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Global commitment growing for gender equality in climate action

Rice farmers work on Indonesian peatlands. Photo by Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR
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Rice farmers work on Indonesian peatlands. Photo by Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR

Researchers are backing the development of a gender-responsive policy for the Green Climate Fund.

Climate change may affect everyone, but not always equally. Women — especially those living in poor, rural communities — often face additional burdens.

“Generally, you see that women have weaker land rights, they usually have less input in determining how natural resources are managed or how income is spent. These types of inequalities play a big role in determining how different groups experience climate change,” says the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’s Markus Ihalainen, research officer at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

One example is in Northern Mali, where researchers found that due to increasingly frequent droughts, men decided to leave their homes and seek work elsewhere. Women were left behind to deal with not only the changing climate, but the work men would normally do in their village. Their capacity to adapt was further hampered by a lack of secure tenure and command of financial resources.

Addressing issues such as these is at the core of efforts to introduce and improve gender policies in climate initiatives. At the recent COP23 climate summit in Bonn, Germany, a UNFCCC Gender Action Plan was agreed on that supports women’s participation in climate action and promotes gender equality in the process.

Read more: FTA at COP23

THE FIRST STEP

For gender equality advocates, another process of interest is the ongoing review and update of the Green Climate Fund’s gender policy and action plan.

The GCF was the first multilateral climate fund to include gender considerations in its operations from the offset, and in 2015 it adopted a gender policy and action plan. The three-year policy and action plan is due to be revised next year.

Earlier this year, the GCF called for inputs to the review and update of the gender policy, and at the moment, a consultation copy of the new Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Policy and Action Plan 2018-2020 is circulated for another round of inputs.

This draft summarizes the intent of the GCF Secretariat to more effectively and strategically address gender equality, and incorporates a number of recommendations from various stakeholders, including CIFOR.

“The new draft policy document signals a more robust commitment and approach to gender equality, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Of course, the document is still open for revisions and it will need to be approved by the Board, so we will have to wait and see what the final version looks like,” says Ihalainen.

He points out that the GCF is one of the main financial instruments supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement. As the agreement failed to incorporate language on gender in many key articles, including those on mitigation, finance and technology, a strong GCF gender policy could help mitigate some of those shortfalls.

An elderly woman sits on the terrace of her home in Nalma Village, Lamjung, Nepal. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

With respect to addressing gender equality in climate policy and action, Ihalainen says there often is a disconnect on many levels. He says that even when there are policies in place, there are guidelines that aren’t mandatory or being monitored, or there can be a lack of capacity in assessing the gender components.

In their submission to the GCF, the researchers argued that despite a clear global mandate to address gender issues in climate policy and action, these tend to get sidelined or watered down at national or program level.

“Too often the gender aspect is seen as an add-on and not something that needs to be considered from the outset and integrated into each phase of the project,” Ihalainen adds.

Read more: An explanation of Green Climate Fund payments

SENSITIVE OR RESPONSIVE?

The current GCF gender policy adopts a ‘gender sensitive’ approach. This is commonly understood as being attentive to, or aware of, gender differences. But the researchers say a ‘gender responsive’ approach will have a far better outcome.

“Being gender responsive is about trying to understand and actively challenge unequal roles that are at the core of those differences — not just being mindful of the differences, but actually doing something to transform them,” says Ihalainen.

“To achieve this, the new policy needs to not only safeguard but advance women’s rights,” he says.

The research team says the new gender policy should also aim to minimize gender-related risks and safeguard women’s rights in all aspects of climate change action.

ALIGNING WITH THE SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a standalone goal (SDG 5) on gender equality and women’s empowerment. It includes a number of targets addressing underlying facets of gender equality, including full and effective participation, equal rights to productive resources, and unpaid care and domestic work.

The researchers say aligning the updated gender policy with the SDGs — and SDG 5 in particular — will allow for a more heavily rights-based framework for addressing gender equality in climate action. It would also allow for a more comprehensive set of targets and progress indicators that can be used to assess the Fund’s contribution to gender equality.

