CSO Updates on the 32nd Green Climate Fund Board Meeting – Day 3

by Claire Miranda of APMDD – The Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development

Day 3 – 18 May 2022

The Board started Day 3 of B32 by discussing the Updated Work Plan for 2022–2023: Strategic Planning and Programming Matters for 2020-2023. As this item was initially discussed in Day 2 of B32 and further bilateral consultations were conducted by Co-Chairs towards reaching a consensus, the draft decision text presented was easily adopted by the Board.

The decisions adopted are as follows:

  • GCF Secretariat is tasked to present the findings of the Review of the GCF policy frameworks at B33.

  • Consultations will be done as part of the review and update of the GCF Updated Strategic Plan (USP). The Board notes that consultations be done in an open, inclusive and transparent manner that includes the active participation of the Board members, National Designated Authorities (NDAs), Active Observers (AOs), Observer Organizations, Parties to the United Nations Framework and Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Paris Agreement, members of the GCF panels and groups including the Indigenous Peoples’ Advisory Group (IPAG), and other GCF stakeholders. The GCF Secretariat will circulate a call for submissions, ensure engagement with NDAs and AEs on programming needs and opportunities, and produce summaries of inputs to be published in the GCF website.

  • The GCF Secretariat is tasked to present a review of the current USP and a proposed draft of a prospective USP, in B34. These should take into account the summary findings of the Second Performance Review (SPR) of the GCF, the findings of the GCF policy review, and inputs received through the consultation process.

  • The Board should decide on whether or not an update of the USP is necessary by B36.

  • The Co-Chairs are requested to prepare a draft decision for the Board to consider at B33 about the replenishment process, which is to be conducted in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner.

While there was a strong push back from developing country BMs in making the updated USP as a condition for the second GCF replenishment (GCF-2), the final decision text remains open. The Board may still decide to require an updated USP before commencing GCF-2, or it can proceed with the replenishment process without the updated USP.

This discussion was then followed by the Update of the Simplified Approval Process (SAP. As more bilateral consultations were conducted by the Co-Chairs after the initial Board discussion on this item, the Co-Chairs came up with a revised decision text for the Board to approve.

Below are the changes made in the updated SAP :

Old SAP

SAP Update

Amount Limit

USD 10 Million

USD 25 Million

Maximum Risk Category allowed for SAP Projects

Category C

Category C

Climate Rationale Standard for Adaptation Projects

Based on Secretariat and ITAP’s assessment

Based on unequivocal evidence and science from the IPCC, and local and traditional knowledge + other standards as laid out in the original SAP policy

Requirements, Steps, and Processes

Based on the initial SAP policy document approved in 2018

As laid out in the Updated SAP policy document (Annex II of decision text), approved this B32

Provision for Readiness and Preparatory Support

Provided for

Provided for

The decision text also instructed the Secretariat and the ITAP to review and further simplify the SAP process to ensure faster turnaround and approval of FPs under SAP. However, no timeline was provided on when the results of the review will be presented to the Board.

While the revised decision text was adopted by the Board, several BMs raised concerns and urged the Board to urgently address the issues around SAP.

Previous discussions have raised the idea of approving SAP projects through in-between Board Meetings (BBMs) for greater efficiency. While there was no strong objection to this proposal, many developed country BMs believe this proposal should be further discussed.

The BM from Antigua and Barbuda, on behalf of Small Island Developing States (SIDS), while not opposing the decision, expressed her frustrations and believed that the Board could have done more in determining concrete steps to further streamline and speed up the entire SAP process. She also reiterated the new SAP process as indicated in Annex II of the decision text, should not ask for more requirements than the original SAP and should not be more burdensome to AEs, to which BMs from Norway and the UK agreed.

Day 3 of B32 also closed the agenda item Consideration of accreditation proposals. Coming from offline consultations among Board Members, the applications for re-accreditation of the Korean Development Bank (KDB) and Conservation International (CI) were swiftly adopted. Taking into consideration the comments made by developed and developing countries in Day 1 regarding KDB’s application — where the developed countries proposed to include in the decision text a language recognizing KDB’s commitment to carbon neutrality/net-zero and the developing countries opposed to say such provision could set a precedent for making such commitments as conditions for re-accreditation — the co-chairs came up with a compromised text to take note of KDB’s effort to advance the purpose of the GCF including its climate finance framework, and omit the proposed language about carbon neutrality/net zero.

After not having been called twice, the Active Observer from developing country CSOs, Eileen Cunningham was finally called after the approval of KDB. The CSO intervention voiced the strong disappointment that the CSO intervention was not delivered alongside BM discussions, showing that the voices of the marginalized communities affected by this decision were not prioritized. Eileen highlighted that the KDB re-accreditation application did not review the lack of strong baseline studies in KDB’s original accreditation papers. On top of this, the CSOs also argued the following reasons why the re-accreditation should be reconsidered:

  • KDB does not show any framework or intention to divest from coal and fossil fuel investment

  • Since its accreditation, KDB has supported projects amounting to a total of $3.7B in dirty energy globally, many of which were strongly opposed by peoples and communities due to their impacts

  • After being accredited for 6 years, KDB has not submitted any FP that met GCF standards. Its attempt last 2018 (FP088) was strongly opposed by CSOs and scientists. AO Cunningham ended her intervention by highlighting the CSO letter with more than 100 sign-ons sent to BMs opposing the re-accreditation of KDB unless it divests from dirty energy.

While calling the Active Observers last has become a trend in this Board Meeting, the co-chair from France just apologized and went on to proceed to the next agenda item, Consideration of Funding Proposals.

Of the 5 FPs for consideration, only FP186 India E-mobility Financing Program was deferred by the Board, to which the co-chairs instructed the concerned BMs and the Secretariat to hold an informal technical session to discuss concerns raised by BMs and produce a new draft decision text stipulating the following:

  1. No condition will be attached by the Board to the approval of FP186;

  2. The AE shall provide a letter of intent, satisfactory to the Secretariat, from the potential investor in which the potential investor confirms that it is considering investing in the senior equity of the pooling vehicle

  3. The agreement of the Secretariat and the AE will be included in the B32 report.

As soon as the revised decision text was presented to the Board, FP186 was approved with no further questions raised.

The last agenda time, which as expected received a significant amount of time, was the agenda item Dates and Venues of Upcoming Board Meetings. The main point of contention among BMs was the proposal to adjust meeting dates due to logistical constraints of several developing country BMs. Some developed country BMs pushback by saying they have already made plans according to the agreed dates in B31, and that it will be inefficient if the Board keeps on adjusting the dates of their meetings. After nearly an hour of debate, the Board was not able to decide, but were asked by the co-chairs to consider the revised proposal below:

  • B33 – 27-30 June 2022 as an in-person meeting in the Republic of Korea

  • B34 – 17-20 October 2022 as an in-person meeting in the Republic of Korea

  • B35 – 13-16 March 2023

  • B36 – 10-13 July 2023

Day 3 ended 2.5 hours early from its scheduled time. You can watch the live webcast and proceedings of B32 from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM in Antigua and Barbuda here: https://www.greenclimate.fund/boardroom/meeting/b32#videos

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