Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Representing Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, Maryknoll Sisters, and Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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MOGC signs letter to GCF for environmental, social protections

The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns was one of many signatories on the following letter to the board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

The letter expresses our unified call for the adoption of the most robust environmental and social protections possible at the GCF. It addresses principles and standards with regard to sovereignty, self-determination, and the fulfillment of State obligations; the “do no harm” principle; financial intermediaries; financial integrity and anti-corruption; public consultation and free, prior and informed consent; equity, non-discrimination and inclusion; transparency; and compliance with international law and upward harmonization with the highest national and international standards.

The GCF was designated as an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in accordance with Article 11 of the Convention.

The letter is also attached as a PDF at the bottom of this page.

October 3, 2013

Dear Members and Alternate Members of the Board of the Green Climate Fund:

We are organizations, movements and civil society groups from developing countries with decades of experience working for the rights and aspirations of peoples and communities. We are writing to express our unified call for the adoption of the most robust environmental and social protections at the Green Climate Fund.i We are joined in solidarity by the undersigned organizations based in developed countries.

Consistent with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other relevant international agreements, developed countries are obligated to provide the necessary finance to enable affected peoples to deal with climate impacts, build resilience, and shift to more sustainable, equitable low carbon development pathways. Similarly, States have the obligation to their citizens and all peoples to use climate funds for these purposes effectively and responsibly in a democratic, accountable, and transparent manner that respects human rights and does not harm the environment.ii

The following principles, obligations, and standards must be upheld by and applied to the GCF, the governments that contribute to or receive GCF funds, members of the GCF Board, and non-State actors that receive funds or implement GCF funded projects. These principles, obligations, and standards must apply to all GCF activities -- operations, modalities, terms of financing arrangements, financial instruments, financial intermediaries, projects, sub-projects, programs, etc.

Sovereignty, self-determination, and the fulfillment of State obligations - The GCF must respect the sovereignty and self-determination of developing countries and their peoples. GCF funding should not be used as leverage to impose on recipient governments conditionalities that are extrinsic to fiduciary terms and mutual obligations of financial arrangements. Likewise, States should not invoke sovereignty as a reason for failing to fulfill their obligations to deliver on the following principles, obligations and standards, which are not conditionalities and must be upheld and operationalized by the GCF as a public institution.

“Do no harm” principle - GCF activities should not have harmful impacts, whether social, gender, economic, or environmental. To ensure and verify that harm is not done, the GCF must develop strict mandatory due diligence and review procedures for all access modalities and all Fund activities to ensure compliance with the “do no harm” principle and rigorous monitoring of directly and indirectly financed activities throughout their lifetime.

Binding “do no harm” language must be included in all contracts, sub-contracts, and agreements. GCF finance must not trigger involuntary displacement (shelter and/or livelihoods), nor be used to fund fossil fuel projects.

Financial intermediaries (FIs) - It is especially difficult for FIs and other conduits of indirect finance to ensure adherence to the “do no harm” principle, as was clearly demonstrated by a 2013 CAO audit carried out on the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s large FI portfolio.iii The IFC was proven unable to trace, understand or document the environmental and social impacts of its FI investments, presenting a dangerous risk to the environment and affected communities. We are opposed to the use of international FIs by the GCF. The use of domestic FIs, many of which are also opaque and non-transparent, must only be considered if directly proposed by recipient countries for their climate programs. In such cases, the GCF must then ensure due diligence in adequate assessment of the potential environmental and social impacts and risks associated with the FI’s existing and likely future portfolio; full public disclosure, consultation, and documentation of free, prior, and informed consent on all FI subprojects; and permanent transparent monitoring throughout the lifetime of projects and subprojects.

Financial integrity and anti-corruption - Financial accounting and procurement practices should adhere to the highest international standards. The sources of funds must be demonstrably free of links to money laundering.

There must be no use of secrecy jurisdictions/tax havens for domiciling funds flowing to or from the GCF. Any links to public officials, their family members, or associates must be made public and publicly examined to ensure freedom from corruption. There should be no provision of immunity for violations of the law by those carrying out any service as part of the GCF.

Public consultations; fully documented free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC); and grievance mechanism - The GCF must carry out regular public consultations about its operations, programs, and projects in a manner that is responsive and appropriate to the needs and concerns of affected groups and communities. These consultations should be transparent, inclusive, and in accordance with the international right of FPIC. The GCF should ensure upward harmonization with the highest standards and practices. Consultations should cover concept, design, and location of the projects and programs; assumptions, objectives, and methodologies; assessment of impacts and risks (economic, environment, gender, and social); and monitoring and evaluation. Information and all documents should be provided at least 120 days in advance of any funding decision – in languages that communities understand and with concerted outreach to marginalized groups. Special attention should be paid to affected communities through processes that uphold their right to make decisions about matters affecting their lives, livelihoods, and/or environment. This must include the right to veto projects or programs, as well as protection from intimidation and coercion by project proponents and their supporters.

Further, the GCF must provide an easily accessible independent complaints or grievance mechanism with civil society oversight.

