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December 2016 (Issue 8)

GCF Dispatch

A Roundup of News from the Green Climate Fund
December 2016

GCF Dispatch is a short compilation of news related to the Fund. This roundup is published periodically to keep our partners up to speed on GCF activities. For more frequent updates, follow the Fund on Twitter at @GCF_News.

2016 – GCF expands role in global climate response

The Green Climate Fund has achieved significant milestones in 2016, its first year of full operations. At its most recent meeting in Samoa in December, the Board approved eight new funding proposals and accredited seven new partner organizations to work with GCF in the future. This means the Fund has committed more than USD 1.3 billion to funding proposals in this year alone, with a total value of more than USD 4 billion. You can learn more about the composition of GCF’s project in our online portfolio.

GCF is striving to fund improved climate capacities in developing countries as swiftly as possible, while also ensuring funding decisions comply with fiscal responsibility and environmental and social safeguards.

Underlying all GCF Board decisions is the guidance provided by the United Nations, through the Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  Regular COP guidance acts as GCF’s beacon, providing advice and direction.

At the most recent UN Climate Conference, held in Marrakech in November, governments expressed their gratitude to the Fund for the progress made in 2016. They also provided guidance on how GCF should progress its mandate in 2017.
The Marrakech climate change meeting demonstrated yet again the growing interest in the work of the Fund. A myriad of partners, corporate entities and government stakeholders visited the GCF Dome at COP 22 to interact with staff and to provide feedback. This advice is invaluable as we improve and fine tune our processes to enhance our role as a reliable partner in the global response to climate change. Impressions from the Marrakech COP can be found here

Also at the COP, outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized in his message that the Green Climate Fund is making progress in deploying its initial capital of USD 10 billion. “Finance and investment hold the key to achieving low-emissions and resilient societies,” he said. He also reminded the global financial community that “prices, investment portfolios and market indices cannot keep ignoring the health of our planet.” These views were echoed in statements by heads of state and government representatives addressing this UN conference.
During the past two Board meetings, GCF has been served by the guidance of its interim leader Javier Manzanares. Javier has facilitated the transition for the arrival of GCF’s new Executive Director, Howard Bamsey, who will take office on 10 January 2017.

In the meantime, we would like to extend our wholehearted greetings at the end of 2016 to all our partners, GCF advocates and friends, while anticipating and appreciating your continued commitment to the Green Climate Fund in 2017.

B.15 goes Pacific

The 15th Board meeting of the Fund approved USD 315 million in new funding and accredited seven new entities. This particular gathering was not just important for the progress it made in funding climate initiatives – it was the first Board meeting to be held in the Pacific.

Meeting host Samoa is one of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) on the frontline of climate change effects. SIDS’ vulnerability to a warming planet were brought into pictorial relief by the mural, Warm Waters, prepared by photographer Vlad Sokhin at the Board meeting venue in Apia.

GCF Board Co-Chair Ewen McDonald (Australia) hailed the gathering as the largest climate finance meeting ever held in the region. He also pointed out that fellow Pacific SIDS Fiji will co-host the next UN Climate Conference at the end of 2017. If you have missed the Board’s deliberations in Samoa, you can watch the B.15 video recordings on the GCF website, along with photographic impressions from the meeting.  

The next GCF Board meeting (B.16) will be held from 4 to 6 April 2017 at our Headquarters in Songdo, Republic of Korea.

Thank you South Africa, Welcome Saudi Arabia!

The 15th Board meeting decided that Ewen McDonald will stay on as Board Co-Chair. Fellow Board Co-Chair Zaheer Fakir (South Africa), who completes his year-long appointment, said he was proud of the results GCF achieved during 2016.

Mr. Fakir will be succeeded by Mr. Ayman Shasly (Saudi Arabia), who has been a senior UNFCCC negotiator representing his country since 2011. Ayman also has more than 25 years of experience in the private sector, mainly in energy supply, investment, and portfolio management.

Get to know your Board members and find out about the stakeholders they represent. 

