The Green Climate Fund (GCF) operates through a network of Accredited Entities (AEs), who work directly with developing countries to propose projects and programmes to the GCF for funding, and to implement them once approved. These entities include multilateral and national banks, international financial institutions, development finance institutions, UN agencies, conservation organisations, equity funds, government agencies, regional institutions, etc.
As outlined in section 7.3 of the GCF’s Environmental and Social Policy, accredited entities are required to inform communities (likely to be) affected by GCF-financed activities about the grievance and redress mechanisms, across GCF, accredited entity and project levels.
“It is the responsibility of the accredited entities to require and ensure that their grievance mechanisms and the activities’ grievance mechanisms are functioning effectively, efficiently, legitimately, and independently in a manner that is accessible, equitable, predictable, transparent, and that allows for continuous learning.”
However, not all AEs are created equal, and their capacity to address complaints varies from one organisation to another. The IRM’s research had shown that some grievance redress mechanisms (GRMs) were either non-existent, weak or lacked capacity. Many are still at a relatively early stage of developing their mandates, policy, procedures, and staffing.
The IRM, as one of its five key functions, works with GCF accredited entities to help them build capacity related to grievance mechanisms and procedures. The Board mandate to the IRM is critical in ensuring that GRMs, are in place, and appropriately structured, so that accountability exists at all levels and conflicts and disputes at the project level can be addressed properly by AEs.
One way the IRM builds the capacity of GRMs is through an online training course on how to set and operate a GRM, which is available on the “GCF iLearn platform”. While this training is primarily designed to strengthen the GRMs of AEs of the Green Climate Fund, it is equally beneficial for individuals and institutions interested in learning about how to set up and implement an effective GRM.
Another way in which the IRM builds capacity is through specialized one-to-one support to GRMs. From October to December 2021, the IRM worked with the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) to support seven GRMs. CBI worked with the GRMs to identify their key priorities, provide advice on work plans, and discuss the GCF accreditation process. The one-to-one capacity-building support is designed to strengthen each GRM’s ability to address complaints and provide redress. For the GRMs at the early stages of development, CBI advises staff to:
- become well informed about the GCF’s GRM requirements and about good practices in GRM design and operation (including recognition that the complexity and capacity of the GRM should be scaled to the grievance risks and contexts that it is likely to encounter);
- engage their organisation’s senior management in dialogue to educate management about GRM requirements and good practices;
- clarify and confirm with senior management the GRM’s mandate, independence and reporting line, scope and eligibility criteria, and staffing needs;
- clarify the situations in which their organisation, acting as a GCF AE, should require implementing partners to establish project-level grievance mechanisms (GMs), and how the GRM will oversee those GMs and serve as a recourse for project stakeholders who are not satisfied with the operation of GMs.
For more established GRMs, CBI recommends staff to recognise the limitations in existing policies, procedures, and norms, and use constructive dialogue and questioning to develop solutions that take into account their given operating histories and current status.
"This training presented enlightening and invaluable learning experiences," said Tess Vaetoru, Development Programme Manager, Ministry of Finance and Economic Management, Cook Islands. "The links to GCF’s and other organisations’ GRMs and IRMs, and actual grievance cases were useful resources for strengthening our own processes. Since completing this training, our teams have been undertaking training and outreach on Grievance Redress Mechanisms to ensure that our stakeholders and rightsholders are aware of our responsibilities as a Direct Access Entity and their rights and entitlements as rightsholders and project beneficiaries.”
Due to the success and interest in the one-to-one format, the IRM will continue to offer this specialised capacity building support to a select number of GRMs in 2022.