In Bali, build a Fund you can be proud of
In Bali, build a Fund you can be proud of
This is the meeting where the Board will discuss:
• Country ownership (of activities funded by the GCF);
• The composition of National Designated Authorities and focal points (the two bodies currently envisaged at the national level, in addition to the funding entities mentioned below);
• Options for country coordination and multi-stakeholder engagement (very important – governments can’t fight climate change on their own); and
• Additional modalities that further enhance direct access, including through funding entities (quite literally, last but not least, for herein lies transformational change – explored in more detail in the previous blog, here).
In brief, the Board will be talking about how the GCF will interface with countries, and what sort of national architecture will be needed for countries to access GCF funds. This may be a good time, therefore, to deconstruct some of those (development jargon-laden) topics listed above, and explore their interactions.
What, for instance, do we mean by country ownership? The World Bank defines it as “sufficient political support within a country to implement its developmental strategy, including the projects, programs, and policies for which external partners provide assistance.”
Wrong answer! This definition could apply equally to external partners deciding what’s to be done, and governments then selling that plan ex post to the country (“line ministries, parliament, sub-national governments, civil society organizations, and private sector groups”).
The 2011 Busan Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation takes the definition of country ownership somewhat out of the dark ages, taking forward the Paris Agreement on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Accord. It defines country ownership as “ownership of development priorities by developing countries…led by developing countries, implementing approaches that are tailored to country-specific situations and needs”. This definition is not just the result of developing countries pushing for more ownership – it is the result of a realisation by developed and developing countries, based on years of experience, that country ownership is an absolute pre-requisite for effectiveness, efficiency, and sustainability.
This definition of country ownership, applied meaningfully, would mean that decision-making on the activities that are to be funded should be taken in-country – through “enhanced direct access” and in-country (national) “funding entities”. Country ownership, moreover, does not stop at the government or national level – it implies the active engagement of the electorate, or multi-stakeholders. It means the use of existing country systems to the extent possible, instead of creating additional bodies that dance to a foreign tune. It means ownership across sectors, not just ownership by the environmental sector.
Developing countries have sometimes been afraid to explore beyond the surface of “country ownership”, sometimes claiming national sovereignty on the design of national processes, but in this instance they must. Country ownership costs time and money if it is to be done meaningfully – engaging stakeholders, not only in the planning phase but also through implementation and post-project/ programme sustainability; bolstering existing national systems to bear the additional burden; creating incentives for mainstream sectors to participate; and creating effective accountability systems, to prove to the local, national and international community that the funds have been used effectively. Adequate funding will have to be built in to allow for this – in the readiness phase, but also on a more sustained basis, to ensure that the results live out the duration of the activity. IFIs do not usually take these longer-term costs (or resulting benefits) into account.
Country ownership, multi-stakeholder engagement and enhanced direct access are therefore closely connected and should be discussed in connection with one another in Bali. Once the Board has explored the depths of its willingness to signal transformational change on each of these very important issues, it can address the issue of the institutional architecture that will be needed at the national level to implement this vision. Enough flexibility must be built in to the guidelines for each country to design the architecture to also suits national circumstances – as long as they meet certain prerequisites identified by the GCF Board. Ideally, this architecture should:
1. Build on existing national mechanisms that have been most successful in implementing local-level action through devolved governance and decentralisation, facilitating multi-stakeholder decision-making processes, and in cross-sectoral integration. For instance, Indonesia may choose to use the mechanisms it has in place for its National Program for Community Empowerment – the Program Nasional Pemberdayaan Masyarakat Mandirithe (PNPM). India may choose to build in an integral role for Panchayat Raj (local governance) institutions, as it has done in its broadly successful National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. The Philippines may choose to build upon its Climate Change Commission and Peoples Survival Fund. Creating a new architecture for the GCF comes with the following risks:
a. It will be designed only to suit the GCF/global requirements, and not national circumstances and needs.
b. It may not have the same relationship with the key sectors, that an existing home-grown mechanism/ body already has.
c. An existing mechanism is likely to be more sustainable in the long-run, rather than one that relies entirely on the GCF for its existence.
d. A mechanism for the GCF alone could end up creating a “climate finance silo”, by creating separate channels for climate finance at the national level.