Funding is flowing, resources are being disbursed

In other recent GCF news, the Fund has approved ‘Funded Activity Agreements’ (FAAs) with two of its partnering Accredited Entities. FAAs are significant as they represent the final stages of converting Board-level decisions about projects and programmes to getting financial resources to climate initiatives on the ground.

In its second FAA to date, GCF has signed an agreement with the Namibian Environmental Investment Fund (EIF) to help low-income farmers in northern Namibia by providing them with greater access to climate-resilient agriculture and renewable energy.

The other FAA, also finalized during the Samoa Board meeting, was with the Peruvian Trust Fund for National Parks and Protected Areas (Profonanpe) for a mixed mitigation and adaptation project stemming deforestation in Peru’s Amazon basin.

GCF forges closer ties with partnering bodies

In other signs of increasing moves to mobilize climate finance, GCF recently concluded Accreditation Master Agreements (AMA) with three of its partnering entities, with United Nations Environment, with Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), as well as with XacBank in Mongolia. The latter is the first commercial bank direct access private entity to sign an AMA with the Fund.
Last month at the COP in Marrakech, the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) became the first multilateral development bank to sign its AMA with GCF, giving the go-ahead to partner on low-emissions and climate-resilient development projects in Latin America. 
Accreditation Master Agreements are the central instrument setting out the basic terms and conditions for GCF partner organizations to work together in disbursing GCF resources. In total, 17 accredited entities have now signed Accreditation Master Agreements with GCF.

Regional meeting brings Latin America into focus

Just days before we held our Board meeting in the Pacific, GCF hosted its first regional workshop for Latin American countries. More than 80 participants attended the three-day workshop, held in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa, at the end of November. The interactive event provided guidance on how to access GCF resources and acted as an ideal forum for countries to share their experiences in furthering climate initiatives.

GCF helps countries get ready for funding

Included in the COP’s most recent guidance to GCF was a request to increase the amount of direct access proposals from developing countries to tap the Fund’s climate finance. Heeding this call from the COP, GCF concluded four new Readiness Framework Agreements with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with UN Environment, with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as well as with GIZ.

These agreements allow the four organizations to assist developing countries improve their engagement with GCF through readiness support. More information about this development can be found here.

Strengthening accountability

Following from its commitment to ethical and efficient operations, GCF has set up three independent units to monitor its performance and follow up on any signs of irregular practice.

The Independent Integrity Unit investigates allegations of fraud and corruption. Ibrahim Pam, formerly with the African Development Bank, was recently appointed to head the Unit.

Lalanath de Silva, previously with the Sri Lankan Law Commission, now heads the Independent Redress Mechanism following his recent appointment by the Board. This unit responds to complaints from people and communities that may be directly affected by GCF-funded activities.

The Terms of Referemce (ToR) of GCF’s Independent Redress Mechanism are currently being reviewed and will be considered by the Board at its 16th meeting in April. The IRM review is open and being undertaken in a consultative process. Any individual or organization may send a submission before 20 January 2017.

The head of GCF’s Independent Evaluation Unit will be recruited shortly. This function will periodically evaluate the Fund’s performance and identify and disseminate lessons learned.

Governments grant Privileges and Immunities status to GCF

The Government of the Independent State of Samoa has joined other countries in signing an agreement with the Fund to provide GCF with Privileges and Immunities. The immunities granted are in line with those of other international organizations and those applied in the United Nations system.

To date, nine nations have granted Privileges and Immunities status to GCF. Four of these countries belong to the group of Pacific Small Island Developing States (SIDS), including Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Independent State of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.

The Executive Director a.i. of the Secretariat, Mr. Javier Manzanares said the granting of Privileges and Immunities is highly important for the effective operationalization of the Fund’s investments. Pursuant to a decision by the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, governments recommended that countries enter bilateral agreements with GCF by promptly providing Privileges and Immunities.

GCF rolls out new tool to help Accreditation self-assessment

If your organization is considering whether to channel funding from GCF, please visit our online pathway to assess whether your entity is fit for accreditation. Our revised Accreditation Self-Assessment Tool uses a series of questions to allow potential applicants to check whether their organization is ready to start the accreditation process of the Fund. Check out the tool here.

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