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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Countries told to double pledges during GCF replenishment

As the Green Climate Fund (GCF) – the world’s largest multilateral fund for action on climate change – holds its second consultation on the first replenishment in Ottawa, civil society have welcomed announcements by Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Norway that their pledges in local currency in comparison to contributions made during the initial capitalisation of the Fund have been doubled.

Green Climate Fund
Paul Oquist and Lennart Båge, co-chairs of the Green Climate Fund board

The campaigners stated that, whilst the developments are encouraging, other countries should follow suit and announce their pledges imminently, starting at the upcoming UN Climate Action Summit during September in New York.

The Climate Action Network (CAN) stated: “In light of the urgency of the climate crisis that the international community is facing and as highlighted by new science such as contained in the recent Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Climate Change and Land, it is of utmost importance that all developed countries make ambitious pledges. They must at least double the amounts they gave during the initial resource mobilisation. Those countries who have contributed less generously on either a per GDP or per capita basis should go well beyond doubling in this round to do their fair share. This can positively contribute to enhancing climate ambition, especially as countries are expected to step-up their national commitments under the Paris Agreement next year.”

The report is expected to add weight to the existing science and findings from the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C released last year and the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services from earlier this year.  

“Every penny counts in the fight against climate change. As countries have agreed that the Fund operates in United States Dollar, as a minimum, countries must announce that they intend to at least double their contributions in this currency,” CAN submitted.  

Members of CAN have also joined the debate.

Sven Harmeling, Global Policy Lead Climate Change and Resilience, CARE International, said: “As the climate crisis intensifies and exacerbates hunger and poverty in developing countries, rich countries must at least double their financial contributions to the Green Climate Fund in US dollars. This should come in grants as it betrays the Paris Agreement to provide loans to countries that are already bearing the bulk of the costs. The GCF has become a major funding source to help poor communities, including many vulnerable women and children, deal with harmful climate impacts, such as stronger storms and more severe droughts. Developed countries now must do their part to ensure that efforts to address the climate crisis do not leave developing countries behind.”

Lucile Dufour, International Policy Adviser, Climate Action Network – France, said: “Emmanuel Macron’s announcement that France will double its pledge to the Green Climate Fund is a positive step forward. But this new contribution must be entirely provided in grants, as this is the only way for France to make sure its money will actually reach the most vulnerable communities, already facing the worst impacts of climate change. In the run-up to the Climate Action Summit in New York, we expect France – lead country on climate finance – to rally more contributors around a coalition of the ‘doublers’.

Liane Schalatek, Associate Director, Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington, DC, and CSO Active Observer for Developed Countries to the Green Climate Fund, said: “As prospective contributors are assembling in Ottawa and discussing replenishment scenarios right now, they need to have the courage to more than double the IRM commitments, including by setting an important replenishment target to coincide with November 2020 when developing countries are asked to raise the ambitions of their NDCs. We hope that many developed countries will pledge swiftly and generously – and with the final replenishment outcome of the GCF-1 only to be tallied in December 2023, there is not only room for countries to change their mind from not contributing to contributing as they should, such as the United States or Australia, but also room for those who have already committed to take a second look for opportunities to revise their commitment upward.”

Kiri Hanks, Climate Policy Advisor, Oxfam, said: “It’s vital that wealthy countries with the highest emissions contribute to the Fund and work together with those most affected to adapt to the changing climate and mitigate its effects. The UK, France and Germany have set the bar by doubling their pledge, sending a strong signal to others that backtracking is not ok. A meaningful replenishment would involve reaching at the very least $15 billion in pledges before the end of the year.”

Mark Lutes, WWF Climate and Energy senior advisor, global climate policy, said: “We have only a small window of opportunity to act decisively to address the climate crisis. We need to do more, do it faster and do it at a scale that transforms key sectors like energy and transport, among others. To do that, there must also be sufficient finance available to support the efforts of developing countries to make this transition. We call on developed countries to provide at a minimum double the contributions (in US dollars) made in the first funding round. Without this minimum level of financial support, countries will be hamstrung in responding to the climate crisis. And in the face of urgent and growing climatic disruptions, we know we cannot afford any delay.”

Tara Daniel, Program Manager, Women’s Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO), said: “The promise of the GCF to fund and catalyse climate action capable of significantly influencing our worldwide response to climate change, through prioritising principles of sustainable development, gender equality, and justice for the most affected communities, cannot be realised if the scale and nature of funding is inadequate to the need and insufficient given countries’ capacities.

“That is why we welcome the recent replenishment pledges but urge that countries that have not yet pledged consider how their contributions display their commitment to climate justice, by at least doubling their initial pledges – if they originally pledged their fair share, and by contributing in grants, the most effective mechanism for ensuring the GCF has the transformative impact we all seek.”

Harjeet Singh, Global Lead on Climate for ActionAid International, said: “This year, the world has started to wake up to the scale of the climate emergency. But the global transformation needed to avert climate catastrophe can’t happen unless rich countries contribute their fair share of climate finance. This week’s commitments to the Green Climate Fund are certainly welcome, but we mustn’t kid ourselves that they are in line with the scale of the climate challenge. Serious climate action requires serious climate finance.”

Erika Lennon, Senior Attorney, Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL) said: “As people are increasingly impacted by intensifying climate-driven disasters, countries must ambitiously reple​ni​sh the GCF so that it can fund developing nations to both adapt to the changing climate and mitigate their emissions. The costs to address climate change are in the trillions, and developed countries that are most responsible for the climate crisis must pay their fair share, at a minimum by doubling their initial pledged contributions to the GCF.

“That some countries have already made this commitment is encouraging, however much more is needed, and additional developed countries must come forward with greater ambition. With the climate crisis upon us, the GCF has the potential to be truly transformative in enabling sustainable development, human rights, and gender equality to be foundational to climate responses. The GCF’s success requires adequate funding that will facilitate the level of ambition necessary to meet the promises of the Paris Agreement.”

Eddy Pérez, International Policy Analyst, Climate Action Network – Canada, said: “The GCF is the main financial mechanism of the UN Climate Convention helping vulnerable countries and people, including women and girls who are bearing the brunt of the impacts of climate change. Canada’s commitment is welcomed, but to fight this crisis we need to recognise that Canada’s commitments to developing countries in relation to climate change and the Sustainable Development Goals is not reflected by the low ambition demonstrated in this announcement. This meeting should provide positive signals that will indicate that rich countries will contribute at least $15 billion in pledges.”

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