement from ministers of Brazil, China, India and South Africa urged the prioritisation of the “early and meaningful operationalisation” of the fund.
Yet thus far, progress has been slow. Last year, South Korea agreed to host the institution’s secretariat, and a 24-member executive board has been named, comprising equal numbers of representatives from developed and developing countries.
But so far, significant funding has been notably lacking.
When the fund was set up, developed countries promised 30 billion dollars as starter capital. According to a February statement by Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, however, only around seven billion dollars of that has so far come in, undoubtedly affected in part by austerity concerns in Europe, the United States and elsewhere.
While advocates are hoping this week to lay a progressive conceptual basis for the funding discussion, the board’s discussion on an overall model for the GCF is expected to stretch until at least September.
source : http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/03/civil-society-wants-bigger-role-in-green-climate-fund-planning/
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