After 18 months of careful preparations, the formation of a representative Steering Committee consisting of non-state actors and agreement on an initial work plan, civil society leaders and observers to the CIF’s trust fund (TF) committees launched the Stakeholder Advisory Network (SAN) on Climate Finance at COP 22 in Marrakech.

In a full room at the UN climate conference in Morocco, Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland, and President of the Mary Robinson Foundation, congratulated stakeholders with the launch of the SAN. “SAN is an initiative that builds trust in climate finance and therefore I warmly welcome it”, she said. “Transparency and accountability are necessary for building trust, and SAN does just that. We need trust in using climate finance and fighting climate change.”

 Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland, and
President of the Mary Robinson Foundation

The SAN launch in Marrakech was co-hosted by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and Transparency International (TI) with support of the CIF. The SAN will coordinate the work of non-state actors so that climate governance is inclusive, participatory, and transparent and is accountable at all levels of climate finance decision-making. Its aim is to strengthen the partnership of non-state actors with climate finance entities to meet the needs of those most vulnerable to climate change. The SAN will be steered by a governing committee consisting of civil society members, Indigenous Peoples and private sector representatives and will be supported by a secretariat backed by the Climate Investment Funds.

It was a full house for the SAN launch in Marrakech

Aside from the keynote speaker Mary Robinson, at the launch other congratulatory comments were heard from panelists Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Leonardo Martinez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy and Environment of the US Treasury; Dr. Mary Goretti, State Minister for the Environment, Uganda and representatives of Practical Action, Transparency International and the International Chamber of Commerce.  The latter three organizations are also members of SAN’s current Steering Committee.

Dr. Mary Goretti, State Minister for the Environment, Uganda

The SAN builds on a tradition of inclusive decision-making and a transparent governance system of the CIF. The CIF's governing bodies have a total of 30 civil society representatives who can intervene at any time in the steering committee meetings. Learn more about the Observers’ role. Aaron Leopold of Practical Action, and a member of CIF’s trust fund committees, underscored this point: “CIF has been unique in including observers in their steering committees. Observers – from civil society, indigenous peoples, private sector – have a clear voice in those meetings.”

Trust Fund Committee member Leo Martinez of US Treasury emphasized the ‘reality checks’ non-state actors put forward to other decision makers. “It is very important to include observers of civil society in climate finance governance systems. They are a voice on the ground”, he added.

Mafalda Duarte, Head of the Climate Investment Funds, has seen the added value of civil society and non-state observers in climate finance decision-making from up close. “The CIF observers have been assisting the Trust Fund Committee members in broadening their perspectives, supporting transparency and accountability, and ensuring more targeted and effective climate action in participating countries.”

In her comments, Mary Robinson made a clear link between accountability of decisions and social justice and human rights. “Inclusive decision-making is cornerstone of the trust we need to build. I've seen climate change undermining human rights all over the world.  We cannot afford that climate change leads to humanitarian crises”, she said.

Ample attention was devoted to the special issues of Indigenous Peoples, and giving them a seat on the governance body, as emphasized UN Special Rapporteur Vicky Tauli-Corpuz. “It is very important to include indigenous peoples in SAN. Indigenous peoples’ rights are human rights. I welcome and congratulate the CIF with this new network”, she added.

In the coming months, a detailed work plan of the SAN will be made available to stakeholders. The main activities of the network will be around knowledge creation and analysis, capacity building and networking, advocacy strengthening, and monitoring and evaluation. The SAN secretariat is creating a virtual platform for knowledge-sharing and community-building, which will be launched mid-December, it plans to organize two to three face-to-face regional meetings for capacity building and networking in 2017.