The dust has settled on a frenetic two weeks in the Sharm el-Sheikh sunshine and already the countdown has started to COP28, being held in the United Arab Emirates in 2023.
Looking back at Egypt and what was achieved in the negotiation rooms, pavilion halls and meeting spaces, the sheer volume of events and activities that took place over the two weeks is striking. GCF took part in 359 engagements at COP27, along with countless informal meetings held in and around the corridors and negotiation rooms.
Much of the media attention was focused on the news which came through in the early hours of Sunday that agreement had been reached on a new mechanism on loss and damage, hailed as historic after being long sought by developing nations. However, there were other takeaways from COP27.
COP guidance to GCF
As a main operating entity under the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), GCF takes guidance from the Conference of Parties (COP) on its policies, programming priorities and eligibility criteria.
The Fund therefore plays a key role at COP and draws significant political, public and media interest. Details of GCF’s report to COP27 as well as guidance received can be found here.
In addition to sharing progress on GCF’s programming and operations, undertaking strategic engagements and building support for the upcoming second replenishment of the Fund, COP27 represented an invaluable opportunity to listen – particularly to the developing nations GCF was set up to serve and to hear how the Fund can continue to meet their needs for transformative climate action. The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan reflects the necessity of GCF with a paragraph that “Takes note of the report on the determination of the needs of developing country Parties related to implementing the Convention and the Paris Agreement and in this context urges developed country Parties to provide resources for the second replenishment of the Green Climate Fund…”
GCF and partner events
One of the key platforms for listening and informing future action were the events that took place at the joint GCF-GEF pavilion space. The Fund held 18 events – 14 at the pavilion as well as an official side event and others.
On November 10, GCF staged its Official Side Event with High-Level Dialogue. The aim of the event - The Climate Finance Architecture we need to Deliver on the Paris Agreement: partnerships and perspectives – was to bring together global leaders to discuss what is needed from the climate finance system to realise the climate goals of developing nations.
The first part of the event was a High-Level Dialogue - The Future Architecture of Climate Finance Needed to Deliver on Paris. Chaired by GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec, the segment featured H.E. Mr. Philip Edward Davis, Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas; Anne Beathe Tvinnereim, Minister of International Development, Norway and Jennifer Morgan, State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action, Federal Republic of Germany.
The talk took place in a ‘Davos Style’ format – meaning speakers are not told in advance what the questions will be. The event drew a healthy audience to hear the thoughts of the panel on the future of climate finance and how GCF can play its part in driving change.
Other key events with GCF participation included:
On November 8, GCF participated in the High-Level side event, Investing in the Future of Energy: Green Hydrogen High-Level Round Table. The session focused on the status of Hydrogen, the expected scenarios of hydrogen scale-up towards a clean hydrogen economy, as well as the current and future energy policies. The event was attended by Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, President of Egypt; Olaf Scholz, Chancellor of Germany; Alexander de Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium; Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the EU Commission; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec and other speakers.
Also on November 8, the GCF event Blue Co: The blue economy co-investment platform was held at the pavilion, bringing together high-level stakeholders to discuss the importance of sustainable oceans in the context of climate change and showcase “Blue Co”, a transformative co-investment platform that GCF has been leading on the blue economy.
On November 9, finance took centre stage on Finance Day. GCF and the Government of Egypt announced that Egypt will be the first country to adopt a Climate Investment Plan – a move which could significantly accelerate efforts by Egypt to combat climate change by unlocking new investment.
The event was attended by Egyptian Prime Minister Dr Mostafa Madbouly along with the country’s Environment Minister, Dr Yasmine Fouad. The event also heard from Odile Renaud-Basso, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, Minister of Environment, Rwanda and Yannick Glemarec.
On November 10, GCF staged Accelerating Climate Innovation, looking at ways of using financial tools and instruments in innovative and targeted ways to rapidly scale up access to finance for climate action in developing nations.
As a testament to the cooperation on complementarity and coherence between GCF and GEF, the two organisations held a joint event on November 12, GEF-GCF Scaling up the Great Green Wall initiative (GGW), that gave an opportunity for GGW partners to present their progress made on climate action in the GGW and for GCF to affirm its commitment to GGW through supporting projects across GGW countries.
November 14 saw the Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group of GCF hold its first event at COP27, with a discussion where members shared their experiences, challenges and concerns as well as their vision for strengthening partnerships between indigenous peoples, governments and GCF Accredited Entities. This topic was also touched upon at a CSO-led event, Strengthening stakeholder participation and safeguards implementation, on November 16 that explored the engagement of civil society, gender groups and Indigenous Peoples in implementing GCF policies, strategies and investment activities.
COP was also an opportunity for GCF to hold open consultation sessions with partners at the pavilion, which included an interactive consultation on GCF’s emerging programming direction in the update of GCF’s Strategic Plan for the second replenishment and a consultation on the revision of GCF's Readiness Strategy and how the Fund can better support developing countries’ climate ambitions.
Full details of all GCF organised events across the two-weeks of COP27 can be found on the event website.
An announcement was also made at COP27 that GCF in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Global Dairy Platform (GDP) approved USD 3.5 million of project preparation funding to support the development of a regional public-private livestock sector programme for Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with GCF’s contribution comprising a USD 1.1 million grant. The announcement was made at the COP27 Global Methane Pledge Ministerial co-hosted by US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, and Executive Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans.
In addition, the Blue-Green Investment Corporation (BGIC), the first green bank in the Caribbean, was also approved by GCF to receive support from the Fund’s Project Preparation Facility, a major step in the development of this initiative. Pegasus Capital Advisors will be GCF’s Accredited Entity for the BGIC PPF and Funding Proposal.
Full details of all announcements made by GCF at COP27 can be found on the news section of the GCF website.
COP27 provided an invaluable opportunity for GCF to engage with media partners from across the world. Leaders and spokespeople gave interviews to news media including Reuters, Bloomberg, Radio France Internationale, The Wall Street Journal, Devex, La Repubblica and others. GCF was also active across its social media channels, garnering tens of thousands of engagements.
Road to COP28
The UNFCCC have announced that COP28 will take place from 30 November to 12 December 2023 in the United Arab Emirates. With inflation continuing to run high in many countries, as well as ongoing concerns over energy and food security and the continuing conflict in Ukraine, maintaining focus and momentum on climate action can be challenging. Expectations will be high for COP28, particularly from developing nations who continue to bear the brunt of climate change. As GCF enters its second replenishment (the process through which donors pledge to recapitalise the fund and put fresh capital on the table for climate action in developing nations), a strong replenishment of the Fund would send a powerful signal that developing nations are not being forgotten amidst competing and interrelated global crises.