Letter from GGGI Director-General, October 2014

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10 November 2014

Yvo de Boer, Director-General of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) has issued his latest update, covering recent developments within GGGI and upcoming plans. The letter, originally published on gggi.org can be read below.

Dear Members of the Global Green Growth Institute,

Thank you for reading the October edition of my newsletter. It was yet another eventful month as we continued to flesh out the new strategy and move forward with restructuring the organization to make GGGI work more effectively and efficiently for our partner countries. I was rather busy meeting with various Member countries, potential member countries, and partner organizations explaining our new proposed strategy and GGGI’s vision for the future. I was quite pleased to find that it was met with keen interest and approval. I think we are on the right track to make GGGI truly unique and an effective advocate and implementor of green growth policies and practices.

Country Programs Update

I’d like to begin this month’s letter by talking a bit about what went on in some of our country programs. This month, I will focus on Indonesia and Colombia.

One of the biggest components of GGGI’s work in Indonesia is assisting with the development of a Green Growth Roadmap, complete with specific tools and methodologies, to support the government’s goal of greening their development planning process.

More specifically, the Roadmap will bring together evidence from practical, project-based experience and policy analyses to show just how green growth can work in Indonesia. It will also, among other things, contrast green growth benefits with the costs of business-as-usual, act as a guide to how green growth can be mainstreamed into the development planning process, show how to establish a monitoring framework with measurable success indicators, and propose specific policy actions needed in the short, medium, and long term to achieve green growth. The Roadmap will examine an array of sectoral opportunities for green growth such as oil and gas, mining, waste, manufacturing, forestry, agriculture, transportation, and tourism. It will also examine the emerging value of natural capital with identifying opportunities in carbon markets, eco-tourism, ecosystem services, and REDD+.

With that in mind, in mid October we hosted the Second Roadmap workshop at the Ministry of National Development Planning in Jakarta. This workshop focused on mainstreaming green growth in development planning.  Chief among the topics discussed were specific policies and methods needed to support outcomes that sustain economic growth, ensure social equity, and contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, there were 43 attendees who gave valuable input into the Roadmap document, a draft of which will be completed sometime in the middle of this month. I will be sure to keep everyone informed of the developments in this innovative project. I should also note our work there is generously supported by Norway.

And now a brief note about one of our more exciting developments in October. A joint mission of the Governments of Germany and Norway and Colombia’s Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (MADS) evaluated the feasibility of Colombia receiving funding through the “REDD + Early Movers,” or REM, program, an initiative of the German development bank KfW. If adopted in Colombia, the program will be financing activities under the framework of the Amazon Vision, which is a government initiative led by MADS and supported by GGGI to strengthen Colombia’s commitment towards zero net deforestation in this region by 2020. The four-year REM program could deliver funding in the order of $64.9 million.

The REM program operates under a payment-for-performance scheme that defines annual payments based on the amount of verified emission reductions achieved through deforestation avoided in the Colombian Amazon. The program proposal will include activities to address deforestation drivers, including no-deforestation agreements with farmers’ associations, strengthening environmental governance of the local authorities, improving productive sector planning and adoption of best practice, and promoting sustainable cattle ranching and agricultural systems.

It should be noted that part of the agreement says at least 60% of the resources to be allocated will directly benefit communities in the Colombian Amazon, while the remaining 40% will go for enabling policies to reduce deforestation. MADS is working with various government agencies and ministries on the design and implementation of these plans. GGGI has been supporting these agencies since 2013 in the forming of the Amazon Vision initiative and is now working closely with MADS to coordinate the preparation of the investment portfolio, governance scheme, financing mechanism and institutional coordination for the launch of the REM program in May 2015.

Organizational restructuring

After multiple consultations with our Member countries, including the June 2014 Council meeting, the Joint Donor Review, the Donor Consultative Group, and the Informal Working Groups, we have received the message loud and clear that there is urgent need of reform of GGGI’s organizational structure in order to position our operations effectively into the newly formulated value chain and service offerings.  As such, we have proposed to realign the organization’s main components.

This new structure is based on integration.  The Green Growth Planning & Implementation (GGP&I) division will continue to be geared toward tailor-made engagements for each country, but will now take a blended approach to the delivery model, involving different work streams in the newly proposed Knowledge Solutions Division (KSD).

KSD will be comprised of what was once Knowledge Development & Management (KDM) and Public-Private Cooperation (PPC). Previously PPC and KDM both had divisional statuses with two division heads. The proposed merger of the two divisions will result in having one oversight, integration and coordination responsibility of the division, led by the Assistant Director General (ADG). The ADG will be supported by one Department Head for Knowledge Services (KS). The ADG will have overall managerial responsibility for the Green Investment Services department, which I wrote about in my last newsletter, and will be supported by one Deputy Department Head. The ADG will also provide technical inputs, as well as spending about 50% of the time supporting countries.

