Blog / 27 June 2013

Polemics and shifting goal posts

Polemics and shifting goal posts

The weight of buzz words

There was good prose, analysis and literature in the back and forth. While Mr. Dasgupta counted the number of times the terms “paradigm shift” and “transformation” were mentioned in the base documents prepared for this meeting, the Co-Chair, Mr. Zaheer of South-Africa brought to the attention that it was not about counting the number of times a word was mentioned but that words weighed something… and warned that the Board has to deliver results and not to be stuck on the vision.


'Triple transformation'

To make things heavier and academic, a new concept of ‘a triple transformation’ was proposed by Farrukh Iqbal Khan from Pakistan. Triple transformation as in 1: policy transformation: which means climate action 2: transformation in resource mobilisation for climate action (nationally and internationally) and 3: institutional transformation (incl. enhanced direct access, increased ownership. According to Mr. Khan,  we need this triple transformation to lead to a paradigm shift.



What was happening here the first day was an elaborated orchestrated song and dance on polemics and shifting the goal posts – probably for a good cause. The private sector and a few others had come to Sondgo (so it seems) to get business done and over with. The third GCF meeting in Berlin was more process; this was going to be surgical strikes and bullets. But that is not going to happen. There are too many important role players and stakeholders and right holders who wish to see the GCF is their signature, in their form, in their world.What happens to the thousands of poor people in India who eke out a living and are affected by climate change for no fault of theirs! Their livelihoods is hardly a patch on the planet – but then calculations reveal that a huge population of poor people who eke out – add up to a sizeable count that increase GHG and create a problem.


Everyone is saving their own skin

Now, here in Songdo we have to see the problem and challenges from all sides. Historical and contemporary. Or else it will be an ongoing process of argument and then the private sector can have their cake and eat it too! This is all too familiar. Win-win, lose-lose, win-lose, lose-win, all are at the table – each Board member  finally has to defend their national country priorities and strategic interests, the private sector their commercial interest and viability, and the CSOs their stakeholders and the whole world they represent – the invisible, the voiceless, who are still happy even if the earth boils over by a few centigrade. They will adjust and take life in their strides. We will go on to another terminal building – be it a hotel room or a meeting, with wifi!


Pratim Roy works with Keystone, India. Together with Leonie Wezendonk from Both ENDS he is present on the fourth Board Meeting of the Green Climate Fund, which is being held from 25-28 June in Songdo, Korea. He shares his experience of the first day with us.

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