IRM concludes first self-initiated preliminary inquiry

  • Article type News & articles
  • Publication date 15 May 2019

The Independent Redress Mechanism (IRM) of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has concluded its first self-initiated preliminary inquiry into GCF Funded Project 001 (FP001): Building the Resilience of Wetlands in the Province of Datem del Marañón, Peru. This was the first project approved by the GCF Board in 2015.

The decision to initiate the preliminary inquiry was motived by information contained in three civil society articles, which expressed concerns in relation to this project. These concerns included potential mis-categorization of the environmental and social risk profile of the project and lack of free, prior, informed consent (FPIC). The IRM undertook documentation review, interviews with key stakeholders, and held discussions with the GCF Secretariat which led to the Secretariat providing an undertaking to implement several remedial actions. With that, the IRM has reached a decision in its preliminary inquiry and has published a summary of its findings, including the undertakings provided by the GCF Secretariat.

Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the GCF, welcomed the outcome of this first self-initiated preliminary inquiry, noting that: "The Independent Redress Mechanism plays a very important role in helping GCF become a learning institution and we have been very happy to cooperate with the IRM in relation to this preliminary inquiry. The Secretariat have agreed a series of actions that will help to strengthen our work, ensuring that the Indigenous Peoples Policy can be fully implemented."

While it is generally preferable for people who have been adversely affected by a GCF project to bring their own complaint to the IRM, the IRM can initiate proceedings when certain criteria are met. These criteria are: (1) the IRM must have received information from a credible source that a GCF funded project or programme has adversely impacted or may adversely impact a person, group of persons or community; (2) the information received must, if true, pose a significant reputational risk to the GCF, and (3) the person(s) adversely impacted must be unable to access the IRM. The purpose of a preliminary inquiry is to identify whether these three criteria are satisfied.

In the case of FP001, the IRM’s review of the documentation found that some of the documents which served as critical pieces of evidence supporting the existence of FPIC of indigenous people were incomplete. The IRM also interviewed both internal and external stakeholders, which corroborated some of the concerns raised in the civil society articles that triggered the inquiry.

Although all of the conditions for a self-initiated proceeding were satisfied, the IRM is not obligated to move forward to full-scale proceedings under paragraph 12 of its TOR. The IRM has a discretion to do so.  Having considered many factors, as set out in its report, the IRM decided that it was more appropriate for it to engage directly with the Secretariat to develop timely remedial measures. As such, the IRM held two meetings with the GCF Secretariat during which time-bound undertakings from the Secretariat were provided, following the IRM’s recommendations. These undertakings are in relation to both institutional guidance - particularly around FPIC documentation requirements, and risk categorization in projects involving indigenous people - and specific undertakings concerning the process underway to establish a conservation area as part of the project.

The agreed actions are to be implemented by the end of 2019. Once the actions are successfully implemented, the IRM will close the case. In the event actions are not implemented satisfactorly, the IRM retains the option to initiate proceedings, and the information received that triggered the inquiry will be treated as an eligible complaint.