This proposed change will have long-reaching and positive effects on staff members and in the countries in which we work. It will make us a more effective organization, better able to help implement the green growth aspirations of our partners.

Second Informal Working Group

The Second Informal Working Group was held on October 13 at GGGI’s Songdo office.  Participants from Member countries and GGGI country representatives were invited to discuss and give inputs to GGGI’s new strategy, which will be formally adopted at the upcoming Council meeting this month. The strategy will serve as the basis for decision-making, planning, performance measurement, and resource allocation and mobilization.

GGGI’s vision and objective statement were presented. We held exercises where participants discussed this and other aspects of the strategy in groups and shared their views with the rest of the room. I’m happy to say there was general consensus on the vision and objective statement. The vision encompasses the notions of growth and equity, and the objective statement reflects the required level of flexibility in defining green growth for GGGI to contextualize in-country engagement.

In all we had participants from 14 Member countries as well as one non-state actor Member of the Council take part in this discussion. I think this participatory approach is very helpful for us to have a better understand of the views of our partners. I hope to have more meetings like this in the future.

Happy birthday GGGI

GGGI celebrated it’s second anniversary as an International Organization on October 18. We had a small ceremony during an all staff workshop on 14 October. Happy birthday GGGI! We have come a long way in a short time.


Earlier in the month I participated in an Inter-American Development Bank conference about Climate Finance in Washington, but more importantly I was able to meet with some partners on potential areas of collaboration, including the IADB, World Bank, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Foundation. We have some overlapping countries in which we work, such as Indonesia and Morocco, so I will be following up with them in the new year on this rich opportunity set.

I also attended this year’s 3GF in Copenhagen in late October. I had the pleasure of moderating the closing plenary, which was about the New Climate Economy initiative. I also met with a number of partners and Member countries. I discussed our new Green Investment Advisory services with the Asian Development Bank, about which they expressed an interest in collaborating. Additionally, I met with the Nordic Development Fund where we discussed some potential common areas of cooperation, like our focuses on low income countries and NAMAs. I was also able to present GGGI’s new proposed strategy to Australia, Denmark, Ethiopia, and Germany, all of whom gave positive responses. I met with some private companies too, like Philips, where we looked at possibly cooperating on solutions in lighting and energy efficiency.

After Copenhagen, it was off to Astana, Kazakhstan to speak at the Future Energy, Reduction of CO2 Emissions Conference. During my time in Astana, l met with Kazakhstan’s Minister of Energy, Dr. Vladimir Shkolnik, and exchanged ideas on future collaboration between GGGI and Kazakhstan, as well as introduced the idea of them joining GGGI. These discussions are still ongoing and I look forward to a positive outcome.

Mexico ratifies Establishment Agreement

I’m happy to announce that on October 22, Mexico formalized its membership status with GGGI by depositing the instrument of ratification. There was a small ceremony held at HQ, led by Deputy Director-General Bob Dawson and Mexico’s ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Jose Luis Bernal Rodriguez.

We have been working in Mexico for several years now. One of more exciting projects is with the Megalopolis Environmental Commission of the Central Region of Mexico (CAMe)  with whom we are working on, among other things, air quality issues in the Mexico City region.

Mexico is now the 20th of 22 Members to formally ratify the Establishment Agreement.

Read the press release.

GGGI signs cooperation agreement with IIASA

We met with Pavel Kabat, Director-General of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in late October when he was on a visit to Korea.  We signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate in areas related to climate change, ecosystems, energy, air pollution mitigation, transition to new technologies, and water.  We hope to launch some research efforts with them and perhaps other knowledge-sharing activities.

Read more here.

Paper by GGGI’s Daniel Yeo about the Water-Food-Energy Nexus

I’d like to share with you a paper written by one of GGGI’s water experts, Daniel Yeo, about the need to clarify the often-used term Water-Food-Energy Nexus and articulate what the links mean in practice.  You can read it here.

Looking Ahead: Upcoming Meetings of the Assembly and Council and GGGI International Conference

I will write extensively about the outcomes of the upcoming meetings of the GGGI Assembly and Council in the next newsletter. In the meantime, be sure to register for our International Conference: The Nexus between Green Growth and Creative economy on November 19.  We will have a number of interesting experts and high level official participating in what I hope to be lively discussion about technology, finance, and inclusiveness and how they relate to and drive the notions of green growth and the creative economy. You can register here.

That’s it for this month. I look forward to sharing with you next month all the developments from the Assembly and Council meetings as well as major outcomes from our Conference.

Best Regards,

Yvo de Boer
Global Green Growth Institute