Equity, non-discrimination and inclusion - The GCF must develop principles, criteria, and a clear system and indices for equitable and fair allocation of climate finance across countries, founded on consensus and agreement by developing countries with full input by civil society groups from developing countries. The GCF should not finance activities that reinforce inequities and discrimination across and within countries. No country, or population group within a country, should suffer discrimination, exclusion, or marginalization on the basis of economic status, gender, race/ethnicity/caste, religious belief, or other social constructs. All GCF activities and measures must be based on an equitable assessment of capacities, potential, vulnerabilities, and the needs of countries, peoples, and groups. Inclusion as an operational guideline logically extends from diligent compliance with principles of equity and non-discrimination.

Transparency – The Governing Instrument of the GCF mandates it to operate in a transparent and accountable manner.iv Maximum transparency – to the public, and especially to those most affected by the climate crisis – and avoidance of the use of “business confidentiality” clausesv are prerequisites for compliance with the aforementioned principles, standards, and obligations. Live web streaming of the GCF Board Meetings is a fundamental first step for transparency.

Compliance with international law and upward harmonization with the highest national and international standards - The GCF must operate in compliance with international law and binding obligations pertaining to human rights (including economic, social, cultural, gender, indigenous, and labor rights, among others), and the environment. In addition, all GCF activities must meet or exceed the highest of national and international standards on transparency, social and environmental protection, labor, gender, and Indigenous Peoples rights.

Standards should account for gender segregated baseline information, and assessment of direct, indirect, induced, cumulative, and long term social, gender, and environmental impacts and risks associated with proposed financing. Further, there must be recognition that human and environmental rights obligations have primacy over financial obligations.

Thank you for your serious consideration of these most important matters.




Jubilee South – Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development (JSAPMDD)

Africa Jubilee South

African Biodiversity Network

African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD)

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Asian Indigenous Women's Network

Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA)

Association of African Women for Research and Development

Climate Action Network (CAN) South Asia

Focus on the Global South

Friends of the Earth International

Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives

Global Forest Coalition

IBON International

Indigenous Peoples' Global Partnership on Climate Change and Forests

Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA)

International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

LDC Watch

Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA)

NGO Forum on the ADB

No REDD in Africa Network (NRAN)

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)

Red SUSWATCH (Observatorio de la Sostenibilidad)

South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE)

Third World Network



Aksi for Gender, Social and Ecological Justice, Indonesia

Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, Philippines

Alyansa Tigil Mina, Philippines

Ateneo School of Government, Philippines

Bangladesher Jatiyo Sramik Jote-BJSJ, Bangladesh

Bangladesh Krishok Federation

Centre for Environmental Justice/Friends of the Earth Sri Lanka

Campaign for a Life of Dignity for All (KAMP), Philippines

Campaign for Climate Justice (CCJN), Nepal

All Nepal Peasants Federation

All Nepal Women’s Association

Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON), India

Citizens' Institute for Environmental Studies, Korea

Climate & Energy Group, Beyond Copenhagen collective (BCPH), India

Coastal CORE, Inc, Philippines

Cooperation of Small Islands - MIMAROPA, Philippines

debtWATCH Indonesia

Ecological Society of the Philippines

EcoWaste Coalition, Philippines

Environment Support Group, India

Equity BD, Bangladesh

Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN)

Freedom from Debt Coalition-Eastern Visayas, Philippines

Freedom from Debt Coalition, Philippines

Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy, Philippines

Haburas Foundation/Friends of the Earth East Timor

Himalaya Niti Abhiyan, India

Human Rights Alliance Nepal

Indian Social Action Forum

Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, Philippines

Institute for Essential Services Reform, Indonesia

Jagaran Nepal

Jagrata Juba Shangha (JJS), Bangladesh

Jatio Sramik Jote, Bangladesh

Kalayaan, Philippines

Keystone Foundation, India

KFEM/Friends of the Earth Korea

Kitanglad Integrated NGOs (KIN), Philippines

Koalisi Anti Utang, Indonesia

Maleya Foundation, Bangladesh

mines, minerals and People, India

Nabodhara, Bangladesh

National Coastal Women’s Movement, India

National Forum for Advocacy, Nepal (NAFAN)

Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Pakistan

Pakistan Kissan Rabita Committee, Pakistan

Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (National Rural Women Congress), Philippines

Partnership for Clean Air, Inc. Philippines

Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Philippines

Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement

Pro Public/ Friends of the Earth Nepal

Project Survival Pacific: Fiji's Youth Climate Movement, Fiji

Public Advocacy Initiative for Rights and Values in India (PAIRVI), India

Resource Integration Centre, Bangladesh

River Basin Friends, India

Rural Reconstruction Nepal

Sanlakas, Philippines

Sarilaya, Philippines

Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL), India

Sibuyan Island Sentinels League for Environment Inc., Philippines

Solidaritas Perempuan (Women's Solidarity For Human Rights) - Indonesia

Stree Mukti Sanghtana, India

Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition

Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education) - Philippines

The Ecological Justice, Indonesia

Vasudha Foundation, India

VOICE, Bangladesh

WOCAN (Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and NRM), Thailand


Abibiman Foundation, Ghana

Alliance Nationale de lutte contre la Faim et la Malnutrition (ACFM), Niger

Alternative Information and Development Center (AIDC) , South Africa

AMASOT (Association pour le Marketing Social au Tchad), N'Djaména (Tchad)

