Source: Loop PNG

14 Dec Why your children should be taking environmentally-focused courses at Uni. (‘What is the Green Climate Fund and why should we care?’)

The Green Climate Fund is having its 15th Board meeting here in Samoa this week. So? Why do we care?

The GCF was created in 2010 by 194 countries that are party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). There are 24 members of the Board, repping different countries, that are 12 “developed” and 12 “developing” countries. The GCF Board met for the first time in 2012 and opened its permanent headquarters in South Korea in 2013. By 2014 it had gotten its first $10 billion dollars and in 2015 it started making its first funding decisions.  So all up, it took 6 years for it to get up and running. Which is kind of a long foot-dragging time for it to get going? Especially in climate change years…

For this fund, certain countries agreed to start putting in enough money so that by 2020, they would be overseeing USD $100 billion dollars PER YEAR. That is a LOT of money. (Am now telling my children they should all do environmentally-focused courses of study at university. Because clearly, that’s where the money is. And more importantly because, that’s where the need for our survival is most urgent. Forget poetry and film studies!)

This money is to help with mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries. It’s a way for “advanced economies” (ie Northern/richer/developed depending on what term you prefer!) to pool their money and assist those countries that are way more vulnerable to climate change effects. These countries are primarily the Least Developed Countries (LDC’s), small island developing states (SIDS) and African states. Samoa is one of them.

If you were being cynical, you would say the GCF is for easing the guilty conscience of those more industrialized countries that are causing most of the problems we now find ourselves in. Blood money payment.

Here’s a few of the things the GCF aspires to do:

  • Aim for 50:50 balance between mitigation and adaptation investments over time.  Adaptation is dealing with the impacts of climate change. (eg. Building a seawall.) Mitigation means efforts to reduce or prevent greenhouse gas emissions. That includes using new technology and renewable energy (eg.Tokelau going solar)  making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices/consumer behavior.
  • At least 50% of adaptation funding should go to the most vulnerable countries.
  • Be flexible and try to match project needs.  Have a variety of financial instruments available, including grants, concessional loans, subordinated debt, equity, and guarantees.
  • Direct private sector engagement in transformational climate-sensitive investments through the Private Sector Facility (PSF).

The GCF matters a great deal to Samoa. It is the boss of a great deal of money, which can potentially make a great deal of difference to not only Samoa, but many other SIDS. (If they can make it through the funding application process.)

There are nine funding proposals up for consideration at this GCF meeting.  They have already gone through the extensive four stages of proposal review and the approval process. One of these nine is Funding Proposal 37  from Samoa, (through the accredited entity UNDP) titled, ‘Integrated Flood Management to Enhance Climate Resilience of the Vaisigano River’  which asks for a total of $57.7 million USD (approx 140 million tala)  with leverage domestic financing of $8million USD. You can read more about it here.

We look forward to the outcomes from this 15th GCF Board meeting!

(And in the meantime, I am being a good parent and changing all my children’s subjects for next year.)

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