Strengthening Geneva as a Hub for Environmental Concerns

Bern, 12.04.2012 - Switzerland has announced its candidacy as host State for the permanent Secretariat of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). On April 12th it submitted its offer to domicile the Fund in Geneva. At the same time, Switzerland is running for a seat on the GCF’s Executive Board. This would make it possible to create synergies as various organizations active in the domain of the environment are already represented in Geneva.

Without international support, developing countries, which have to cope with problems caused by poverty, are unable to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and undertake the measures necessary to adapt to climate change. The international community is seeking to increase the climate-targeted financial support provided to these countries to an annual amount of USD 100 billion. The Green Climate Fund, founded in 2010 with the Cancun agreements, is slated to play a key role in this regard. It is to administer sums in the order of tens of billions, and invest in developing countries. In the start-up phase, the World Bank is to act as trustee for the GCF.

By 2014, the Secretariat of the GCF is to have a definitive home. At its 4 April 2012 meeting, the Federal Council decided to strive for a Swiss seat on the Executive Board of the GCF, while simultaneously submitting Switzerland’s candidacy as host State for the permanent Secretariat in Geneva. The government of the Canton of Geneva has decided to support Switzerland’s candidacy as host State for the Secretariat. For reasons of efficiency, it is sensible to institutionally and geographically concentrate processes and organizations that are related in content. Geneva and the region bordering the Lake of Geneva form a major hub for international environmental policy and a centre in which numerous international organizations and NGOs are headquartered.

Geneva hosts the headquarters of the World Meteorological Organization, along with the Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Global Earth Observation Initiative. All these organizations have utmost relevance in climate issues. In addition, in 2011 Geneva was designated as the location for the Secretariat of the Global Framework for Climate Services.

A Regional Office of the United Nations Environment Programme is located in Geneva. Other organizations active in the financing of climate measures, namely the World Bank and the UN Development Programme, have representations there. This makes Geneva a strategically significant location for political and scientific work in the environmental domain, and increasingly in the climate domain as well. The GCF fits very well into this institutional landscape and can contribute significantly to enhancing international Geneva.

In addition to Switzerland, both Germany and South Korea have also offered themselves as prospective host countries of the GCF. At present, the provisional Secretariat of the GCF is in Bonn. The decision on the definitive location, from 2014, is in the hands of the GFC Executive Board and the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. During the course of the year, the Executive Board will examine the candidacies and will submit a concrete proposal in December 2012.

Michel Mordasini, Head of SDC’s Global Cooperation Department, 031 322 34 76
Franz Perrez, Head of the International Division at the FOEN, 079 251 90 15
Daniel Birchmeier, Responsible for Strategic Issues at Economic Cooperation and Development Division of SECO, 031 324 08 99

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