Ihalainen says now is the time to take action. He points to a recent analysis of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in which countries publicly outlined what post-2020 climate actions they intended to take under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The study shows that only 40 percent of these actions included any reference to gender or women, and most of were very generic, and were justified on the grounds that women belong to vulnerable populations.

The team says projects funded by the GCF need to clearly show how they will address gender inequalities through climate action. This will require both identifying and safeguarding against gender-related risks, as well as leveraging potential synergies between gender equality and mitigation/adaptation outcomes.

It is vital, they say, that National Designated Authorities and Accredited Entities, as well as Implementing Entities, have gender experts onboard and a budget to support gender activities. After all, a policy is only as strong as its implementation.

“It is critical that we have proper transparency in how different agencies address this issue, proper monitoring of these indicators and a clear understanding of the responsibilities and accountabilities of the different actors,” says Ihalainen.

By Suzanna Dayne, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on this topic, please contact Markus Ihalainen at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

This research was supported by UK aid from the UK government.

  • Home
  • Global commitment growing for gender equality in climate action

Global commitment growing for gender equality in climate action

Rice farmers work on Indonesian peatlands. Photo by Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR
Posted by

FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

Rice farmers work on Indonesian peatlands. Photo by Mokhamad Edliadi/CIFOR

Researchers are backing the development of a gender-responsive policy for the Green Climate Fund.

Climate change may affect everyone, but not always equally. Women — especially those living in poor, rural communities — often face additional burdens.

“Generally, you see that women have weaker land rights, they usually have less input in determining how natural resources are managed or how income is spent. These types of inequalities play a big role in determining how different groups experience climate change,” says the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry’s Markus Ihalainen, research officer at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

One example is in Northern Mali, where researchers found that due to increasingly frequent droughts, men decided to leave their homes and seek work elsewhere. Women were left behind to deal with not only the changing climate, but the work men would normally do in their village. Their capacity to adapt was further hampered by a lack of secure tenure and command of financial resources.

Addressing issues such as these is at the core of efforts to introduce and improve gender policies in climate initiatives. At the recent COP23 climate summit in Bonn, Germany, a UNFCCC Gender Action Plan was agreed on that supports women’s participation in climate action and promotes gender equality in the process.

Read more: FTA at COP23

THE FIRST STEP

For gender equality advocates, another process of interest is the ongoing review and update of the Green Climate Fund’s gender policy and action plan.

The GCF was the first multilateral climate fund to include gender considerations in its operations from the offset, and in 2015 it adopted a gender policy and action plan. The three-year policy and action plan is due to be revised next year.

Earlier this year, the GCF called for inputs to the review and update of the gender policy, and at the moment, a consultation copy of the new Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Policy and Action Plan 2018-2020 is circulated for another round of inputs.

This draft summarizes the intent of the GCF Secretariat to more effectively and strategically address gender equality, and incorporates a number of recommendations from various stakeholders, including CIFOR.

“The new draft policy document signals a more robust commitment and approach to gender equality, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction. Of course, the document is still open for revisions and it will need to be approved by the Board, so we will have to wait and see what the final version looks like,” says Ihalainen.

He points out that the GCF is one of the main financial instruments supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement. As the agreement failed to incorporate language on gender in many key articles, including those on mitigation, finance and technology, a strong GCF gender policy could help mitigate some of those shortfalls.

An elderly woman sits on the terrace of her home in Nalma Village, Lamjung, Nepal. Photo by M. Edliadi/CIFOR

With respect to addressing gender equality in climate policy and action, Ihalainen says there often is a disconnect on many levels. He says that even when there are policies in place, there are guidelines that aren’t mandatory or being monitored, or there can be a lack of capacity in assessing the gender components.

In their submission to the GCF, the researchers argued that despite a clear global mandate to address gender issues in climate policy and action, these tend to get sidelined or watered down at national or program level.

“Too often the gender aspect is seen as an add-on and not something that needs to be considered from the outset and integrated into each phase of the project,” Ihalainen adds.

