In this moment of intersecting crises, we must fund transformation, not the status quo. This is why WEDO engages in global advocacy around the Green Climate Fund (GCF), the biggest public fund dedicated to climate change. WEDO is part of an observer network that engages in the GCF, composed of Indigenous Peoples, civil society, and local communities from around the world. Through solidarity, coordination, and collaboration, this network works to collectively inform and influence the GCF’s policy and decision-making processes so that the voices of communities impacted by climate change are integrated into the operational modalities of the Fund.
From August 18th to the 21st, the GCF Board met virtually for its 26th Board Meeting.
At this meeting, the Board reviewed and approved fifteen funding proposals for over $800 million dollars, including two REDD+ results-based payment projects, as well as a proposal for two entities to become accredited to the GCF–and thus able to submit projects for funding–and another entity to upgrade its accreditation to be able to submit larger projects. The Board also discussed its operations, especially in light of COVID-19 and the scope for the GCF to provide support for resilient recovery from this pandemic and its related consequences, but in general, this meeting had a lighter agenda than a typical in-person meeting.
Key concerns among civil society were that funding proposals identified as higher risk were approved without significant conditions, including both REDD+ projects in Colombia (FP134) and Indonesia (FP130), as well as the “High Impact Programme for the Corporate Sector” (FP140), a $258 M private-sector project that spans seven countries. That several Board members expressed misgivings and suggested some projects should not set precedent was indeed the setting of a poor precedent, demonstrating the general proclivity for approving funding proposals rather than considering the issues raised.
While civil society entered this first virtual meeting of the Board having expressed concerns and recommendations for inclusivity and participation of not only civil society but all Board members, it was notable that several times the CSO Active Observer was not given the floor to give her intervention, prepared collectively by the GCF observer network, until after the agenda item had been resolved. This unfortunate procedure effectively silenced civil society as contributors to the Board’s decision-making, as it precluded any discussion among the Board that these interventions may have otherwise prompted prior to the decisions being taken.
One civil society success this Board Meeting was the fossil fuel-financier SMBC moving to defer its application to become an accredited entity. This withdrawal was likely in response to the public concern raised by 289 organizations from 69 countries that co-signed an open letter, led by the Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD). Civil society continues to remain diligent and concerned about how potential and already-accredited entities are failing to quickly align their entire portfolios with the Paris Agreement.
While you can read the official summary of the outcomes by the GCF, as well as watch the videos for any agenda item, a great entry point for understanding the dynamics of the Board meeting is the APMDD’s thorough daily “CSO Update” recaps by Claire Miranda, posted on the GCFWatch website: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4.
In WEDO’s guidebook, “The GCF: A Guide to Advocacy from a Women’s Rights Perspective,” available in French, Spanish, and English, you can check out more of our work and lessons learned from the GCF Gender Monitors.
To engage in the GCF observer network, which you can do as an advocate representing civil society, Indigenous Peoples, or local communities, contact one of two CSO Active Observers to the GCF:
Eileen Mairena Cunningham
Active Observer for CSOs – Developing countries constituency
Asociación Indígena Centro para la Autonomía y Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas (CADPI)
Active Observer for CSOs – Developed countries constituency
Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)