The Global Climate Fund (GCF), a new international financial institution (IFI) which aims to use lending to promote compliance with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is proposing to adopt an information disclosure policy. The Global Transparency Initiative (GTI) has prepared a Note on Better International Practices on Access to Information for the GCF Board, which will discuss this issue at its next meeting in Songdo, Republic of Korea, 25-28 June 2013.
“The GTI welcomes the fact that the background document calls on the GCF Board to adopt a strong openness policy,” said CLD Executive Director, Toby Mendel. “We have prepared this Note as an initial input into the process, with a view to steering the Board towards better openness standards from the very beginning.”
A policy paper prepared for the GCF Board, Information Disclosure, including Webcasting, proposes the adoption of an interim policy, to provide clear rules on information disclosure in the short term, followed by the adoption of a full policy, based on better practice at other IFIs, after a process of consultation with civil society. The GTI supports this approach. At the same time, the Note highlights some problems with the standards quoted in the policy paper, most importantly in relation to the regime of exceptions. This is an area where IFI information policies still lag far behind better practice national right to information laws.
Globally, there has been significant progress in terms of strengthening IFI information policies over the last five to ten years. We urge the GCF to continue this process, taking advantage of the gains while also avoiding the shortcomings of existing IFI policies. We specifically call on the GCF to ensure that the policy has a narrow regime of exceptions which is limited in scope to what is needed to protect legitimate interests against harm.