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December 2015 (Issue 5)

GCF Dispatch

A Roundup of News from the Green Climate Fund
December 2015 – Issue 5

GCF Dispatch is a short compilation of news related to the Green Climate Fund. The roundup is published periodically to keep partners up to speed on GCF activities — Board members, National Designated Authorities, Accredited Entities, contributors, civil society, and private sector actors. For more frequent updates, follow the Fund on Twitter at @GCF_News.

The Paris Agreement and GCF

The Paris Agreement is a visionary global commitment to respond to human-induced climate change by moving to a low-emission and climate-resilient future. The Agreement commits 195 countries to keep the increase in global average temperature rise well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.   

Countries have agreed that damaging greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions should be peaked as soon as possible and then rapidly reduce until societies reach carbon neutrality — a balance between emissions and removals by carbon sinks such as forests — in the second half of this century. 

This is a welcome agreement, and climate finance to developing countries is an important enabler of the Paris deal. It was agreed that, while every country should undertake ambitious efforts, developed countries will lead in providing the financial resources to assist developing countries both to mitigate their emissions and adapt to the damaging impacts of climate change. This implies scaling up for adaptation finance, currently estimated to make up only 16% of climate finance overall.

The Agreement states that finance flows are to be consistent with a pathway towards low GHG emissions and climate-resilient development. This means that climate finance will need to grow over time. While the Agreement does not put a figure on this, the decision behind the Agreement states that a new quantified goal will be set prior to 2025, above the current goal of reaching USD 100 billion per year by 2020. 

The Green Climate Fund has been designated as an operating entity under the financial mechanism that will serve the Agreement, which means that it will have an important responsibility to support implementation by the Parties to the Convention. 

The mandate from Paris furthers GCF’s duty to make a significant and ambitious contribution towards attaining the goals set by the international community to respond to climate change. The Fund was set up to play a significant role in channelling climate finance to developing countries; and, with about USD 10 billion equivalent of pledges from more than 40 contributors, GCF is starting to finance the climate action of the developing world. 

Also, the balance between mitigation and adaptation funding agreed in Paris is already one of GCF’s governing principles. 

The Agreement is a remarkable achievement that will require extraordinary efforts to be successfully implemented. The Fund is ready to play its part, serving the Agreement, supporting enhanced action prior to 2020, and promoting the transition to low-emission, climate-resilient development.

GCF at COP 21

The Fund staff participated in the Paris COP, using the opportunity to raise awareness about GCF progress to date and talk to representatives, from beneficiary and contributing countries to civil society and private sector stakeholders. 

Two side events were hosted by the Fund during the two-week conference. The first session focused on giving guidance on how to put together a good project and featured contributions from several developing countries that have had projects approved by the Fund’s Board in its first round of funding decisions last month.

The second session focused on the future of the Fund and how it could reach its high ambitions. The panel brought together the former Co-Chairs of the Board, Henrik Harboe and Gabriel Quijandria, with the new Co-Chairs, Ewen McDonald and Zaheer Fakir, and the Executive Director, Héla Cheikhrouhou.

Every day during COP 21, GCF hosted “GCF Talk at 6” – a more informal briefing session to share knowledge on how the Fund works. Fund staff ran discussion sessions on a wide range of issues, such as accreditation, country programming, and the role of NDAs.

GCF also introduced its Planet Passport in Paris, an awareness-raising initiative. The limited-edition passports proved popular with holders showing their interest to become climate advocates on planet earth. To showcase people’s commitment to the Fund, we created an Instagram account to generate social media interest in GCF.
ts have been signed with Guyana and DR Congo in recent weeks, as the Fund’s readiness programme accelerates. The agreements, each for USD 300,000, will provide support to these countries to help them prepare to access project funding from GCF in the future. Activities will include strengthening the countries’ NDAs and helping both countries develop national programmes on mitigation and adaptation action.

A total of 95 countries have expressed an interest in the readiness programme, and more than 30 readiness grants have been agreed to date.  

A minimum of 50% of readiness support is targeted at Least Developed Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS), and African States.

New Pledges and Pledge Conversions for GCF at the Paris COP

Two major agreements were signed during the Paris COP to convert pledges into usable resources. France converted its remaining pledge of EUR 342 million, bringing its total signed contribution to EUR 774 million. Canada converted its pledge of CAD 300 million into signed arrangements. 

Important progress was achieved with Spain during the COP, leading to the execution of its EUR 120 million contribution agreement shortly thereafter. With this, the GCF has now reached approximately USD 6.5 billion equivalent in signed contributions.

Several new pledges were also made to the Fund in the course of 2015 and during the Paris climate conference. The pledges received during the COP were as follows:

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo promised EUR 1 million for the Fund’s work and called upon other city mayors across the world to make contributions to GCF.

Norway pledged to double its initial USD 258 million contribution by 2020, provided the Fund can finance verified emissions reductions from deforestation.

There were new pledges from all three regions of Belgium, with the Walloon region pledging EUR 7 million, the Flemish region EUR 3.5 million, and Brussels Capital region EUR 500,000.

Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced a pledge of USD 1 million during his address to the Paris climate conference plenary.

The Bulgarian government has pledged USD 100,000.

The Fund continues to convert the received pledges into usable resources through signed agreements, and also remains open for new and additional contributions throughout the initial funding period of 2015-2018.

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