The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, in conjunction with the Pan African Parliament has expressed concern that the process of obtaining climate finance is unnecessarily complex.
Speaking during their second press conference in Bonn, Germany, PACJA’s secretary General Mr Mithika Mwenda said the process of accessing climate funds is becoming more complex, warning that it risks shutting out certain groups, including women.
“We are wondering why there is such complexity in obtaining funds from institutions such as the Green Climate Fund,” he posed.
He noted that as the GCF was being set up, civil society organisations had seen it as a democratic fund that would be easier to access that the World Bank, but this has so far not been the case.
He lamented that even after projects have been approved by the GCF, it still took up to two years for the funding to be made available, adding that the problem of climate change was an urgent one that demanded urgent action.
“We want the process to be made simpler and shorter to address the urgency of climate change,” he said, adding that the criterion for approval has been stingy and prolonged.
Mr Mwenda further expressed concern over the failed fulfillment of USD100 billion commitment that was supposed to be provided by developed country parties before the year 2020, adding that discussions on the new financial goal that would shape the implementation of the Paris Agreement have not yet begun.
“We urge the COP Presidency to initiate talks of the new finance goal here in Bonn to show the urgency of the matter. Also, the new finance goal should be beyond the floor of the pre-2020 commitment of USD 100 billion. The goal should reflect the scientific requirements and needs of African countries too, first and foremost, adapt, mitigate and cover loss and damage arising from climate change impacts,” read a statement by PACJA.
Regarding the Standing Committee on Finance, the team noted that they support the committee to prioritize mobilization of funds as a priority, adding that it must continue to play a key role in finance issues in the Paris Agreement era.
“We support the suggestion of having the alternate member during the SCF meetings so that they can fill in when the permanent member is not able to participate,” read the statement.
Civil society organisations have been encouraged to make their voices heard in the Green Climate Fund process to enhance the success of the fund.
Speaking during a side event organized by the German Watch, TEBTEBA, International Student Movement for the United Nations (ISMUN) and the Pan African Climate Change Alliance (PACJA), experts warned that the exclusion of CSOs in crucial meetings and process of the fund would compromise the fund’s effectiveness in achieving its set objectives.
Dr Curtis Doebbler, a representative from ISMUN highlighted the crucial role played by CSOs in project implementation, noting that in various World Bank-funded projects, CSOs have been instrumental in pointing out flaws in project design and implementation.
“Many times, it is the CSOs that have pointed out to the World Bank when a project has been more harmful than beneficial to the community,” he said.
Dr Doebbler noted that CSO participation in the GCF process is crucial, adding that it would be impossible to know what is needed at the community level without their participation.
He regretted that civil societies face a dearth of information on GCF processes before board meetings, noting that most of this information is technical and CSOs may lack the capacity to fully comprehend it before attending board meetings.
“There is a dearth of information for civil society regarding GCF processes before the board meeting so most times they go into these meetings without the documents. Even when they get these documents, they cannot understand them because most of them lack the capacity,” he said.
He lamented that the COP has not provided enough funding to CSOs to engage in these processes, adding that participating in these forums is an expensive affair.
“CSOs don’t have funding and are most times the poorest in the room during these meetings,” he quipped.
He noted that there are instruments that CSOs could use to enhance participation in the process such as Human Rights processes.
“I hope CSOs will look toward Human rights instruments to enhance participation because it needs enhancing for the success of the fund”, he said.
Speaking at the same forum, Julius Karanja, a project assistant at PACJA, said it was important for Civil Society Organisations to be involved from the very beginning of a project during project design.
Mr Kimaren Ole Riamit, the executive director of Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners (ILEPA), who also spoke at the side event, pointed out that indigenous people hold a wealth of knowledge that could provide solutions to the problem that is facing the world right now.
“We think of ourselves as custodians of Nature,” he said.
He lauded the fund for recognizing the need for indigenous people to engage but noted that the fund’s modalities make it impossible for indigenous people to participate or access funding.
“We need a robust consultative arrangement enabling indigenous people to engage in the GCF framework,” he remarked.
The Green Climate Fund is a fund that was established to assist in limiting greenhouse gas emissions by investing in low emission and climate-resilient development in developing countries and to help vulnerable societies adapt to climate change.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance in conjunction with CARE International on Wednesday (August 30th, 2017) organized a webinar to shed light on the engagement of civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Green Climate Fund Project that is currently being implemented in five African countries.
During the webinar, Sven Harmeling of CARE International stressed the importance for CSOs to understand how the project works saying: "There is limited knowledge on GCF and a need for better information flow from authorities in regard to this. Different stakeholders need to work together in preparing for GCF opportunities.”
Sven noted that there are opportunities to develop more proposals and act jointly across different countries through existing networks to build interest and engagement in the GCF project.
He explained that it is important to link all interested parties on the GCF platform to actively share experiences and knowledge to improve initiatives and learn from each other at national level between CSOs and governments
Speaking at the same time, Emmanuel Seck from Ghana briefed the meeting about a workshop in Abidjan that was held in May 26-28, 2017 and attended by 25 participants.
The meeting attendees recommended that existing knowledge and experience on GCF be shared among participants, adding that this provides an opportunity for participants to learn from each other.
They further recommended that there is need to build the capacity of CSOs to engage in the GCF project through national and international networking and increasing accreditation of CSOs to GCF for better advocacy and lobbying.
"There is a need for consultation with CSOs and local authorities to improve national dialogue and to improve the discussion with the private sector at the national level. Consolidating existing networks,” he noted.
Julius Ng’oma from ISONECC briefed the participants about a meeting organised in Malawi that he says was attended by Government, development partners, and CSOs.
He noted that his organisation has done capacity building for CSOs through a series of workshops on climate finance and specifically GCF.
Speaking in the same forum, Peter from CARE Ghana said that his organization has appointed two NIEs namely Eco Bank and a semi-autonomous public institution, adding that three proposals are in the pipeline.
“Processes and procedures are in place with a technical advisory committee present with different stakeholders’ representatives on it. Ghana has worked through an existing network of SDG 13 platform with involvement from all stakeholders. There are a number of ongoing meetings to discuss the GCF,” he said.
He explained that they noticed that sharing information improved stakeholder involvement, adding that it was challenging to find the best way to share the information and how to start dialogue with the government.
“Monitoring the government’s intention to spend GCF money and improving on how CSOs can access this money is of interest,” he noted.