At the UN climate negotiations in 2010, governments created the Green Climate Fund (GCF), a public institution to channel the billions of dollars needed to support developing countries in tackling climate change. If it is properly funded and strong human rights and environmental protections are applied, the GCF has enormous potential to have truly transformative impact. While the Fund continues to struggle to mobilize the money needed, the Board continues to design the rules and procedures for how the Fund will operate.
CIEL advocates for a rights-based approach to ensure that GCF activities do not contribute to human and environmental harms. This includes ensuring strong safeguards, accountability, and public participation, each of which are critical to protecting the lives and livelihoods of those affected by mitigation and adaptation activities. All too often, activities that are intended to solve one problem (climate change) result in other problems, threatening the human rights of those who stand their path. One such example is the conflict surrounding the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam – a registered project under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism – that threatens to displace hundreds of indigenous Ngöbe people from their traditional land.
On accountability, the GCF Board will create an independent redress mechanism, which provides a process by which individuals and communities can submit complaints about negative impacts of GCF operations. CIEL advocates that the GCF draw on the best practices of existing successful accountability mechanisms to include a problem-solving function, a compliance review function, and an advisory function. We are also working to ensure the scope of the mechanism expands to allow any person or group to be able to submit a complaint regarding the GFC’s activities.
There are changes needed to strengthen the GCF’s safeguard policies to make protections more specific and clear. Civil society must be included to establish safeguards and to participate throughout the operations of the GCF. Thus far, the GCF has failed to allow experts to sufficiently analyze decisions and develop proposals. CIEL seeks to encourage more transparency, like webcasting proceedings and open invitations to events.