Read more: An explanation of Green Climate Fund payments

SENSITIVE OR RESPONSIVE?

The current GCF gender policy adopts a ‘gender sensitive’ approach. This is commonly understood as being attentive to, or aware of, gender differences. But the researchers say a ‘gender responsive’ approach will have a far better outcome.

“Being gender responsive is about trying to understand and actively challenge unequal roles that are at the core of those differences — not just being mindful of the differences, but actually doing something to transform them,” says Ihalainen.

“To achieve this, the new policy needs to not only safeguard but advance women’s rights,” he says.

The research team says the new gender policy should also aim to minimize gender-related risks and safeguard women’s rights in all aspects of climate change action.

ALIGNING WITH THE SDGs

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include a standalone goal (SDG 5) on gender equality and women’s empowerment. It includes a number of targets addressing underlying facets of gender equality, including full and effective participation, equal rights to productive resources, and unpaid care and domestic work.

The researchers say aligning the updated gender policy with the SDGs — and SDG 5 in particular — will allow for a more heavily rights-based framework for addressing gender equality in climate action. It would also allow for a more comprehensive set of targets and progress indicators that can be used to assess the Fund’s contribution to gender equality.

Ihalainen says now is the time to take action. He points to a recent analysis of the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) in which countries publicly outlined what post-2020 climate actions they intended to take under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The study shows that only 40 percent of these actions included any reference to gender or women, and most of were very generic, and were justified on the grounds that women belong to vulnerable populations.

The team says projects funded by the GCF need to clearly show how they will address gender inequalities through climate action. This will require both identifying and safeguarding against gender-related risks, as well as leveraging potential synergies between gender equality and mitigation/adaptation outcomes.

It is vital, they say, that National Designated Authorities and Accredited Entities, as well as Implementing Entities, have gender experts onboard and a budget to support gender activities. After all, a policy is only as strong as its implementation.

“It is critical that we have proper transparency in how different agencies address this issue, proper monitoring of these indicators and a clear understanding of the responsibilities and accountabilities of the different actors,” says Ihalainen.

By Suzanna Dayne, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on this topic, please contact Markus Ihalainen at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.

This research was supported by UK aid from the UK government.

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  • Green Climate Fund steps up to reduce deforestation and forest degradation

Green Climate Fund steps up to reduce deforestation and forest degradation

Cattle farming is a key driver of deforestation in Brazil. Photo by Kate Evans/CIFOR
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The Amazon river and rainforest are seen from above in Amazonas, Brazil. Photo by N. Palmer/CIAT for CIFOR

The recent meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board in Songdo, Korea, adopted two new decisions intended to reduce global emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as to support forest restoration and conservation in developing countries via REDD+.

These two new decisions relate to the GCF’s role in financing development of policies and preparatory activities in developing countries and the GCF’s policy related to making payments for verified emission reductions achieved through such policies and measures.

CONTEXT OF THE GCF

It has been a long trek to get to this point at the international level. The work on REDD+ started as early as 2005, and the international framework was finalized between 2013 and 2015. The UN Climate Convention Standing Committee on Finance has more recently been undertaking work to move the finance discussion forward since 2014 and much groundwork has been done through initiatives led by the World Bank, UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), such as the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and the UN-REDD Programme.

Since efforts to curb forest loss and restore and conserve forests commenced through REDD+, there has been more than USD $6 billion provided to countries across Asia, Africa and Central and South America mostly on behalf of the governments of Norway, Germany, the UK and the US. Now, more funding (likely several hundreds of millions of US dollars) is expected to come from the GCF.

However, despite all these efforts, only one country Brazil has been able to show a decrease in deforestation. But this trend has been reversed with a recent growth in deforestation. The complexities associated with REDD+ and its lack of emissions reductions results has thus caused many to question the potential for the framework to mitigate climate change.

Attempts to achieve these objectives by relying on private sector finance and carbon markets (negligible to non-existent) have been marred with controversy, associated with on the ground realities of rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. These tensions remain, with deep divides persisting on topics such as carbon markets, offsets, lack of respect for indigenous rights, and continued uncertainty related to land tenure in many countries.

