The developing world will remember which rich countries kept their promises and which ones didn’t when it comes time to replenish the Green Climate Fund, the most important United Nations financing mechanism that will enable the majority of the world’s countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts.
So says Loren Legarda, deputy speaker of the Philippine House of Representatives, who also serves as an alternate member of the GCF board representing the Asia Pacific region.
The issue is gaining momentum in the lead-up to 2020, the year in which the Fund was to receive a major cash infusion after an initial round of US$10.3 billion in incoming contributions and a corresponding flow of dollars for 111 projects.
“It is the year by which the developed countries committed to jointly mobilize US$100 billion in climate finance per year—a promise made way back in 2009, at the 15th UN climate talks (COP 15) held in Copenhagen,” Legarda recalls, then formalized a year later at COP 16 and reaffirmed in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
But a decade later, she writes for Climate Home News, “I beg to ask: Will the developed countries be able to keep their promise?”
As recently as 2016, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development calculated that developing countries were on track to meet their 2020 pledge (though there were serious questions at the time about the methodology). “The analysis, however, came out three years ago, and the global political landscape has changed since then,” Legarda writes, with Donald Trump pulling his country out of the Paris deal and climate-denying Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison curtailing any future funds to the GCF.
Which is why all eyes are on replenishment negotiations that are already getting under way this fall. As that process unfolds, “developing countries remember those who stood by their words and delivered their commitments, in the same way that we will hold into account those who just stood by,” she declares. “We are making progress, but more needs to be done.”
The GCF will face heightened expectations with each passing year, “as developing countries further anticipate increased mobilization of climate finance,” Legarda writes. Beyond the basic issue of funding, “the GCF must urgently address the nuances and gaps in their financing policies, strategic direction, and investment criteria”, and boost its operational efficiency to maximize its impact in the countries it serves.