2. The mechanism should ideally be designed to pool climate funds from different sources and contributors, to prevent in-country fragmentation, and to facilitate a consistent and simple process for access.
3. It should have high-level leadership, and buy-in from mainstream ministries and sectors. The default leadership in many countries – the environment ministries – simply do not have the clout to create buy-in for these mainstream sectors. It will be worth thinking about other incentives that can be created for engaging mainstream sectors.
4. It should be able to reach out to the sub-national/local level – not just to deliver funds that are already “tied”/ earmarked for centrally decided programmes, goals and activities, but also easily accessible funds that local communities can avail off, to address concerns they have identified. A strong role should be built in for responsive local governments.
5. The GCF should actively support community driven climate action, rather than simply community-based action that calls only for participation. Gender-responsive, transparent multi-stakeholder decision-making should be the goal at every stage.
6. There must be strong formal mechanisms for transparency, “top to down” accountability, and dispute settlement built in, through which local communities can question the decisions of the national mechanism/ body.
How will the currently mandated bodies of NDAs, NFEs and focal points fit into this national architecture? We think that will be a decision for the countries to take – as long as the basic standards set out by the GCF Board are satisfied, they should be able to identify an existing national level climate change commission or national climate fund as the NDA, if this is what works best from the point of view of national-level implementation. The in-country architecture cannot be designed only to suit the requirements of the Fund – it must also work from the point of view of effective implementation at the national and sub-national levels.
Read more about this subject
News / 22 November 2021
Export support – and especially that to fossil projects – has been in the spotlights quite often recently. This is a positive development, because the Netherlands alone provides fossil export support worth 1.5 billion euros per year. At the climate summit in Glasgow, the United Kingdom launched a statement promising to stop providing export support to fossil projects by the end of 2022. After having denied at first, the Netherlands decided to join the statement after all – which now has already been signed by nearly forty countries and financial institutions.
External link / 17 November 2021
Julio Bichehe Erneste of Farmers Union Cabo Delgado Mozambique (UPC) on a side event of COP26 in Glasgow, speaking about the negative impacts of export support for fossil fuel projects for local people and their enrironment, and about the need to support renewable energy projects instead.
News / 8 November 2021
Both ENDS and SOMO condemn violence against Indigenous community near the Barro Blanco dam in Panama
Members of the Indigenous Ngäbe Buglé people were brutally attacked by Panamanian police on Friday 29 October 2021 from a parcel of private land near the FMO-financed Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam. The victims, all members of the anti-dam movement M22, had peacefully occupied the land after their protest camp got dismantled in July this year.
News / 8 November 2021
Today, the Netherlands announced that it will join a leading group of countries, including the United States, Canada and Italy, which declared that they would stop international support for fossil energy projects. At the day of the launch of the declaration at the climate summit in Glasgow on the 4th of November, the Netherlands had no intention of joining, but because of pressure from civil society and political parties, the responsible ministries decided to sign after all. Both ENDS, together with organizations at home and abroad, has been pushing for this for years, and we are very happy with this step. We will of course continue to monitor developments.
Event / 6 November 2021, 13:00 - 15:00
This Saturday, November 6, people all over the world will take to the streets again to make a stand for the climate. In the Netherlands, the Climate March will take place in Amsterdam, and of course Both ENDS will join. We call on everyone who is concerned about the climate, to walk along with thousands of like-minded people and make this the largest Climate March in history!
Event / 4 November 2021, 16:45 - 18:00
UNFCCC COP 26 side event ‘Aligning export finance with the Paris Agreement: high time to phase out fossil fuels’
Many countries heavily support fossil fuel investments abroad through their export credit agency (ECA). This contributes to carbon lock- in, whereby companies or even countries commit themselves to a certain amount of greenhouse gas emissions for the lifetime of the infrastructure — oftentimes years or even decades. This seriously delays the transition to renewable energy sources, and is certainly not in line with Art. 2.1c of the Paris Agreement.
Highlighting the impacts caused by export finance in the global South, this side event will provide concrete recommendations to decarbonize export credit agencies.
Event / 4 November 2021, 13:15 - 14:30
With gender-responsiveness a work in progress, current climate funds are hardly accessible for women-led community based organizations. While these groups lack access to finance and decision-making, they already lead bold holistic gender-just climate solutions and initiatives worth funding support.