Despite this, slowing, halting and reversing forest cover and carbon loss remains a global priority. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15 seeks to achieve this by 2020. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and restoring and conserving forests, was also identified as a priority action in the Paris Agreement.

The global community is well aware of the importance of forests to the climate change agenda, and heavy reliance is being placed on forest and land use to achieve the goals outlined by the Paris Agreement.

Read also: What’s causing the holdup in REDD+ results-based finance?

Serapio Condori Daza, a brazil nut harvester, works in a concession in Madre de Dios, Peru. Photo by M. Simola/CIFOR

GCF RELATING TO EARLY PHASES OF REDD+

The first decision made at the recent 17th Meeting of the GCF Board in Songdo addressed the type of support to be provided by the GCF to enact the enabling conditions, policies and measures required to support Phases 1 and 2 of REDD+.

The multibillion-dollar fund will support countries to develop strategies and action plans, reference levels to measure emissions, forest monitoring systems and safeguard systems, as well as land tenure reform, and will put emphasis on issues related to gender, indigenous peoples rights and environmental integrity.

The GCF intends to makes it a priority to enhance countries’ capacities to safeguard the rights of local and indigenous communities and to seek strict adherence to social and environmental safeguards.

The GCF says it will ensure relevant stakeholders and civil society groups are consulted, with particular attention paid to the rights of indigenous peoples. It will focus on investments that build local and long-lasting capacities and stakeholder engagement processes.

The GCF will support projects and programs, which target the following:

  • Previously forested lands: to reduce pressure on forests by increasing productivity of agricultural lands through more efficient and proven technologies, reforestation and agroforestry and restoration of natural forests;
  • Managed forests: targeting forests in proximity to the agricultural frontier. This may come in the form of sustainable forest management for timber or non‐timber forest products, payments for ecosystem services, and ecotourism; and
  • Primary forests: recognizing land tenure rights, strengthening law enforcement measures, creating large‐scale protected areas, maintaining the livelihoods and cultural values of forest‐dependent people and long‐term conservation of these forests and the ecosystem services they provide.

The decision also identifies that the GCF will engage with the private sector through its Private Sector Facility. Through this facility, the GCF considers that it may provide support by:

  • Providing funding and instruments to generate credit lines with improved loan conditions for sustainable agricultural practices conditional to maintaining natural forests and/or increasing forest areas;
  • Financing technical assistance to small‐scale farmers to improve capacities and generate opportunities to engage in deforestation‐free supply chains; and
  • Providing guarantees to reduce market risks, and other risks inherent to the forestry and land use sectors, including climate variability.

At this point in time, the GCF’s approach to engagement with the private sector is still in its infancy. Work will commence in the coming months to further develop a policy on the way in which the fund interacts with the private sector, likely including the topic of trading in forest carbon.

Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a leading board member working on this issue, underscored the intention of the GCF to become a global leader on the topic. It was emphasized by Mpanu Mpanu and other board members that funding should not be limited to just a few countries, but to all the countries that require support to achieve emissions reductions from forests.

Germany’s board member Karsten Sachs emphasized the need to ensure clarity on the comparative advantage of the GCF over other funds proving finance on the same subject. He elaborated that further work needs to be done on cohesion and complementarity with initiatives such as the FCPF and UN-REDD. Sachs also emphasized the importance of support for work by Germany and the importance of strengthening the role of the private sector, including through supply chain management.

The decision was welcomed by representatives of indigenous peoples, who reinforced that land rights are the basis of success for interventions of this type. They emphasized the need to ensure prevention of risks arising from implementation and their desire to see support from the GCF in strengthening land rights.

PAYMENTS FOR FOREST EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS

The second decision was on the topic related to payment for results – meaning verified emissions reductions achieved by following the processes set out by the UNFCCC Framework related to REDD+. The decision was entitled “Pilot Program for REDD+ Results Based Payments”.

This was a more technical decision than the previous one, and one in which the GCF Board members ensured their UNFCCC expert negotiators were present to provide consul on (including the US, Norway, Malaysia and Brazil).

