Civil Society to Green Climate Fund: Don’t Shut Us Out!

Co-­â€Chairs and members of the Board of the Green Climate Fund March 12, 2013
Via GCF Interim Secretariat

Dear Co-­â€Chairs and members of the Board:

We, the undersigned organizations from developing and developed countries, wish to express our concern about the current practices and proposed rules for civil society participation in the Green Climate Fund. We urge the Board to adopt permanent observer and stakeholder accreditation and participation procedures to enable members of civil society to be effective advocates for the Fund.

The active and engaged participation of civil society at the Board and country level is essential for creating an effective, equitable and environmentally sound Fund that can be responsive to the differentiated needs of men and women, minorities and indigenous peoples increasingly impacted by climate change.

When civil society organizations (CSO) are engaged in planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programs and projects, it is more likely that these will meet local needs, respond to current conditions and accomplish the Fund’s objectives. In addition, civil society organizations can serve as advocates for multilateral climate finance in their countries, and are critical for shaping positive public opinion of and national support for the Green Climate Fund.

The Board and the Fund can only benefit from the expertise, experience and support of civil society if our engagement is meaningful. Limiting CSO access and participation risks undercutting public confidence in the GCF.

To guarantee effective engagement, the GCF must meet the principles and legal obligations of public participation stipulated in international agreements such as Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, the Rio+20 outcome document, the Aarhus Convention, the Almaty guidelines, and Articles 4 and 6 of the UNFCCC. The fund should also build on existing best practices of public participation -­â€ including those used by the Global Environment Facility, the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria — rather than permitting a retreat to operations that are less transparent and accountable, as is currently the case.

To enhance transparency and participation in accordance with other successful models of civil society engagement and stakeholder participation, the GCF’s Additional Rules of Procedure must:

  • Make documents publicly available in a manner to permit adequate time to review and submit comments;
  • Provide that Board meetings will be webcast;
  • Allow active observers to propose agenda items, propose expert input and make interventions as issues arise in the agenda;
  • Allow active observers to participate in all Board and committee meetings, absent special circumstances requiring their closure;
  • Permit civil society active observers to have alternates, the alternate would be able to make interventions only in the absence of the active observer;
  • Permit civil society active observers from developing countries to rotate, and sufficient financial resources to be made available to support their effective participation. Allowing rotation and financial support ensures that civil society from developing countries is represented;
  • Create a formal transparent and open self␣selection process for active observers that is fully funded, similar to that of the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs);
  • Allow all registered observers in the Board meeting room, with an overflow room only used when there is genuine lack of space;
  • Instruct Board members to hold meaningful consultations with civil society observers before each meeting; and.
  • Formalize a mechanism by which written submissions from civil society can be received and considered in the decision-­â€making process, allowing adequate time for review and preparation of comments.

Several of these issues have been at least partially addressed in the newest 20 February draft of the Additional Rules of Procedure, and we urge that these changes be retained or further improved in the final version. To this effect, we have proposed a number of additional textual revisions to further increase transparency and facilitate meaningful public participation, which we have included as an Annex to this letter.

Enabling the rapid and effective implementation of the Fund is a goal we share with members of the GCF Board. It is with a sense of mutual responsibility that we urge you to adopt rules of civil society participation/stakeholder engagement in Berlin that enable our organizations to help build a Green Climate Fund that meets the needs of the countries and communities most impacted by climate change.


Accountability Counsel (United States)

ActionAid (International)

Beyond Copenhagen collective (India)

Biosfera Foundation (Argentina)

BirdLife International (International)

Both ENDS (The Netherlands)

Campaign for Climate Justice (Nepal)

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (Georgia)

Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (United Kingdom)

Centre for 21st century Issues -­â€C21st (Nigeria)

Center for Biological Diversity (United States)

Center for International Environmental Law (United States)

Center for Law, Justice and Society -­â€Dejusticia (Colombia)

Centre National de Coopération au Développement (Belgium)

Climate Action Network Australia

Climate Action Network Europe

Climate Action Network Latin America

Climate Action Network United States

CTS-­â€EMBARQ (Mexico)

Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales-­â€ DAR (Peru)

Earth Peoples (International)

Earth in Bracket (United States)

Ecological Society of the Philippines (Philippines)

Equity and Justice Working Group Bangladesh

EquityBD (Bangladesh)

Environmental Education and Communication. S.A. (Mexico)

Freedom from Debt Coalition (Philippines)Friends of the Earth (Canada)

Friends of the Earth (Curacao)

Friends of the Earth (Ghana)

Friends of the Earth (Malaysia)

Friends of the Earth U.S. (United States)

Friends World Committee for Consultation–Quakers (International)

Foundation for GAIA (United Kingdom)

Fundar, Center for Analysis and Investigation (Mexico)

Greenovation Hub (China)

Global Environment Centre (Malaysia)

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (International)

Heinrich Böll Foundation North America (United States)

Heinrich Böll Foundation Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean (Mexico)

Humboldt Center (Nicaragua)

IBON International (International)

Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin ␣ COICA (Regional)

Indonesian Civil Society Forum for Climate Justice-­â€CSF-­â€CJI (Indonesia)

Institute for Transportation and Development Policy-­â€ITDP (Mexico)

Institute for Policy Studies, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network (United States)

Institute for Strategic Research and Development Studies (Philippines)

Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense-­â€AIDA (Regional)

Jamaa Resource Initiatives (Kenya)

Jeunes Volontaires pour l’Environment (Nepal)

Jubilee South -­â€ Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (International)

Korean Federation for Environmental Movement/Friends of the Earth Korea (South Korea)

Labor Network for Sustainability (United States)

LDC Watch (International)

Mexican Center for Environmental Law–CEMDA (Mexico)

Mexican Civil Council for sustainable forestry (Mexico)

National Forum for Advocacy-­â€NAFAN (Nepal)

Nature Code (Austria)

Oxfam (United States)

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance -­PACJA (International)

Planetary Association for Clean Energy (Canada)

Rural Reconstruction RRN (Nepal)

Sierra Club (United States)

South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication SAAPE(Regional)

Sustainlabour (International)

International Trade Union Confederation (International)

Tearfund (United Kingdom)

Transparency International (Germany)

Third World Network (International)

The People’s Movement on Climate Change (International)

Ulu Foundation (United States)

VOICE (Bangladesh)

Worldview-­â€The Gambia (Gambia)

World Council of Churches (International)

Zambia Climate Change Network (Zambia)

Green Climate Fund Board