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 / 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.
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?
News / 19 August 2021
After many years of advocating for strong environmental policies at international platforms such as the UN, Kenyan Violet Matiru asked herself: "How does all this lobbying trickle down to our communities? How does this help our mothers who are still struggling with fetching water and cooking on wood stoves?" This is when she and her colleagues founded MCDI Kenya (Millennium Community Development Initiatives) and started to work with local communities. We talked to her about the historical and current power imbalance in water governance and her efforts to improve water governance in the Athi River basin, that runs all the way from upstream of Nairobi, through the city, into the Indian Ocean.
News / 13 August 2021
The situation in the southwest delta of Bangladesh is critical. Because of sea level rise, floods are increasing and the area is about to become uninhabitable, despite Dutch-style dikes and polders built in the previous century. Partner organisation Uttaran works with local communities on climate-friendly solutions that restore the living environment and give the inhabitants a say about their future and food production.
News / 10 August 2021
As a response to the latest IPCC report, the directors of IUCN NL, Tropenbos International, Wetlands International, Both ENDS and the Institute for Environmental Security wrote an op-ed about the role nature policy can and should play in stopping climate change, which was published in Dutch in De Volkskrant of August 10, 2021. Below, you find the English translation of the article.
Letter / 5 August 2021
A joint CSO submission to the European Investment Bank, Standard 11 on intermediate finance in the Public consultation on the EIB Group's
16 civil society organisations including Both ENDS have written a letter of concern to the European Investment Bank about a newly proposed standard for the Bank its intermediate finance investing. Both ENDS contribution to the contents of the joint letter consists out of proposals for improvement of screening, scoping, due diligence, appraisal, monitoring and supervision of high-risk clients and sub-projects. through financial intermediaries and clear and mandatory social, environmental and human rights requirements for FI investing matters.
Letter / 5 August 2021
25 civil society organisations, including Both ENDS have submitted a comment on the overarching policy of the newly proposed Environmental and Social Framework of the EIB Group. The EIB has to undertake environmental, climate, social and human rights assessment and appraisal of proposed projects to inform the decision of financing and must not rely on a clients' self-assessment and reporting (solely). The Policy needs to state clearly what the due diligence, monitoring and reporting responisibilities for the EIB are, in particular regarding human rights and contractual clauses with clients should enshrine the standards in all EIB operations, enabling for suspension of contracts if the standards are not implemented.
News / 27 July 2021
In April 2021, the Dutch development bank FMO announced that it is no longer involved in the Barro Blanco project, a controversial dam in Panama. GENISA, the Panamanian company that built the dam, unexpectedly paid off the multi-million dollar loan early. The question is to what extent, now that the bank is no longer actively financing the project, FMO can still be held responsible for the damage and suffering that was caused when this was still the case.
News / 26 July 2021
Both ENDS, together with nine other parties has expressed their concern on the development of a new airport off the coast in Manila Bay, Philippines, where the Dutch company Royal Boskalis Westminster has been contracted for the land development. In a joint letter of concern, different organisations and stakeholders describe the alarming situation around this contested airport that will be built on newly reclaimed land.
News / 23 July 2021
The million-dollar loan that the Dutch development bank FMO provided to project developers of Honduran company DESA for the construction of the controversial Agua Zarca dam project in Honduras, may be related to gross corruption and malpractice. This is concluded in an article published today in the Dutch news paper Financieel Dagblad, based on information provided by COPINH, the indigenous organisation that has been opposing the construction of the dam for years. Several members of the organisation, including its leader Berta Cáceres, were murdered. DESA director David Castillo has recently been convicted of being involved in the assassination of Cáceres in 2016.