Meeting summary, 20 October 2021
Note for circulation to all Steering Committee members.
The Steering Committee of the Taskforce on Access to Climate Finance met for the fourth time on Wednesday 20 October 2021.
The fourth meeting continued discussions from the previous meeting on developing the Principles and Recommendations for the Taskforce and finalised the list of pioneer countries who will participate in the first trial of the approach.
Since the last meeting, the Steering Committee’s Informal Working Group (IWG) had met for in-depth technical conversations on the development of the Principles and Recommendations.
The UK and Fiji wrote to UN Permanent Representatives requesting direct expressions of interest to be pioneer countries, and subsequent conversations took place between the Secretariat and nominated countries.
In the Steering Committee, members discussed a near final version of the draft Principles and Recommendations and accompanying statement. Steering Committee members then discussed and agreed the following five pioneer countries: Bangladesh, Fiji, Jamaica, Rwanda and Uganda.
The meeting concluded with a discussion of event plans at COP26 and the future of the Steering Committee and Secretariat. The Steering Committee is due to meet in early 2022 to discuss the implementation phase of the Taskforce.
Vel Gnanendran (UK) and Vineil Narayan (FJ) opened the meeting as co-chairs.
Vineil Narayan set out the agenda for this meeting: discussion of the Principles and Recommendations and agreement of the pioneer countries and next steps, and finally a discussion on events at COP26 and the future of the Steering Committee and Secretariat.
Vel Gnanendran reminded the Steering Committee that this was the last Steering Committee meeting before COP26 and so highlighted the importance of reaching agreement on both the Principles and Recommendations and Pioneer Country selection.
Vel thanked Vineil, his team and all Steering Committee members for their continued work to get to this point.
Principles and recommendations
Vineil explained that the Secretariat had sent to the Steering Committee an initial draft of the Principles and Recommendations which incorporated feedback gathered from discussions at the
informal working group and with other interested partners. Since that document had been circulated the Secretariat had received further comments from Steering Committee members, which would be discussed at the meeting. Vineil Narayan mentioned that the Secretariat was also seeking endorsement on the draft statement to accompany the publication of the Principles and Recommendations.
The Secretariat then took the Steering Committee through proposed changes to the draft Principles and Recommendations, particularly focussing on Recommendations 3, 6, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15, 16 and 20 which had received the most substantive comments. Vineil Narayan emphasised that this version of the Principles and Recommendations reflecting these changes embodied the best congregation of ideas. The co-chairs sought views from Steering Committee members.
Steering Committee members welcomed the work that had gone into developing the Principles and Recommendations and incorporating previous comments into the updated version. Participants noted, inter alia, the importance of maintaining ambition of what the Taskforce does, whilst keeping within the mandate of the Taskforce. Participants also noted the importance of seeking a harmonisation of approaches, as this principle was agreed during the third steering committee meeting and was one of the foundations of the Taskforce.
The co-chairs drew members’ attention to the draft statement accompanying the Principles and Recommendations. Steering Committee members emphasised the importance of ensuring that the Principles and Recommendations are inclusive and framed as a public good open to all to use. Members suggested that the statement should reflect the iterative nature of the Principles and Recommendations and should mention that they will be reviewed in the future.
Vineil Narayan concluded the discussion by proposing the Secretariat send around a final version of the Principles and Recommendations and draft statement to Steering Committee members to seek endorsement under silence procedure. Vineil Narayan emphasised that the Principles and Recommendations are a living document which will be tested by the five pioneer countries and revised as appropriate.
Agreement of pioneer countries
Vel Gnanendran reminded the Steering Committee of the need to agree five pioneer countries who will take part in the first phase trial to implement the Principles and Recommendations.
The Secretariat had issued a general call for expression of interest via Permanent Representatives in New York, and published this on the COP26 website.
Vel Gnanendran explained that the Secretariat assessed all nominations against the four selection criteria agreed at the last Steering Committee meeting and proposed the following countries to take part in the first phase of the approach: Bangladesh, Fiji, Jamaica, Rwanda and Uganda.
The co-chairs emphasised the difficulty of narrowing down to five pioneer countries and explained that these countries were proposed as they scored well against the criteria and represented a geographical balance and range of circumstances. Vel Gnanendran emphasised that countries not acting as pioneers may be considered for future phases to trial the approach. The co-chair sought views from Steering Committee members.
Steering Committee Members agreed the list of pioneer countries, recognising the difficulty of the task in compiling them. The Secretariat agreed to reach out to selected pioneer countries as well as those who were not selected for participation in the first phase to inform them of the decision and next steps. The co-chairs emphasised the importance of moving quickly with communicating the outcome of the selection and confirming anchor countries.
Next steps at COP and beyond
The co-chairs discussed plans for showcasing the Principles and Recommendations at COP26 and encouraged Steering Committee members to highlight the work of the Taskforce during interventions and engagements at COP. Vel Gnanendran explained that the Principles and Recommendations, and list of pioneer countries, will be announced at Finance Day on 3 November during the event called ‘Investing in a more resilient world’, as well as during a specific side-event event on the Taskforce.
Members recognised the outreach that has been done to date on the Taskforce, and also emphasised the need to highlight the Principles and Recommendations in other fora after COP26.
The co-chairs discussed how to take forward the work of the Steering Committee and the Taskforce post COP26, in order to support the pioneer countries and ensure that outcomes are met, as well as the importance of ensuring funding for the new approach is secured. Vineil Narayan emphasised the need to find a permanent home for the Secretariat, and to agree a mechanism for taking work forward.
The co-chairs thanked participants and gave a brief summary of the meeting, including key actions to be taken in the run up to COP26.
The Secretariat will be in touch with Steering Committee members to confirm arrangements for the next Steering Committee meeting, which will take place in January 2022.
This will focus on ensuring implementation in the Pioneer Countries is proceeding, discussing next steps in the Taskforce’s work, and considering options for the Secretariat.