The results-based payments decision contained the following aspects as the “Key Procedural and technical elements”:

An aerial shot shows the contrast between the forest and agricultural landscapes near Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil. Photo by Kate Evans/CIFOR

a) Access modality: requests would be channeled through accredited entities of the GCF, albeit acting in a more limited role.

b) Financial valuation of results: proposed a uniform and fixed price of USD $5 per ton CO2 eq. for the pilot program.

c) Size of the Request For Payments (RFP): proposed allocating between USD $300 million and USD $500 million for the pilot program. It was noted that as of June 2017, 25 countries have completed their reference levels, and the Technical Analysis by the UNFCCC and four countries have submitted REDD+ results to the UNFCCC Secretariat with a potential volume of emissions reductions from countries ranging between 600 and 2500 million tonnes of CO2 eq. over the last two to four years.

d) Double payment and double financing: considered by the GCF Secretariat to be where a country receives both support for activities pertaining to Phases 1 and 2 of REDD+, and payments for the results achieved during the same periods in Phase 3, proposing that this can be managed through appropriate control policies (i.e. registry systems).

e) Use of proceeds: Proposed that countries receiving REDD+ results-based payments (RBPs) should reinvest the proceeds in activities in line with countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

f) Ownership, legal title and implications on NDCs: the emissions reductions paid for by the GCF under the pilot program are proposed not to be transferred to the GCF and should be retired. In other words, it is a ‘non market’ approach.

g) Eligibility date for results and length of the RFP: Concerns the eligibility date of results (past or future) for payments. The secretariat suggested the pilot only consider recent ex-post results. The length of the entire process could take up to two years (from the launch of the request for payments to the distribution of payments).

h) Scale of implementation: proposals should be designed to achieve tons of emissions reductions or enhanced removals at national, or in the interim, sub-national level.

i) Forest reference emission levels (FREL)/Forest reference levels (FRL) and results: The GCF proposes to employ a scorecard to create a bridge from UNFCCC Technical Analysis processes to GCF RBP payments.

j) Operationalization of the Cancun safeguards: Noting differences between the Cancun safeguards and the GCF environmental and social standards, countries applying for results-based payments will have the primary responsibility of demonstrating how the Cancun safeguards have been addressed and respected in the implementation of the REDD+ activities through their Summary of Information. The AEs, working with the countries, will prepare and document an assessment describing how the GCF interim standards have been met and applied in the REDD+ activities. Again, a scorecard will play an important role.

The secretariat identified the need to better understand the size of the pilot, the eligibility date, the distribution of payments, and the application of the scorecard.

The board members approached the issue with caution, recognizing the complexities, sensitivities and history of international negotiations on the topic.

Caroline Leclerc of Canada, one of the champions leading the process, mentioned the complexities and the interlinkages of topics, as well as the fact that the board is not in a place to fully agree on all the parts of the proposed decision.

Mpanu Mpanu mentioned that the price may be a complicated issue as it costs many countries more per ton than US$5 to reduce emissions through the forest and land-use sector.

The board members commenced putting forward different positions, making it clear that there was not going to be agreement on many issues. Diverse positions and concerns arose on various topics including: eligibility dates, transfer, the size of the GCF envelope, price, double financing, assessment, and the content of the scorecard.

Read also: Smallholder farmers in REDD+ sites: The cost of missed opportunities

Cattle farming is a key driver of deforestation in Brazil. Photo by Kate Evans/CIFOR

NEXT STEPS

Following a full day of consultations and closed-room negotiations, the board finally took note of the progress made. It asked the secretariat to undertake further analysis to finalize the draft request for further consideration on proposals at the 18th Meeting of the Board, which will be held in Cairo, Egypt, in September.

The GCF approach to forests, on paper at least, seems encouraging in many ways. This major global fund is seeking, at this point in time, to look beyond merely economic incentives such as markets and carbon trading to holistic landscape and cross-sectoral approaches with broad stakeholder engagement. The fund seems to embrace both market and non-market approaches.

