Politics of Poverty

New UN Climate Fund: Who will sit on the Transitional Committee and why should we care?

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It’s important that countries that are strong voices for principles of fairness, transparency, country ownership, and accountability be at the table.

 Oxfam will monitor the establishment of the Fair Global Climate Fund.
Oxfam will continue to engage in the establishment of a fair global Climate Fund. Photo by Ainhoa Gomà/Oxfam
One of Oxfam International’s key priorities was achieved at the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) in Cancun with the establishment of a fair global Climate Fund (the Fund is called the “Green Climate Fund” in the COP decision text – more on why I struggle with that term in future posts).

It was agreed that the policies and operating guidelines of the Fund will be developed by a Transitional Committee due to report back to COP 17 in Durban, South Africa in December 2011. Members of the Transitional Committee (TransCom) have been nominated according to representation guidelines agreed in Cancun – with solid representation from developing country Parties – out of 40 total members, 15 are from developed countries and 25 from developing countries. Representation from developing countries breaks down regionally:

– 7 members from African states
– 7 members from Asian states
– 7 members from group of Latin American and Caribbean states (GRULAC)
– 2 members from Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
– 2 members from Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

Intel is starting to pour in regarding who will sit on the TransCom:

• It is likely that Bangladesh and Zambia will represent Least Developed Countries. In the negotiations, Bangladesh has demonstrated leadership on finance issues: pushing to ensure that climate finance is new and additional to existing overseas development assistance targets, highlighting the importance of adaptation funding for LDCs, and supporting gender equity language.

• Samoa and Barbados will represent Small Island Developing States. Barbados, in particular, has led on finance issues in the negotiations.

• Representatives for Africa will include the Democratic Republic of Congo (which chairs the Africa Group), Gabon, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, South Africa, Morocco and Egypt. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles co-chaired the UN High Level Advisory Group on Climate Finance, and South Africa is the host of the next COP.

• Three seats of the EU member states will likely go to the biggest donors, the UK, France, and Germany, with a mix of finance and development ministries at the table. There is talk of the European Commission holding a seat. If the EU gets a total of 8 seats (rumoured to be the case), one will likely go to Hungary or Poland since they are holding this year’s EU presidencies. Other countries vying for seats include: the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Spain, and Italy.

• From the umbrella group of countries (non-EU), there will likely be 6 seats available with the US definitely at the table.

Why does it matter who sits on the Transitional Committee (TransCom)? The TransCom will work out the policy and operational details for the Fund, essential to the fair and effective management and allocation of funds. Oxfam pushed hard for majority representation from developing countries and we were pleased to see that reflected in the Cancun decision. It’s important that countries that are strong voices for principles of fairness, transparency, country ownership, and accountability be at the table. Oxfam is pushing for civil society access to all meetings with non-voting representation on the TransCom.

I’ll keep you posted on the timing of the first TransCom meeting. We’ve heard that the first meeting will likely be held in mid-March in Mexico City.

Stay tuned for future blog posts including intel updates, “what to watch for” in the TransCom process, and what Oxfam wants to see happen in the lead up to COP 17 in Durban.

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