Hela Cheikhrouhou to leave when terms ends as clouds gather over flagship venture
By Alex Pashley
The head of an UN-backed $10 billion fund for developing countries is to step down after three years in charge.
Hela Cheikhrouhou, the Green Climate Fund’s first director who oversaw its capitalisation by over 40 countries will not seek a new term when it ends in September, according to a statement on Friday.
The South Korea-based outfit is under pressure from major donors to deliver a promised ‘paradigm shift’ in clean energy and resilience projects to counter global warming. It has approved just 8 projects worth $168 million so far.
The US, UK and Germany – who put up more than half of the fund’s initial $10bn capitalisation – have flagged fears it lacks focus and direction.
First proposed at climate talks in 2009, half the cash is reserved for projects that protect communities from extreme weather; the other drives greenhouse gas emissions cuts.
The GCF’s board will meet in March to “discuss steps to appoint a successor and ensure a smooth transition of leadership” following the Tunisian official’s exit. It aims to scale up its approval of projects fifteen-fold to $2.5 billion this year.
Former UN climate chief Yvo de Boer tweeted Cheikhrouhou had “persevered and laid a foundation under challenging circumstances.”
@ClimateHome What can I say? An amazing lady who has persevered and laid a foundation under challenging circumstances. Standing ovation!
— Yvo de Boer (@yvodeboer_gggi) February 19, 2016