Although these decisions are about REDD+ specifically, the GCF is making efforts to look beyond the limitations associated with the current REDD+ framework concerning matters such as addressing drivers of deforestation.

It is also seeking to enhance respect for rights. In recent years, there has been a significant improvement of the fund’s approach to indigenous peoples’ rights. This is reflected in the recent decisions taken and the ongoing work related to a standalone indigenous people’s policy expected to be put forth at the next board meeting.

It is also noteworthy that the GCF is progressively laying the groundwork to engage in more depth on carbon trading-related interventions, which will no doubt in due course give rise to increasing controversy and potential for reputational risk to the fund.

The proof, however, will be in the project approval, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The GCF is still on a learning curve when it comes to project implementation, with 43 projects now approved and valued at around US$2 billion.

Very little funding has started to flow and getting money out the door has been challenging. Projects approved by the GCF have come under some criticism for lacking consultations with stakeholders, and the fund will need to ensure that these issues do not reoccur as it moves further into the realm of forests and landscapes.

By Stephen Leonard, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on this topic, please contact Stephen Leonard at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.

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  • What's causing the holdup in REDD+ results-based finance?

What’s causing the holdup in REDD+ results-based finance?

Log driving is seen in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by Achmad Ibrahim/CIFOR
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FTA COMMUNICATIONS TEAM

An aerial view of the Amazon rainforest is seen near Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, Brazil. Photo by Neil Palmer/CIAT for CIFOR

The fourth voluntary meeting of focal points for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) was held this past May in Bonn, Germany. These informal meetings are part of a four-year process instated under the Warsaw Framework on REDD+.

The first part of the meeting (and the focus of this article) relates to the current status of the two major financing processes related to REDD+, namely the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF).

The country that will hold the COP23 Presidency, Fiji, opened the meeting. Its delegates emphasized the importance of land use efforts as essential climate change actions, and the fact that more than 100 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) mention REDD+.

Yet representatives pointed out that REDD+ progress is now facing technical, implementation and financial challenges. The Fijian delegation emphasized the need to enhance non-carbon benefits and mentioned that they are looking forward to supporting the growth of REDD+ as the incoming presidency.

RESULTS-BASED PAYMENTS

The nominated GCF Board Member and REDD+ champion Tosi Mpanu Mpanu of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) gave the first presentation of the meeting during which he outlined the work done on operationalizing results-based payments (RBPs) — including a consultation and submissions process.

A technical expert workshop on this subject was held in Bali, Indonesia, this past April and was attended by representatives of civil society, indigenous peoples, countries and other REDD+ experts.

It is expected that the GCF Request for Payments (RFP) will be put before the board at its 17th meeting this July. However, it was mentioned by Mpanu Mpanu that the ultimate outcome on RBPs may occur across two board meetings. It was announced in Bonn that the summary of the Expert Meeting in Bali was currently with the GCF Board co-chairs and should be released soon.

Read more: Can REDD+ help Brazil roll back rising deforestation rates?

Log driving is seen in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by Achmad Ibrahim/CIFOR

The GCF Secretariat then took the floor and went into more substance related to the RFP to be presented to the board. It stated that countries will need to ensure that all requirements under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are met; that access to RBPs will be made via accredited entities; that proposals will need to be endorsed by the country-level National Designated Authority; and that once assessed through an internal due diligence process, a decision will be made by the GCF Board.

The GCF Secretariat announced during the meeting that the task now is to identify where there are areas of convergence and divergence. As a next step, the board will need to decide on a ‘scorecard’, as well as what it will look like and what will be included in it.

It would be fair to estimate that the GCF decisions will be made by late 2017, or early 2018. The RFP will probably be issued in early 2018, with concept notes and ‘scoring’ done by mid-to-late 2018.

Full proposals should be made to the GCF sometime during late 2018 or early 2019, with a board decision taken during mid- to late-2019, and agreements and contracts negotiated with countries finalized in late 2019 or in 2020. GCF results-based payments are unlikely to be received by countries in this first round until closer to 2020.

