A Green Climate Fund as if people and the planet mattered

What do climate-impacted communities in developing countries need from the GCF negotiations in Bali? A Southern Civil Society Statement issued at a media forum held this evening for the Indonesian press answers just that. 

No more deception! No more excuses! Climate Finance now!
A Green Climate Fund for People and Planet and not Private Profit! 

The delivery of climate finance for developing countries is one of the commitments and obligations of developed country governments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is one of the pillars of the Bali Road Map agreed during the UNFCCC Conference of Parties held here in Bali in December 2007.

Climate Finance is urgently needed to enable developing countries to deal with the impacts of climate change, build climate resilience, and shift to low carbon development pathways.

In November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines leaving more than 6,000 people dead, several million people displaced, and more than 879 million US dollars cost of damages to infrastructures and agriculture.[1] In January, heavy rains drenched a huge portion of Indonesia causing massive floods, deadly landslides and more than 40,000 displaced individuals. The total cost of damage is estimated at 80 million US dollars[2].  There is the prolonged drought in the Horn and East Africa, the freak phenomena of floods in Mozambique and the Somali Puntland Hurricane in November 2013 which killed around 300 people, and the climate change – induced natural resources scarcity in the savanna belt of Africa (e.g. Darfur) that is giving rise to conflicts and severe food crisis.[3]

The Board of the Green Climate Fund is now holding its sixth meeting at the Nusa Dua Convention Center in Bali, Indonesia.

The Green Climate Fund was established by the UNFCCC Conference on Parties to ensure that appropriate and adequate climate finance is delivered equitably and fairly to all developing countries, that funds are used responsibly and properly for adaptation and mitigation programmes, and that these programmes are designed and implemented by developing countries themselves with the participation of affected communities and sectors.

Important decisions are being made now and in the next few months, that will affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people of developing countries that are already suffering the terrible impacts of climate change and the billions more whose lives, livelihoods and futures are under grave threat.

We are gravely alarmed over the following developments in the processes and decisions now unfolding in the Green Climate Fund:

  • Despite their mandate and avowed commitment to ensure meaningful and effective involvement of civil society in GCF meetings and activities, the GCF Board and Secretariat have not adequately provided for the logistical requirements for this. For instance the Secretariat has outrightly refused to provide invitation letters for visa application of CSO representatives that have been accredited and registered to attend GCF Board meetings. The GCF Board is also failing to respect civil society processes of selecting its designated representatives to GCF committees and bodies such as the Private Sector Advisory Group, and has instead appointed “CSO representatives” without clear and transparent basis.
  • There is a clear bias among many members of the Board, especially those from developed countries, for developing the Private Sector Facility (PSF) of the GCF. Private sector financing is the preferred solution to climate change problems. It is also clear that by Private Sector – they mean big corporations and big capital. This bias is reflected in the papers prepared for Board approval.  The PSF will involve using public funds to finance private sector involvement in climate programs. They rationalize that public funds are limited and therefore it is best used for encouraging the private sector to invest in climate programs. Private sector involvement, from our experience, means the generation of profits as the primary driver of climate programs rather than the welfare of people and the environment.
  • There is a lot of talk about loans as a major instrument of the Green Climate Fund and current proposals include the type of loans that may end up with significant interest rates.  Such loans are contrary to the principle of climate finance as an obligation on the part of developed countries because of their responsibility for climate change. They caused the problem and are now asking the peoples of developing countries not only to pay for dealing with its impacts but to pay with interest.
  • Country ownership is supposedly one of the key principles of the Green Climate Fund but the papers dealing with Country Ownership and other topics in which it is deeply relevant such as Access, Eligibility, Approval Process and others, do not constitute a strong application of the principle but rather waters it down.  What is clear is the push for a powerful Secretariat of the Green Climate Fund.
  • The provisions for Socioeconomic, Gender and Environmental Safeguards, for Transparency and Accountability, for Multi-stakeholder Involvement contained in the papers for approval are incredibly weak and do not guarantee that informed community consent is a requirement for projects.

In addition to the alarming trends in the discussions and decisions around the Green Climate Fund, the biggest disappointment and injustice is the lack of commitment and actual delivery of funds since 2013 and in the foreseeable future. The pledge of “$100 billion dollars annually by the year 2020” remains ambiguous and uncertain. It has been three years since the amount was pledged in Cancun, but to this day, the money is still up in the air. There is observed shift of goal post and change of language from commitment to mobilization to help avoid their responsibility.

As members of the civil society and social movements from the South, we believe all these are unacceptable.

The GCF is a fund for our people.

  • We demand clear respect and recognition for country ownership, determined not by government agencies alone, but through robust public participation and consent in the formulation, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of climate responsive activities and financing.
  • We demand greater accountability and equity to be built into the GCF; structures, processes, consultations and participations, programs, finance and project cycles at the global, national and sub-national levels.
  • We demand the GCF to respect human rights and put the needs of ordinary people and those who are most vulnerable to the climate crisis, over and above the interests of private financers and corporations whose utmost concern is profit.
  • We urge the developed country governments to face up to their responsibilities for the climate crisis and carry out their obligations to the people of developing countries through tangible sufficient financial commitments to the GCF that are not through loans or debt creating instruments and not through financing of the private sector.
  • We have repeatedly lost thousands of lives, communities and livelihoods and we are still left with little means to build resilience and adapt to present and future impacts of climate change, much less to rebuild and recover from massive unavoidable losses and damages. We have contributed least to this crisis yet we are among the most affected.

We have had enough deception. We have had enough excuses. We demand climate finance now! We demand a Green Climate Fund that serves the welfare of people and planet and not private profit.

 

SIGNED:

 

Jubilee Asia Pacific Movement on Debt & Development

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance
Sudanese Environment Conservation Society
Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities
Freedom from Debt Coalition Philippines

WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia

The Ecological Society Philippines

Institute for Essential Services Reform Indonesia

Koalisi Anti Utang Indonesia

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice

SANLAKAS Philippines

Youth Against Debt Eastern Visayas Philippines

Aksi! for Gender, Social and Environmental Justice Indonesia

KRuHA Indonesia

IBON International

Sawit Watch Indonesia

Solidaritas Perempuan Indonesia

KK Warsi Indonesia

Ethiopian Consumer Society

Centre for Environmental Justice/Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka

Alyansa Tigil Mina Pilipinas

Partido ng Manggagawa Philippines

Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (AMA) Philippines

Third World Network

PENGON/Friends of the Earth Palestine

Friends of the Earth Ghana

Oilwatch Ghana

Manikaya Kauci Foundation Indonesia

 

19 February 2014

Bali, Indonesia



[1] Philippines National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, 2014

[2] Indonesia National Agency for Disaster Management, 2014

[3] UNEP Post Conflict Environmental Assessment

 

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