Subnational Actors Continue to Lead at 2017 GCF Annual Meeting

The Governors’ Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force Annual Meeting in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, Indonesia was a great success on many fronts. The importance and strength of partnerships in GCF Task Force member states was a consistent theme throughout the week. Eleven GCF Governors and Vice-Governors attended and three new members joined the network, bringing the GCF membership up to thirty-eight states and provinces in ten countries (including all states in the Brazilian Amazon). The new members, Oaxaca, Mexico; Pastaza, Ecuador; and Roraima, Brazil, have each demonstrated a commitment to the mission of the GCF to protect forests and the climate while improving livelihoods.

The 2017 meeting also provided a platform for launching the “Balikpapan Statement,” a document which connects and scales the myriad regional processes to advance GCF members’ Rio Branco Declaration commitments. GCF members have already registered over 100 actions and partnerships which will advance the Balikpapan Statement’s three agendas: (1) finding ways for jurisdictions producing agricultural commodities to work together with supply chain actors to reduce deforestation; (2) protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of indigenous people and local communities; and (3) ensuring that financial resources flow to support subnational forests and climate efforts. The Balikpapan meeting was an opportunity for stakeholders from civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples’, community-level organizations, and the donor community to plan integrated strategies in preparation for the UNFCCC COP-23 in Bonn and other global convening events.

The GCF in 2017 is stronger and more diverse than ever, which will only improve the ability of the network  to protect forests and biodiversity and promote sustainable livelihoods through subnational leadership. The network is already hard at work to move initiatives from Balikpapan forward and is looking towards the 2018 Annual Meeting – which will be hosted in California by GCF members California and the Yucatan Peninsula states (Yucatan, Campeche, and Quintana Roo). The 2018 meeting will be held the week of September 10th in parallel with California’s Global Climate Action Summit (September 12-14).