Green Climate Fund 16th Board Meeting, Songdo
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) held its first 2017 Board meeting in Songdo from 4-6th of April. The meeting was concluded approving eight new projects and programmes worth USD 755 million to support the most vulnerable countries to the adverse effects of climate change. This is the 16th Board meeting since the inception of the Fund.
The two co-chairs, Ewen McDonald (Australia) and Ayman Shasly (Saudi Arabia) deliberated with its 24 Board members (assisted by each members’ alternates). Other representatives who came to the GCF Secretariat included observers from civil society and private sector organizations, National Designated Authorities (NDAs), Accredited Entities (AEs), and the GCF Delivery Partners totaling over 250 participants.
All the projects and programmes approved by the Board did not come easily. For a quick background, a funding proposal is prepared and submitted for the scrutiny and processes required before it can be presented to the Board for further deliberation and approval. Comments and recommendations for improvements are provided not only by the Board but also other relevant actors including the civil society organizations.
In other words, the projects and programmes below have been approved by the Board although a few were not inclined to approving due to some reasonable flaws in the proposals.
- GEEREF NeXt programme financing renewable energy and efficiency for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, Non-European Union Eastern Europe / Central Asia, and the Pacific. The European Investment Bank (EIB) is supporting this project
- Renewable Energy Financing Framework programme in Egypt. This is supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
- Scaling up Hydropower Sector Climate Resilience project in Tajikistan. This is again will be supported by
- Simiyu Climate Resilience project in Tanzania, which will be supported by KfW development bank
- Irrigation Development and Adaptation of Irrigated Agriculture to Climate Change in Semi-Arid Morocco project. This will be supported by Agence Francaise de Development (AfD).
- Saïss Water Conservation project in Morocco. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will support the project.
- Tina River Hydropower Development Project in the Solomon Islands. The World Bank will support this project.
- Ground Water Recharge and Solar Micro Irrigation to Ensure Food Security and Enhance Resilience in Vulnerable Tribal Areas of Odisha in India. The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will support the project.
Budgets per Projects
USD 265 million – GEEREF NeXt
USD 154.7 million – Egypt
USD 50 million – Tajikistan
EUR 102.7 million – Tanzania
EUR 20 million – Semi-arid Morocco
EUR 31.97 million – Morocco
USD 86 million – Solomon Islands
USD 34.35 million – India (Odisha)
Observations and Civil Society Organizations Inputs
The active civil society organizations who were physically present and those who were following through video live feed of the proceedings were agreeable to all funding proposals except for one – the Tajikistan Project. Not because they do not want the country to have a GCF project but because the project proposal has some questionable aspects.
For example, CSOs pointed out relevant aspects presenting their views as the following:
- The project may deepen the over-dependence on business-as-usual hydro which is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change;
- It would not solve the country’s pressing energy need, which is the lock-in hydro;
- Building this (or rehabilitating old dam) is an obstacle that Tajikistan faces to receive alternative renewable energy and this will only eventually demand the construction of new large dams which are environmentally and socially hazardous;
- Due to the shrinking of the ice and snow that feeds the dam, the project will not be a sustainable solution to Tajikistan’s energy need;
- The proposal did not mention any consultation process with local inhabitants to solicit their views;
- It is not clear whether the project would benefit women in terms of increase access to electricity; and
- Large dams lack flexibility towards climate variation and are not suited to solving the long-term vulnerability conditions inherent to hydropower in Tajikistan
Despite the comments presented to the Board, the funding proposal for Tajikistan’s project was approved by the Board.
Among the nine proposals submitted to the Board members, only the proposal for Ethiopia (Responding to the increasing risk of drought: building the gender-responsive resilience of the most vulnerable communities) was not approved (nor either rejected) by the Board members. Some Board members and all CSOs are supportive of the project, but as the Co-chairs found no consensus among the Board Ewen McDonald, it is not approved.
While some Board members thought that the proposal lacks clarity and seem not well organized, among other reasons presented, the CSOs and some Board members, on the other hand, expressed that adaptation must be taken holistically that is why several activities are placed to address various aspects of vulnerability to climate change. Additional supporting statements say that the project aims to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities and it also includes Ethiopia’s gender and adaptation needs. Although the proposal has not been approved at this meeting, anything can happen to it based on the arguments put forward before the meeting ended.
Upcoming GCF Board Meetings
For the next 17th GCF meeting, the Board has agreed to hold the meeting in Songdo, Republic of Korea, on the 4-6th of July 2017.
For the 18th Board meeting, there were a number of countries that offered to host the meeting, such as Georgia, Namibia, Tonga, however, the Board decided and agreed to hold the meeting in the Arab Republic of Egypt. The 15th Board meeting was held last December on the Republic of Tonga.
See them here.