The second replenishment meeting of the GCF took place from August 29th to August 30th in Ottawa, Canada. The gathering consisted of eight Board members and representatives from 27 potential contributors as well as members of the Secretariat. At the meeting, Dr. Jyotsna Puri (Jo) reinstated key points outlined by the IEU’s Forward-Looking Performance Review (FPR) in a presentation titled ‘GCF in 2020 and Onwards: Faster, Better, and Smarter.’
Jo highlighted the achievements of the Fund, noting it is a young organization that has achieved much in a short period and one of the only climate funds whose central objective is attaining a paradigm shift. However, she underscored that as the GCF matures and the world changes, impact and speed are required.
The FPR released in June laid the foundation of how to better address these needs. One of the overarching questions of the Review was whether the GCF was ready to deliver a paradigm shift in the climate change space? The FPR examined whether the GCF had the appropriate structure and was capable of delivering large investment flows and concluded that several changes were required with respect to the focus of the GCF and its processes if the GCF was to achieve this. Importantly it concluded that the GCF needs to focus far more on adaptation needs of developing countries, and, on innovating with financial instruments. It also needed to strengthen its approval processes so that countries can reach the GCF dollar faster; increase the ability of the Secretariat to make decisions and tailor accreditation to country capacities.
The FPR found that the Fund was making an impact on developing country needs but that this could be strengthened in the sub-areas of efficient transportation and forestry for example.
At the meeting, Jo reemphasized four critical ways in which the GCF could improve and become ‘Faster, Better and Smarter’.
First, by creating a new strategic plan that positions the GCF as a global thought leader and establishes a niche for the Fund in the climate field.
Second, by repositioning the business model of the Fund to deliver better by focusing on transparency, speed and predictability.
Third, by reprioritizing adaptation in its programming, the FPR concluded that developing country needs will be better served. In mitigation and in adaptation, the GCF needs to be an innovator in financial mechanisms.
Finally, the FPR recommended that the GCF Board could delegate more authority to the Secretariat in selected areas, especially with respect to procedures and standard-setting.
Jo noted that the management response from the Secretariat was encouraging and was addressing most of the recommendations made by the FPR. Some areas remained including that related to accreditation and results-based financing, which the Board and the Secretariat could do well to reflect upon. Additionally, the GCF needs to strengthen its results management processes and also establish how it will be a key player given that there are several other sources of large bilateral and multilateral climate funding out there.
The IEU presentation concluded with a call for the GCF to deliver better and position itself away from a one-size fits all approach reliant on compliance and reactive processes. Instead, the Fund has the opportunity to transition into a strategic actor that emphasizes leadership, proactivity, differentiation, and strengthened impact and innovation.