Last week, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board met for its last meeting before the upcoming climate talks in Paris. Countries created the GCF to be the main global fund for climate finance, and as such, it could play a vital role in delivering the goals of an agreement in Paris. If the GCF is to be a key player in the future climate regime, it needs to show that it can effectively spend money. Is it up to the task?
Green Climate Fund
This is the first time the Board is faced with approving proposals for specific activities. Are these proposals ambitious enough? Do they contribute to a paradigm shift in developing countries? Or do they fall short?
We’re now halfway towards the 2020 deadline – set in 2009 – for developed countries to mobilize $100 billion a year in climate finance. It’s essential to show that developed countries are keeping their commitments so developing countries know they have support for ambitious action when countries meet to forge a new global climate agreement in Paris this December. So with five years to go, how close are we to $100 billion a year? And how could we get there?
France and the UK announced increases in the amount of climate finance they will be providing in the coming years. France committed to increase its climate finance by €2 billion a year (around US$2.25 billion) to deliver a total of €5 billion a year by 2020, and the UK announced it will provide £5.8 billion (around US$8.8 billion) from its foreign aid budget for climate finance between 2016 and 2021. The announcements came during the summit launching the Sustainable Development Goals and heads of state meeting at the UN General Assembly.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF), expected to become the main vehicle for securing and distributing finance, moved one step closer to disbursing funds this week. Its resources will support a range of activities that reduce emissions or foster resilience—such as installing renewable energy, helping farmers grow drought-resistant crops and reducing deforestation.
If you had an initial $10 billion in capital to fight climate change and boost resilience, how would you decide how to spend it? This is one of the key questions facing the Green Climate Fund Board at its ninth meeting in Songdo, South Korea this week.
Today, President Obama released his 2016 Budget Request outlining the administration’s spending plans for the coming fiscal year. The request includes $500 million in funding for the Green Climate Fund, and $230 million for the Climate Investment Funds. The budget allocation to the Green Climate Fund is part of the $3 billion pledge the U.S. made in November 2014, while $230 million requested for the Climate Investment Funds would complete a commitment made under the Bush Administration in 2008.
Today, at the international climate conference in Lima, Peru (COP20), the government of Belgium pledged to contribute more than 50 million Euros (around $62 million US) to the Green Climate Fund, edging the fund past its $10 billion goal for 2014. This is an important marker in making the Green Climate Fund operational.
Following is a statement by Athena Ballesteros, Finance Director, World Resources Institute:
Launched in 2014, the Green Climate Fund offers an ambitious platform for contributions and investments in climate mitigation and adaptation in the developing world. WRI worked with the GCF secretariat and Board and a large number of partners and stakeholders to help shape the Fund's structure.
Providing finance to support developing countries’ efforts to respond to a changing climate is a key challenge of the 21st century. To meet this challenge, it is essential to find new ways to raise funds and invest in projects that curb emissions and build resilience to the climate impacts that are already unavoidable.
WRI’s finance team has provided technical and analytical work to the GCF from inception in 2011 through launch in 2014. Unlike previous major multilateral climate funds, the Green Climate Fund has a broad base of contributors among both developed and developing countries. Its 24 Board members are balanced between developed and developing countries, and its administration is lean.
The Fund is designed to work through partners, such as national development banks and the World Bank. Private sector involvement is also central to the Fund, which has the flexibility to use innovative financial instruments to encourage private companies to help tackle climate change, thereby stretching GCF resources.
The WRI team has sought to support the GCF management and Board to help ensure that ambition and rigor were built in to GCF design, so the Fund can deliver value for money to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
As pledges of support flow in, the Fund’s investment framework lets it set priorities about how money can be invested for maximum impact. The Fund’s structure enables it to extend its reach through a wide array of partners, balanced between national and international institutions, while ensuring that all partners meet high fiduciary, environmental and social standards.
WASHINGTON— On November 20, 2014, countries held a pledging conference of the Green Climate Fund in Berlin – where countries announced their financial commitments to the Fund. These funds will be used to support vulnerable countries to respond to the mounting risks of climate change, and to reduce emissions that cause climate change.