Association Nigérienne des Scouts de l'Environnement (ANSEN), Niger

Center for 21st Century Issues, Nigeria

Centre for Civil Society, Durban, South Africa

Daughters of Mumbi Global Resource Center, Kenya

Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria

Ethiopian Consumer Society

Friends of the Earth-Ghana

GrassRootsAfrica, Ghana

groundwork/Friends of the Earth South Africa

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nigeria

Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Nakuru, Kenya

Jeunes Volontaires pour l'Environnement (JVE-Togo)

Justica Ambiental (JA!) / Friends of the Earth Mozambique

Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Nigeria

Le Forum National sur la Dette et la Pauvreté de Côte d'Ivoire

Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), Malawi

Million Climate Jobs Campaign, South Africa

NGO Coalition for Environment, Calabar, Nigeria

Niger Delta Women's movement for Peace and Development

Organisation de Bienfaisance et de développement, Djibouti

PAEDD, Senegal


Social Forum Senegal

Somali Organisation for Community Development Activities (SOCDA)

Worldview-The Gambia

Youth Network for MDG, Madagascar

Zambia Climate Change Network


ACICAFOC, Honduras

Bolivian Climate Change Platform, Bolivia

CEMDA, Mexico

Centro Humboldt, Nicaragua


Dejusticia, Bogota, Colombia

Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales DAR, Peru

Eco Sitio, Argentina

Equidad, Mexico

Fronteras Comunes, Mexico

FUNAM, Fundación para la defensa del ambiente, Argentina

Fundacion Solar, Guatemala

Instituto de Políticas para el Transporte y el Desarrollo, Mexico

Instituto del Tercer Mundo of Montevideo, Uruguay

La Fundación de Iniciativas de Cambio Climático, Honduras

LIDEMA, Bolivia

M´Biguá, Ciudadanía y Justicia Ambiental, Entre Ríos, Argentina

Programa de Integridad en el Financiamiento Climático, Mexico

Taller Ecologista, Argentina

i For further background, see “Submission to the GCF Board, Jubilee South – Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development,” March 11, 2013.

ii The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action highlight the fact that governments should be inclusive in setting up national policies and plans -- including through consultation with CSOs; should be consistent with their international commitments on gender equality, human rights, disability, and environmental sustainability; fight corruption; and be transparent and accountable to people in developing and donor countries.

iii CAO Audit of a Sample of IFC Investments in Third-Party Financial Intermediaries. Office of the Compliance Advisor-Ombudsman, World Bank Group, February 2013.

iv Governing Instrument of the Green Climate Fund, paragraph 3 under Objectives and guiding principles.

v “Confidentiality” should be narrowly defined and applied only to strictly limited and specific data contained in project documents (e.g. home addresses of project proponents, a specific formula calculated for a specific project, etc.).



Global and Regional Networks

ActionAid International

BirdLife International

CARE Poverty, Environment and Climate Change Network (CARE PECCN)

Conservation International

European Network on Debt and Development (Eurodad)

Feminist Task Force

Food & Water Europe in Europe

Food & Water Watch in North America

Global Witness


International Forum on Globalization

Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF)

Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)

WWF International

National Networks and Organizations

North America

American Environmental Health Studies Project, USA

Bank Information Center, USA

Center for Biological Diversity, USA

Center for International Environmental Law, USA

Disciples Justice Action Network, USA


Ecumenical Peace Institute/Clergy and Laity Concerned, Northern California, USA

Environmental Investigation Agency USA

Environmental Investigation Agency, US

Friends of the Earth Canada

Friends of the Earth US

Green Chalice (Disciples of Christ), USA

Heinrich Boell Foundation North America

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy

Institute for Policy Studies, Climate Policy Program, USA

International Rivers

Jubilee USA Network

Labor Network for Sustainability, USA

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, USA

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Justice, Peace/Integrity of Creation Office, USA

Oil Change International

Pacific Environment, USA

Rainforest Action Network, USA

SF Bay Area Jubilee Coalition, USA

Sierra Club, USA

‘Ulu Foundation, USA


11.11.11 - Coalition of the Flemish North-South Movement, Belgium

Alliance Sud, Switzerland

Both ENDS, The Netherlands

Bretton Woods Project, UK


Centre national de coopération au développement, CNCD-11.11.11, Belgium

Christian Aid, UK

Ecologistas en Acción (Spain)

Forest Peoples Programme, UK

Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland

InspirAction (Christian Aid), Spain

Jubilee Debt Campaign, UK

KULU - Women and Development, Denmark

Naturvernforbundet/Friends of the Earth Norway

NOAH Friends of the Earth Denmark

Réseau Action Climat-France

Tearfund, UK

United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), UK

World Development Movement, UK


Alliance for a Clean Environment, Australia


Climate Action Network Australia

Climate Justice Programme, Australia

Friends of the Earth Australia

Jubilee Australia