By Easter Canoy
It’s my second time to observe, among the other civil society organisations, a board meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The first Board Meeting I witnessed was the meeting held in Berlin, about three months ago. Our purpose of coming to this Board meeting in Songdo, Korea, as Philippine civil society representatives, is to ensure that the GCF operates according to its vision. This vision is articulated in the GCF’s Governing Instrument to ensure that it follow the principles of fair, direct and equitable access for its intended beneficiaries, which are especially communities in the least developing countries that are adversely affected by the climate crisis.
Freedom of speech?
The challenge in operationalising the GCF is formidable – one that has never been set up before. The GCF will have to navigate with its own compass, its own course charted by the wisdom and guidance of its 24board members. Two Civil Society Organisations (CSO’s) representatives are theoretically permitted to intervene in precious 5-minute slots, allowing us to express concerns during every agenda item. But in practice, the CSO’s do not get to intervene with each agenda point, since the Board Members are prioritised.
Where will the money come from?
The meeting in Songdo has interesting episodes of disagreements, leveling-off sessions or prolonged discussions. Many issues are being discussed: the business model framework like private sector facilities; access modalities in grants and loan concessions; the use of financial intermediaries; the organisational structure; performance indicators and independent evaluation; and country ownership and accreditation procedures. Meanwhile, the topic on resource mobilisation is set aside, giving a gnawing feeling of absence of financial resources rather than abundance. And calling the GCF a “fund”, like most global funding, already triggered high expectations, especially on the progress of realising its mandate.
Hope amidst the cloudy days
Running on a treadmill, the GCF Board works hard to finish its pioneering tasks while preparing to hand over the workload to Secretariat, now headed by the Board’s first executive director. Simultaneous with the period of waiting is the nagging reality of onslaught disasters, which are reaching catastrophic scale. Take for example the tsunamis coming in various forms: in the sea (that hit Aceh and India), in the highlands (the cloud burst creating great floods in the Himalayans and in the Philippines), and the air strikes (like the haze in Singapore from Indonesia). Still, there is great hope amidst the cloudy days.
(Easter Canoy is the executive director of the Kitanglad Integrated NGOs. This article is also published at http://www.bothends.org/en/News/Weblog/weblog/27/weblogmessage/139/Great-hope-amidst-the-cloudy-days)