Follow this event live on YouTube!
Publication / 2 November 2021
External link / 31 October 2021
In this short video, Niels Hazekamp of Both ENDS talks about how the Netherlands stimulates projects related to the fossil sector abroad through its export credit agency (ECA) Atradius DSB. The ECA provides export credit insurance for very large-scale and high-risk activities abroad. About two thirds of this export support (worth around 1.5 billion euros per year) is going to the fossil fuel sector. Absurd, at a time when the whole world has to make the transition to sustainable energy. Our country should not support the fossil, but the renewable energy sector with such guarantees, and grab that chance of 1.5 billion!
Press release / 26 October 2021
Today, on the eve of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, the fossil fuel divest-invest movement released a new report that details how institutions representing an unprecedented total of EUR 33.7 trillion worth of assets have now committed to some form of fossil fuel divestment, a figure that's higher than the annual GDP of the United States and China combined.
Publication / 26 October 2021
Event / 25 October 2021, 14:30 - 18:00
News / 24 October 2021
On Friday October 22nd, six staff members of our partner organisation Africa Institute of Energy Governance (AFIEGO), including its director Dickens Kamugisha, were arrested in Kampala, Uganda. AFIEGO is one of four Ugandan organisations involved in several legal cases against the oil project, including the one against TotalEnergies in France and in the East African Court of Justice.
News / 15 October 2021
The Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB is not aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement; on behalf of the Dutch State, it continues to strongly support investments in fossil fuels. This is the conclusion of a report by German research agency Perspectives Climate Research (PCR), in which the export credit agencies of the Netherlands and Japan are measured in terms of their climate ambitions and alignment with the Paris Agreement.
Press release / 11 October 2021
New website shines a light on the extent of export credit agencies' support for fossil fuels
Each year governments provide tens of billions of dollars in financial support to fossil fuel projects via export credit agencies (ECAs). Today, 18 civil society groups from 14 countries are launching a new website to shine a spotlight on how ECAs are undermining global climate goals. In advance of the November UN climate conference, the organisations are calling on governments around the world to end public financial support for coal, oil and gas projects, including support from ECAs. Ending this support and redirecting financial resources to sustainable alternatives is essential for a just energy transition.
News / 30 September 2021
About 75% of Kenyans earn all or part of their income from the agriculture sector which accounts for 33% of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, agricultural productivity has stagnated in recent years. Various factors have contributed to low agricultural productivity, including an overall decline in soil fertility because of the continuous removal of nutrients by crops; poor farming practices; land degradation and overuse/misuse of synthetic fertilizers that acidify the soil. The solution against these problems is: agroecology.
News / 27 September 2021
In times of ecosystem degradation, deforestation and climate change, rural communities often struggle to make a living in a healthy and autonomous way. One of the solutions to counter their problems is Analog Forestry, a sustainable practice promoted by many of Both ENDS's partners. We spoke to Carolina Sorzano Lopez*, Analog Forestry trainer from Colombia for the International Analog Forestry Network (IAFN), and Luz Marina Valle*, a local Analog Forestry promotora in her community of El Jocote in Northern Nicaragua, to explain to us the advantages of Analog Forestry.
News / 17 September 2021
About one in every six people, particularly women, directly rely on forests for their lives and livelihoods, especially for food. This shows how important non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and forests are to ensure community resilience. Not only as a source of food, water and income, but also because of their cultural and spiritual meaning.
All around the world small-scale farmers are using sustainable and inclusive methods to produce food. Working together with nature and each other, they provide their families and communities with sufficient and healthy food. But their production methods are under pressure from large-scale agriculture and the globally dominant system of industrial food production. Together with our partners, Both ENDS is trying to turn the tide in favour of sustainable, local practices that are mostly known as 'agro-ecological' or 'nature-inclusive'. Why are we focusing on these methods, ? Agro-ecological practices are climate-proof and inclusive and increase the opportunities for communities around the world to produce their food sustainably.
Event / 23 August 2021, 13:00 - 14:00
What do we mean when we say the 'politics of water'? How are the distribution of water and the access to water influenced by political-economic interests? And who has the power to reverse the flow and change tides?