FOREST CARBON PARTNERSHIP FACILITY (FCPF)

The World Bank then presented their Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and its own results-based payments model. The bank representative made the point that countries have been spending much time on readiness, but are now beginning to put more emphasis on implementation at scale and on the ground.

The bank is also hoping to commence the signing of agreements with countries during 2017, and pointed out that there is difficulty in engagement of the private sector. The World Bank pointed out that there are emerging partnerships in its work with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the GCF.

When the floor was opened up to participants, the first intervention was made by a representative from the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) Caucus asking that the GCF ensure inclusion of tenure, Non Carbon Benefits (NCBs) and safeguards in the RBP Policy, as well as clarification on the process from here.

A CIFOR REDD+ Safeguards and Benefit Sharing Project site is pictured in Jambi, Indonesia. Photo by Icaro Cooke Vieira/CIFOR

Thailand then asked the GCF to explain how long the process to make results-based payments would take, and what the strategy is to ensure there is adequate funding for all countries. The GCF Board member replied by informing that not all countries are ready to receive results-based payments and this upcoming RFP would be the first, but not the last.

He assured countries that the funds would be available in subsequent calls for proposals and urged countries not to rush through the technical assessments and to take their time and come to the GCF for results-based payments when they have all the requirements in place and are ready.

Indigenous Peoples asked the World Bank how it is aligning its FCPF with the UNFCCC REDD+ process, including the Cancun Safeguards. The World Bank responded by saying that the FCPF and the UNFCCC operate in a parallel space, and in some ways, the World Bank is ahead of discussions in the UNFCCC. The representatives accepted that there might however, be some areas that they need to look at more closely, without providing any specifics.

Read more: FTA project update: Understanding REDD+ across the globe

Brazil then asked the World Bank the nature and objective of the collaboration with ICAO. The World Bank answered that ICAO approached them to provide an update on their discussions. The FCPF is further discussing the matter at the upcoming meetings and made the effort to clarify that this exchange has been ‘only’ information sharing up until now.

No representative from ICAO was present at the meeting. A representative of Papua New Guinea (PNG) in a later presentation expressed some concern that the ICAO methodologies may differ to those of the UNFCCC and expressed a preference to the UNFCCC methodologies, urging those to watch the ICAO negotiations carefully.

The PNG representative also expressed disappointment that ICAO was not present and urged their engagement in future meetings. The Nature Conservancy in their presentation expressed a view that ICAO may have a very significant demand for REDD+ offsets.

Brazil also asked the World Bank as to when payments would be made from the Carbon Fund. The World Bank informed the room that only signatures are expected this year, and there will need to be a process of verification and that payments would take another one to two years.

FUNDING STREAMS

Indonesia then asked the World Bank how the FCFP would contribute to countries’ NDCs. The World Bank informed the Indonesian delegate that it had left the door open to discuss NDCs further with countries and that there are currently 19 countries who have signed a letter of intent, several of whom have raised this issue.

Thailand asked the World Bank whether there are sufficient funds in the FCPF to support all 54 countries that are currently in the readiness program. The World Bank confirmed that the readiness fund will close in 2020, and that there is not enough funding to go towards all the readiness of all countries, which is a matter that needs to be addressed.

DRC expressed concern at the slow rate of readiness finance and expressed the need to bring together the fragmented funding streams. The World Bank responded to this point by raising the complexities of bringing the funding streams together, but expressed interest in hearing from countries as to how their lives could be made easier.

REDD+ has been negotiated at the UNFCCC since around 2005, with the Warsaw Framework finally completed in 2015. Since that time, many countries have undertaken a major effort to implement new policies, meet donor requirements and jump the hurdles being put in front of them.

There may be a light emerging at the end of this long tunnel, but a number of issues are yet to be finalized in these finance-related processes. Clarity is, however, emerging that results-based finance and payments from the FCPF and the GCF are not likely to be seen until at least 2019 or 2020.

By Stephen Leonard, originally published at CIFOR’s Forests News

For more information on this topic, please contact Stephen Leonard at [email protected].


This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.


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