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 / 4 June 2021
FMO's new position statement on fossil fuel investments commits to ending new direct finance in the downstream and midstream coal and oil sectors, whilst still allowing for investments in gas-fired electricity generation under exceptional circumstances only. Both ENDS welcomes this development as a step in the right direction.
News / 28 May 2021
"Historical verdict", "unique decision", "landslide victory". Superlatives flew to our ears in the media yesterday, when it became clear that the judge ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by the year 2030. For the plaintiffs, including Both ENDS, the verdict is very hopeful, as it was for many co-plaintiffs and citizens interested in this court case.
News / 27 May 2021
During the formation of a new Dutch government after the general elections in March, a group of concerned citizens is holding a wake in front of the Prime Minister's residence to remind the political leaders of the climate crisis. On Friday May 28, they will pay attention to the international aspect, initiated by Cordaid, Oxfam Novib, Care, ActionAid, WECF, Hivos and Tearfund. Both ENDS is happy to support the initiative.
Press release / 26 May 2021
The Hague, 26 May 2021 - For the first time in history, a judge has held a corporation liable for causing dangerous climate change. Today, as a result of legal action brought by Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) together with 17,000 co-plaintiffs and six other organisations (ActionAid Netherlands, Both ENDS, Fossil Free Netherlands, Greenpeace Netherlands, Young Friends of The Earth Netherlands and the Wadden Sea Association) the court in The Hague ruled that Shell must reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% within 10 years. This historic verdict has enormous consequences for Shell and other big polluters globally.
Press release / 19 May 2021
Amsterdam, 19 May 2021 – On 25 March, a day after violent attacks in northern Mozambique, the Dutch state decided to provide dredging company Van Oord with export credit insurance worth 900 million euros for its activities in the country. The company is conducting dredging operations for a highly controversial gas project that, according to Mozambican interest groups, is playing a prominent role in the escalating violence in the region. Civil society organisations Both ENDS, Milieudefensie and Oil Change International and their Mozambican partners are alarmed about the situation and have called the Dutch government and Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB to account.
News / 10 May 2021
As of May 10th, Both ENDS officially resides in this beautiful building in the centre of Utrecht. In the coming months, we will still work from home for the most part, and at the same time set up the office in such a way that we can work there when it is responsible to do so.
News / 6 May 2021
Yesterday unexpectedly our Wetlands without Border programme suffered a tragic loss with the sudden passing of our dear colleague and friend Elias Dias Peña of Sobrevivencia, Paraguay.
News / 4 May 2021
Today, two independent experts brought out a legal opinion on the obligations of countries and their export credit agencies under international law in relation to export support for fossil fuels. According to the report, emissions by fossil fuels and the related infrastructure need to be reduced urgently.
News / 3 May 2021
Recently, Dutch media covered the publication of a new report, issued by WWF, stating the big role the Netherlands still has in global deforestation, mainly due to our soy and palm oil imports. To counter this alarming message, Paul Wolvekamp and Tamara Mohr wrote an op-ed about the possibilities the Netherlands has to change the tide, which was published in Dutch on the website Joop.nl. Below, you find the English translation.
Publication / 22 April 2021
News / 15 April 2021
On Wednesday, April 14, seven countries, including the Netherlands, launched an initiative called Export Finance for Future (E3F), in which they set a number of ambitions with regard to phasing out export support for the fossil sector. Many NGOs worldwide, including Both ENDS in the Netherlands, have been calling for such an initiative in recent years and we are therefore pleased with this step. However, to achieve results and contribute to the Paris climate goals, countries will have to commit to much more ambitious goals than those now set. Concerned civil society organizations, including Both ENDS, therefore prepared a statement detailing the weaknesses they felt in the policy proposed by E3F, supplemented with recommendations for improvements.
News / 1 April 2021
Both ENDS is shocked by the dramatic news in the past days coming from Palma, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique. Our thoughts go to those who lost their lives or who are still missing, and their loved ones. Both ENDS is in close contact with our local partners to support them wherever we can. Many people are still missing, among whom members of farmers union UPC.
News / 22 March 2021
An increasing number of stakeholders in the Dutch water sector are acknowledging the importance of an inclusive approach to climate adaptation. However, where our knowledge institutes and companies are involved in delta plans and master plans, as in Bangladesh and the Philippines, this approach is proving difficult to apply in practice. Taking local realities, vulnerabilities and inequalities – such as those between men and women – as a starting point is essential for good plans that give everyone the opportunity to adapt to climate change.
News / 15 March 2021
In 2015, the United Nations instigated the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These seventeen interrelated goals are intended to result, by 2030, in a better, fairer and more sustainable world in which no one is left behind. As a member of the UN, the Netherlands is committed to promote the SDGs and every year Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and the central government publish reports on the progress made. The initiators of 'SDG Spotlight Nederland' however believe that there is a need for an annual report on the Netherlands' performance on specific SDGs from a different perspective. Fiona Dragstra and Stefan Schuller of Both ENDS contributed to the report on 2020 and tell us here why they think it is so important.
News / 14 March 2021
A number of our colleagues at Both ENDS made a lot of noise at various locations around the country today, as part of the national Klimaatalarm (Climate Alarm) campaign. Annelieke Douma gave a short speech in Haarlem on the major role played by the Netherlands in climate change and environmental degradation beyond our borders. She made a number of suggestions that would immediately make Dutch foreign policy a lot more climate-friendly. Below is the text of her speech.
News / 8 March 2021
On International Women's Day (March 8th) the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) will launch the "We, Women are Water" campaign to highlight women's role, demands and actions in ensuring water security in the face of climate change.
News / 2 March 2021
Today it is 5 years ago that Berta Cáceres was shot in haar home in La Esperanza, Honduras, for defending the rights of indigenous people. The leader of indigenous organisation COPINH resisted the Agua-Zarca hydropower dam that was planned to be build in indigenous territory. The actual murderers have been convicted, but not so the intellectual authors of the murders.
Blog / 16 February 2021
The Netherlands can contribute much to making agriculture sustainable – nationally and internationally
If the Netherlands wants to make its agriculture and livestock industry sustainable and to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their products, it will also have to look beyond its own borders. The Netherlands is the world's second largest exporter of agricultural products. We have a great impact because, through our trade relations, we uphold a system of intensive agriculture that destroys ecosystems and undermines local production. Partly due to our trade in agricultural products, the Dutch economy is has a large, and growing, footprint. That should and can be different: the Netherlands is in a good position to lead the required transition in agriculture. Fortunately, the party manifestos for the coming elections offer sufficient opportunities to set that in motion. A new coalition can thus take decisive new steps.
Press release / 10 February 2021
The Dutch development bank FMO is not sufficiently transparent about the projects it finances and is therefore acting contrary to its mandate. This is evident from a new report published by the International Accountability Project (IAP) and the Foundation for the Development of Sustainable Policies (FUNDEPS), endorsed by 28 organizations including Both ENDS, SOMO, and Oxfam Novib. The research assesses FMO's disclosure and access to information practices for investments proposed between January 1, 2019, and May 31, 2020. Only in 25% of the cases was it disclosed what potential negative consequences an investment by FMO would have for people and the environment.
Blog / 2 February 2021By Eva Schmitz
Last week the Netherlands hosted the Climate Adaptation Summit in which world leaders discussed the need to adapt to the rapidly changing climate. While this is without doubt an incredibly urgent matter, I think it is of equal importance that the world's leaders also keep their promises on climate change mitigation measures and the protection of the remaining intact ecosystems. The Covid-19 pandemic has once again showed us that healthy and intact wildlife habitats and ecosystems are vital to the survival of our societies.