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
Event / 23 March 2023, 13:15 - 14:30
Making finance for gender just water and climate solutions a reality!
The UN Water Conference is an important event that brings together stakeholders from around the world to discuss water and climate solutions. This year, GAGGA is organizing a side event during the conference that you won't want to miss!
On Thursday March 23rd, from 1.15 -2.30 pm, GAGGA will present their commitment to support, finance, and promote locally rooted, gender just climate and water solutions within the Water Action Agenda. This event will inspire other stakeholders to join in their commitment, while presenting inspiring examples of such solutions presented by local women from Nepal, Kenya, Paraguay, Mexico, and Nigeria.
Event / 23 March 2023, 09:00 - 11:00
Towards just water governance in Colombia; a dialogue on the Transformative Water Pact
Online side event at the UN Water conference in New York
This event will present The Transformative Water Pact (TWP), an innovative framework for water governance that has been developed by environmental justice experts from around the world. The TWP will serve as a starting point for dialogue between representatives of the government of Colombia, academia, regional and international NGOs in relation to Colombia's current ambitions in multi-scalar water governance.
Publication / 21 March 2023
News / 21 March 2023
Agua es vida: Both ENDS and water governance
Water is literally life, the lifeblood of ecosystems, of nature, of humans. However, in many places the distribution and use of water is unjust and unsustainable. Water management is generally focused on short-term economic interests, on maximizing the profit of a well-connected few at the expense of people and nature. This dominant view of water and water management has its origins in the European industrial revolution, which became the global norm through colonialism and globalization. But according to Melvin van der Veen and Murtah Shannon, water experts at Both ENDS, this view will have to give way to equitable, sustainable and inclusive water management. Both ENDS cooperates with and supports communities and organisations worldwide who are working to this end.
Press release / 20 March 2023
A Transformative Water Pact : A radical response to the global water governance crisis
Academics and civil society representatives from around the world came together to articulate an alternative vision and framework for water governance, in the run-up to the UN Water Conference 2023 in New York. The Transformative Water Pact was developed in response to the continued exploitation of nature, neglect of human rights and the extreme power-imbalances that characterize contemporary water governance throughout the world. It details an alternative vision of water governance based on the tenets of environmental justice, equality and care.
Publication / 15 March 2023
Publication / 15 March 2023
Publication / 9 March 2023
Press release / 9 March 2023
Dutch Pension funds do not vote in line with climate ambitions
Most Dutch pension funds and their asset managers do not vote consistently in favour of climate resolutions at the oil and gas companies and banks in which they invest. That is the conclusion of a report published today by Both ENDS and Groen Pensioen. Eleven of the twelve* Dutch pension funds studied have made public statements and pledges about adapting their policies in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. But their voting behaviour does not sufficiently correspond with these pledges. Only pension fund PME votes for 100% in line with its own climate promises.
Publication / 9 March 2023
Event / 5 March 2023, 13:00
On Sunday March 5 Both ENDS will be joining the Feminist March (called Women's March before). It starts at 1 PM at De Dam in Amsterdam.
With our block "Feminists for Climate Justice" we'll gather in front of Madame Tussauds.
News / 4 March 2023
Op-ed: We can’t leave tackling the climate crisis to men
Make women and gender equality a priority in climate policy, wrote Rebecca Heuvelmans (Women Engage for a Common Future), Marjon Melissen (ActionAid), Esin Erdogan (Simavi), Annelieke Douma (Both Ends) and Eva Lia Colombo (Wo=men Dutch Gender Platform) in Dutch newspaper Trouw. Sunday March 5, they'll join the Feminist March in Amsterdam.
Event / 2 March 2023, 14:00 - 15:30
Inclusive finance for land governance: A conversation with donors
Both ENDS and the Land Portal Foundation invite you to the fourth webinar in the Whose Land? Inclusive Pathways to Land Governance series. This fourth Whose Land? webinar will focus on the question: How can donors fund land governance initiatives through an inclusive process?
More information about this event is available on Landportal.org
Letter / 28 February 2023
175 CSOs call on world leaders to end OECD export finance for oil and gas
This joint position launched by 175 civil society organisations from 45 countries calls on world leaders to end OECD export finance for oil and gas, and explains how it can be done.
News / 20 February 2023
Almost 60 organisations send a letter about fossil export support to Dutch Parliament
Today, a letter, undersigned by almost 60 organisations from countries that face the consequences of fossil fuel projects or stand in solidarity, has been sent to the Dutch Members of Parliament. This Thursday, a debate about the export credit facility and the policies around it, will take place in the Dutch Parliament. The coalition calls upon Dutch politicians and policy makers to stand up against any form of export support for fossil fuel projects that are to be executed by Dutch companies abroad, expecially in the global South.
Letter / 20 February 2023
Letter of international CSO's to Dutch Parliament: close gaps in Dutch policy on limiting public finance to fossil fuels
In October 2022, the Dutch government published a policy to implement the COP26 statement in which it promised to stop public finance for fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022 . The proposed policy, unfortunately, has quite some 'loopholes' that make it possible for the Dutch government to keep supporting large fossil projects abroad for at least another year. These projects often run for years and will have a negative impact on the countries where they take place for decades to come.
News / 6 February 2023
Op-ed: Dutch construction project in the Philippines shows that voluntary corporate social responsibility doesn’t work
This op-ed was published in Dutch newspaper Trouw on the 3rd of February this year
Abuses committed during the construction of an airport in the Philippines show the urgent need for legislation on corporate social responsibility here in the Netherlands, say Murtah Shannon of Both ENDS and Maartje Hilterman of IUCN NL on behalf of a coalition of Dutch and Philippine organisations.
News / 5 February 2023
Using Philanthropy, Advocacy and More to Shift Power
(This interview was published on January 18th in Inside Philantrophy)
Most people in philanthropy don't enter the sector because they have dreams of working in a financial institution. But that's exactly what they're doing. The philanthropic sector as we know it today was deliberately designed by the robber barons of the early 19th century as a response to extreme wealth inequality they created through exploitative labor practices in the oil, steel and shipping industries. Whether to genuinely make amends for the harms they created or to engage in reputation washing, the industrialists cornered the market on philanthropy, guarding against legal challenges to its tax shelter functionality and curtailing regulatory legislation that could induce democratic decision-making. Today, the value of philanthropy stands at about $2.3 trillion, which is 3% of the global economy.
News / 10 January 2023
In Memoriam: Irene Dankelman
With pain in our hearts we say farewell to Irene Dankelman. She was pioneer in the field of gender and environment and one of the founders of Both ENDS.
Video / 31 December 2022
Let's work together towards a green, just and healthy 2023!
At Both ENDS, we were happy to finally be able to meet many of our partners again in 2022. Although digital meetings are here to stay, they will never beat a live encounter every once in a while where we get to know each other's contexts, learn from each other and motivate and inspire one another.
But be it live or online, together we will work towards a green, just and healthy 2023!