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FEATURE: Transitional Committee takes stock of the Green Climate Fund

The second meeting of the Green Climate Fund’s Transitional Committee took place in Tokyo, Japan, from 13-14 July 2011. The meeting was preceded by a day-long workshop, which I helped organise as well as moderate, on lessons learnt from experiences of existing international funds and institutions. The funds we looked at included the Global Environment Facility , (GEF), the Montreal Protocol Fund , the UNFCCC’s Adaptation Fund, the World Bank’s Climate Resilient Investment Fund (CIF) and the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA) .

We assessed them against three crucial indicators: their governance structure and institutional arrangements; business models; and how the funds are accessed. To evaluate their performance, we invited presentations on these funds by a panel of civil society organisations including Oxfam, the World Resources Institute and the Heinrich Boell Foundation. We also sent invitations to a broad range of private sector representatives, but unfortunately, the private sector did not respond as enthusiastically as we had expected.

The workshop shed light on some important elements of existing funds. One, the private sector and government are not talking to one another, but rather among themselves. While the Transitional Committee (TC) needs to improve our outreach – I and my co-facilitator from Australia, Ewen Macdonald, have already drafted an outreach plan – there is also a need for the private sector to come forward and speak to us. Put simply, as it currently stands the private sector is talking only to the private sector. Tokyo was a missed opportunity for them to engage with the TC.

The Committee as a whole later agreed to our outreach strategy for the private sector. We will reach out to them more aggressively in all regions and parts of the world. We need to find how we can make use of the private sector to complement what we are doing. In order to engage fully with this sector, we are planning to hold regional meetings in Manila, Lagos, Nairobi and in Latin America and Europe in the months to come.

The second important finding of this meeting was that the whole funding system needs to be reviewed. If the Green Climate Fund is going to be just another fund, with every other funding mechanism related to climate change staying the same, we will not do justice to our mandate. If we are to meet the challenge of reducing global emissions, massive adaptation needs, and keeping global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius, we have to change the way we do business.

The third finding was that the Green Climate Fund must have an international legal personality; an entity that can enter into contract directly with different states along the lines of the Kyoto Protocol, the Adaptation Fund and the Global HIV Fund. The Global Environment Facility’s presentation made this point very strongly.

The meeting that followed the workshop was very productive. There was a strong realisation that the TC must move fast and consolidate its work for the December CoP in South Africa. We have to finish the task we have set out for ourselves. The TC mandated the Chairs, the Vice-Chairs and the Co-Facilitators to develop a consolidated document for our third meeting in September in Geneva. This document will form the basis for the Durban CoP 17.

We took many lessons from the Tokyo meeting, and we now have to move fast to prepare the outline and structure of the consolidating document. Hopefully, with strong cooperation from civil society – which is very deeply engaged in these issues – and the potentially crucial contribution of the private sector, we will find ourselves in good shape in the coming months.

Farrukh Iqbal Khan is the lead negotiator for Pakistan on climate change. He is currently a member of the Transitional Committee of the Green Climate Fund and is serving as a counsellor to the Pakistani Mission in New York.

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