Civil society organizations want to invigorate the Green Climate Fund

(Photo: World Bank Out of
Climate Finance)

Some 115 non-governmental organizations have urged governments to “sunset” the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds and instead, redirect their reserves to the new Green Climate Fund established within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to make it fully functional as soon as possible, reported journalist Kanaga Raja, of the South-North Development Monitor (SUNS).

In a letter dated 19 April to governments that contributes to the Climate Investment Funds, the non-governmental organizations urged the international community to ensure that the Green Climate Fund is fully functional as soon as possible, and not to undermine this effort continuing the endowment of the World Bank’s funds.

Among the signatories to the letter are ActionAid, Bretton Woods Project, Christian Aid, Climate and Development Network (Africa), Coalición Clima España (Spain), several country chapters of Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace International, International Trade Union Confederation, Jubilee USA Network, Oxfam International, Sierra Club, and the Third World Network.

In their letter, the non-governmental organizations said that the Green Climate Fund (also known as the GCF) got underway with the Durban agreement signed by the Ministerial Conference of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“We are eager to see the GCF fully functional as the primary international climate fund operating in a timely, effective, equitable, transparent and environmentally sound manner. We believe that the GCF has the potential to make a marked shift in assisting developing countries in the fight against climate change, with important provisions on gender equity, national ownership by recipient countries, participation by civil society, and environmental and social safeguards,” they said.

However, they added, a significant hurdle remains: finding sufficient resources to capitalize the GCF as fast as possible.

“While it is true that the Green Climate Fund is not yet ready to receive substantial sums of money, the aim is for it to be fully operational in 2013. Thus, having funds pledged and delivered will be crucial to guaranteeing its early effectiveness,” the groups stressed.

“We are therefore writing to urge you to pivot away from provision of funds for the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds and similar initiatives under the multilateral development banks and to commit to redirecting these monies toward the Green Climate Fund,” the letter to governments said.

From the start, the non governmental organization letter noted, the Climate Investment Funds were designed to “sunset” and their authorities and member countries must “take necessary steps to conclude its operations once a new financial architecture is effective.”

The groups underscored that countries “should adhere to the sunset clause and actively support the GCF the primary international financial institution for climate finance. New contributions to the Climate Investment Funds could create a disincentive for the early operationalization of the GCF, encourage expansion of the Climate Investment Funds, and prolong their operation.”

In order to apply lessons learned from the Climate Investment Funds to the Green Climate Fund, the groups also urged a fully independent review of that World Bank’s branch's overall performance, as well as their programs and projects.

“To ensure that the assessment is truly independent, this review should be conducted by a board of experts not associated with the World Bank or regional development banks, including their own independent evaluation bodies.”

According to the non-governmental organizations’ letter, the review should focus on key areas that the Climate Investment Funds were intended to address, including:

■ How, in practice, country ownership has been implemented, whether projects were integrated into national strategies, and whether the Climate Investment Funds have been effective in engaging diverse stakeholders, including civil society and affected communities and populations, including women;

■ Whether projects were “transformational”, in particular the extent to which financing and engagement by the Climate Investment Funds measurably improved the ability of domestic policy and regulatory frameworks to put in place, implement, and scale up long-lasting mitigation and adaptation strategies and activities;

■ The extent to which the Climate Investment Funds have led to concrete sustainable development impacts for impoverished and marginalised communities, and contributed to building local economies, as well as an assessment of any negative environmental or social impacts;

■ The extent to which the Climate Investment Funds have leveraged truly additional investment from the private sector and an assessment of risk borne by the public sector; and

■ The extent to which transparency and accountability were guaranteed in implementation of projects and results.