President of the 17th Congress of the Parties, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, closed the plenary session of the meetings on November 30 with a commitment to continuing transparent and informal discussions on the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
She made these comments in response to concerns raised by the parties after the transitional committee, tasked with making recommendations for the GCF, presented its draft report to the session.
"We can all strive to look forward, cooperate and assist me while working on the basis of what has been presented, to ensure the GCF becomes operational"
Remarks from the countries present argued that while the draft governing instrument was imperfect, the urgency of global climate change demanded that it be finalised in Durban and implemented as early as next year. The US representative said the fund had the potential to become a major funding institution, but noted that the transitional committee had operated under tough time constraints and had left work to be done before the fund could begin disbursing money.
The representative from Saudi Arabia argued that it should not be expected to contribute to the fund, but rather, as a fossil fuel-dependent state, it should rather receive money from the fund.
The Alliance of Small Island States said it was not satisfied with some of the principles in the draft document; nevertheless, it should be adopted without delay. The representative expressed concern that the fund did not have a solid enough relationship with the Conference of the Parties, thus blurring accountability. It was also unhappy that there were no dedicated funding windows for the least-developed countries.
The proposal of the 40-person delegation of the transitional committee on the draft governing instrument for the Green Climate Fund stated that the GCF should play a key role in channelling new, additional, adequate and predictable financial resources to developing countries. The Fund should promote sustainable development while allowing these nations to limit, or even reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to the consequences of climate Change, taking into consideration the role of agriculture as the foundation for the economies of most African countries.
When the GCF transitional committee was set up, the vision was to get rich nations to funnel money into climate mitigation and adaptation projects in developing countries. It will be governed and supervised by a Board that will have full responsibility for funding decisions.
In this light, Switzerland has offered to host the first meeting next year while the World Bank will serve as interim trustee for the fund, subject to review three years after the GCF is established.