Design challenges for the Green Climate Fund

Briefing papers
January 2011
Neil Bird, Jessica Brown and Liane Schalatek

One of the achievements of the UNFCCC negotiations in Cancun was the decision to establish a Green Climate Fund (GCF).  Many are looking to the establishment of this fund as the solution to adequately and appropriately address climate finance; others caution that ambitious steps need to be taken to avoid the ‘Green Fund’ turning out to be an ‘Empty Fund’ whose function is limited to attaining the buy-in of developing countries into a binding international climate policy regime.

The design of the GCF has to address a large number of concerns, the details of which remain unresolved within the negotiations.  Issues relating to what role it will play in providing sustainable finance at scale; how it will fit into the existing development assistance and climate financing architecture; how it will allocate finance to developing countries; and how finance will be delivered effectively, all remain to be clarified.  This represents an ambitious agenda and much progress will need to be made quickly if a working proposal is to be put to the delegates at the next COP meeting. 

This paper offers an early contribution to the debate by highlighting some of the more pressing design issues and describing the implications of these features.

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