UNFCCC Finance Committee Considers Biennial Assessment of Climate Finance Flows

UNFCCC18 June 2014: At its seventh meeting, the Standing Committee on Finance (SCF) of the UNFCCC continued discussions of the first biennial assessment and overview of climate finance flows (BA), which is the first time such an assessment is being conducted under the auspices of the UNFCCC. SCF also took up the fifth review of the financial mechanism (the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF)) on the basis of a draft technical paper.

Stefan Schwager (Switzerland) and Diann Black-Layne (Antigua and Barbuda) co-chaired the meeting, which took place from 16-18 June 2014, in Bonn, Germany. In addition to the BA and review of the financial mechanism, participants addressed coherence and coordination for financing of forests, and the issue of draft guidance for the operating entities of the financial mechanism. The Committee also considered measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) of support beyond the BA.

As explained by Seyni Nafo (Mali) and Outi Honkatukia (Finland), the BA is a presentation of "metadata," pulling information from Biennial Reports (BRs) and statistics from financial and research institutions, and has three tracks of research: a review of methodologies; collection of data; and development of the assessment. They noted such challenges as the lack of a common definition of "climate finance" or a universal, standardized system for reporting finance flows. Comments on the BA are solicited until 4 July 2014, and a number of intersessional conference calls will continue work on this agenda item.

Black-Layne reported on the preliminary findings from the technical paper on the financial mechanism review, commenting on progress as well as room for improvement in the areas reviewed, which include: transparency; stakeholder involvement; safeguards; standards; responsiveness; mobilization and delivery of financial resources; and results achieved. While noting that it is too early for a full evaluation of the GCF's operations, Black-Layne stated that the GEF's impact has been significant for the resources available, though the scale of the climate change chalenge requires much more globally. She asked members to review and comment on the paper over the subsequent four weeks.

SCF then turned to the issue of coherence and coordination in forests-related financing. Most Committee members expressed a desire for a more comprehensive background paper on the subject, which would include types of financing outside of a market-based REDD+ mechanism. It was noted that SCF would not be able to offer recommendations without an updated background paper that gives a fuller picture of the forest finance landscape. It was agreed a small working group would take up the issue further intersessionally to provide an updated document in advance of SCF's next meeting.

On the issue of draft guidance for the operating entities, members decided to submit elements of draft guidance with the aim of agreeing on a draft decision in time to be forwarded to COP 20. Failing that, members agreed that submissions made intersessionally could either be compiled in a template, to be presented as is to the COP or be compiled into a draft decision by the co-chairs, who would indicate that it is the co-chairs' proposal only. On MRV beyond the BA, the co-chair asked for elements of a work plan for 2015 by mid-July, so that a draft work plan defining how issues in this area can be sequenced and tackled can be ready by the next SCF meeting, which is tentatively set for the last week of September 2014. [SCF 7 Meeting Webcast] [SCF 7 Meeting Agenda and Documents] [IISD RS Sources]