Green Climate Fund accreditation of Deutsche Bank sparks concern about integrity and reputation of Fund
As representatives of development, environment and social justice organizations engaged with the Board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) in Songdo, South Korea, we are tremendously discouraged and disappointed by today’s decision of the Board to accredit Deutsche Bank to receive and distribute GCF funds.
Deutsche Bank is one of the world’s largest financiers of coal. It has been criticized for its very poor record on human rights monitoring, was awarded the "Black Planet Award" for environmentally destructive business policies, and recently received a record fine for market manipulation and obstructing regulators. The GCF claims zero tolerance towards money-laundering, but has accredited Deutsche Bank despite the fact that two national regulators have this year fined it for the poor state of its anti-money-laundering governance.
The World Bank was also accredited by the GCF, despite its top-down, donor-driven nature that flies in the face of the GCF’s mandate to be more directly responsive to developing country and community needs – not to mention its poor track record on climate finance and concerns around human rights. Two other multilateral development banks with similar records, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), were likewise accredited.
Civil society has pushed for the creation of the Fund since the beginning, seeing it as an opportunity to break from bad existing practices and shift towards a model that is more responsive to the needs of vulnerable countries and communities, adopting a gender-sensitive approach and supporting a real paradigm shift to low-carbon, climate-resilient societies. By rushing the accreditation of large international private entities like Deutsche Bank through a non-transparent process, the Fund is at a real risk of losing credibility.
This is an outcome none of us want. We want the Green Climate Fund to succeed. But for it to do so, it needs to change direction away from accrediting controversial big banks that are heavily invested in fossil fuels and thus actually exacerbating climate change. If the GCF continues in such a direction, this would reinforce our fears that in the near future we may have to protest an institution we have thus far been supportive of and integral to creating.
The issues here go deeper than the individual entities mentioned. We are concerned that the GCF is becoming ever-more like the multilateral development banks and international private banks that it was meant to provide an alternative to.
The GCF decided to outsource the management of its programmes and projects to other institutions (“entities”), originally with the idea of making decisions more responsive to the needs of the countries and communities most affected by climate change. But the accreditation of many of the first 20 of these entities, and the process leading to their accreditation, tells a different story.
The Board chose to approve all 13 applicants presented for accreditation at the current GCF meeting in a single bloc, accrediting groups of entities in one go. This encouraged political horse-trading between Board members over which applicants get approved, leading to tit-for-tat approval of applicants despite very serious reservations. Some Board members raised concerns about Deutsche Bank, while other concerns were raised about the ability of the newly accredited CAF (Development Bank of Latin America) and the public-private African Finance Corporation to conduct due diligence on the highest risk (category A) projects.
Information presented to the Board by the Accreditation Panel was often partial and one-sided, with no substantial assessment of the track record of the institutions concerned, and reliance on official sources that are long on glowing praise and short on critical information about shortcomings and controversies. Civil society groups are not allowed to know the names of the applicants in advance of their approval. This makes it impossible to provide input on the track records of applicants, despite civil society’s in-depth, on the ground experience of the work of these institutions.
Summary report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the outcome of the full-day discussion on specific themes relating to human rights and climate change
Pursuant to its resolution 26/27, the Human Rights Council held a full-day discussion on 6 March 2015 on specific themes relating to human rights and climate change. Two panel discussions were held, the details of which are provided in the present report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The discussion was chaired by the President of the Human Rights Council and opened with a video message from the Secretary-General, followed by an address from the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The first panel discussion focused on identifying challenges and ways forward towards the realization of all human rights, including the right to development, for all, in particular those in vulnerable situations. It included the measures and best practices to promote and protect human rights that could be adopted by States in addressing the adverse effects of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights. The panel was moderated by the Executive Director of the South Centre, Martin Khor. The panellists were: the President of Kiribati, Anote Tong; the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali; the President of the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice, Mary Robinson; the Coordinator and Principal Legal Adviser in the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Dan Bondi Ogolla; the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz; and the Secretary-General of the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, Mithika Mwenda.
On Thursday, Pope Francis will issue a highly anticipated encyclical on man, religion and the environment, a text that is expected to influence the outcome of the Paris climate talks in December.
We know already what side he is on.
During a January visit to typhoon-ravaged villages in the Philippines — my home country — he called on humanity to protect the earth, which he called “a beautiful garden for the human family.” And he captured headlines last year when he called the destruction of South America’s rainforests a “sin.”
To the world’s 370 million indigenous people, many of whom live in overlooked and remote corners of the world, the Pope’s words offer hope — regardless of whether they share his spiritual beliefs. As some of the first victims of climate change by virtue of their dependence on the world’s natural resources, these communities are finding themselves on the front lines of the environmental crisis. They are playing David against governments and developers eager to destroy their pristine forests, fields and streams to build mines, dams and agricultural plantations, all in the name of what the Pope calls a “throw-away” economic system.
Video message of Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, for the side event on "Deforestation, Climate Finance and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples." The side event was held on 8 June 2015 at the World Conference Center in Bonn, Germany during the Bonn Climate Change Conference (1-11 June 2015). The event was organized by Tebtebba and the Forest Peoples Programme.