The Politics of Poverty

Ideas and analysis from Oxfam America's policy experts

First UNFCCC Transitional Committee Meeting: What to watch for?

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This first meeting provides an opportunity for the Committee to lay out an efficient, yet ambitious workplan to design a new global Green Climate Fund.

The canvas for the new global Green Climate Fund has a few outlines on it – now comes the time to start really filling it in. The first meeting of the Transitional Committee to design the policies and operating guidelines for the Fund is being held this week (April 28-29) in Mexico City.

Since my last blog post on the Committee, its 40 members have finally been agreed: a process that lasted nearly three months longer than the UNFCCC deadline and that forced postponement of the first Committee meeting. It remains to be seen how this delay will impact the Committee’s timeline and workplan in the coming months before it is due to report back to COP 17 in December 2011. Oxfam believes it is still feasible – and urgent – for the Committee to reach agreement on key operating guidelines for the Fund so that it can be made fully operational by the end of the fast-start finance period in 2012.

Here are some themes that we are particularly focused on heading into this first Committee meeting:

Civil Society Participation in the Transitional Committee process: This is a central issue to address as the rules of engagement for civil society have not yet been agreed. Active civil society participation in the design process is essential to the effectiveness and legitimacy of the Fund. Civil society should be enabled to participate as active observers in the Committee – including the right for a certain number of representatives to regularly take the floor in meetings, propose agenda items, and participate in all drafting groups and full sessions.

Timing and organization of work: It is essential that the Committee agree and communicate a clear timeline for its work, including substantive political decisions on the Fund to be made at COP 17 in Durban. The workplan must specify that the Fund be designed and operationalized in time for first disbursements of finance to start no later than January 1, 2013 (when the current climate finance period, referred to as “fast start finance”, ends). This will ensure that poor, vulnerable communities have no gap in the support they need to respond to and prepare for climate change impacts.

Level of Ambition: By COP 17, the Committee must begin to address some of the key design principles of the Fund. The workplan agreed at this first meeting should seek to reach agreement by Durban on a vision for how the Fund will manage and disburse large sums of climate finance in a representative, equitable, accessible, accountable, transparent, and efficient manner. The new Fund should become a central locus for global management of funding for climate adaptation and mitigation and should allocate at least 50% of public finance towards adaptation in developing countries. Country ownership by developing countries should be central to this – putting developing countries in the driver’s seat and ensuring participation and accountability for civil society and communities in those countries.

Overall, this first meeting provides an opportunity for the Committee to lay out an efficient, yet ambitious, workplan that aims to design a new global Green Climate Fund that will fund adaptation and mitigation effectively and at scale, so protecting and improving the lives of millions of poor people.

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