Green Climate Fund needs more resources

Hla Cheikhrouhou - GCF Executive DirectorHla Cheikhrouhou – GCF Executive DirectorThe fledgling Green Climate Fund, which aims to become a major channel for finance to tackle climate change in poorer nations, will need more staff if it is to meet a goal of allocating $US2.5 billion ($A3.43 billion) in 2016 for clean energy and adaptation projects, its executive director says.

Hla Cheikhrouhou says she will ask the fund’s board to approve an increase of between 80 and 120 new staff when it meets this week. The higher number would triple the size of the fund’s secretariat.

“The fund needs more staff because things are growing so fast, and the fund has aspirational targets for the work,” said Cheikhrouhou, who will leave in September at the end of a three-year term as the fund’s first leader.

The $US10.3 billion Green Climate Fund (GCF), set up under UN climate change negotiations, approved its first set of eight projects in November before the Paris climate summit. That funding, totalling $US168 million, has yet to be paid out.

As the GCF has started operations, its need for personnel specialised in areas such as managing risk or compliance has grown, Cheikhrouhou said.

“We need to have the tools and we need to have the people in place before we scale up further,” she added in an interview with Thomson Reuters Foundation from Songdo in South Korea where the fund is based.

Other international funds have a far higher number of staff, she noted. The GCF secretariat has 56 regular positions, most of them filled, and works with consultants on a temporary basis.

“If you compare us to other independent global funds of our scale, the Global Fund (to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria) has 650 staff and GAVI (the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation) more than 200,” she said.

Currently, the secretariat does not have enough staff to develop multiple sets of projects simultaneously, she noted.

That is one reason why an upcoming March 8-10 board meeting will not consider new project proposals but rather focus on policies and administrative processes that have yet to be sewn up.

As a result, the three other board meetings scheduled from June this year onwards face the challenging task of approving up to $US2.5 billion in project funding.

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