Summary of RESOLVE’s involvement in the 2011 CSO Observer Selection process

The 2012-2014 CSO observer organizations are:

Denotes pilot country

Selection of the observer organizations was a challenging process that involved the following steps:

  • A global call for applications to civil society organizations in developing and developed countries.
  • Identification and recruitment of an Advisory Committee comprised of individuals from independent organizations whose expertise includes issues of climate change mitigation and adaptation and who were not candidates for the observer seats.
  • An initial screening of all applicants against the revised (June 2011) CSO Observer Criteria, ranking the applicants on a 1-4 scale (with 4 indicating the best match with the criteria). Based on the rankings, RESOLVE developed a suggested list of 5 to 7 qualified applicants for further review and short-listing by Advisory Committee members.
  • A detailed screening of those applicants by Advisory Committee members, which involved: (1) reviewing the information provided by the applicants, (2) interviewing 3 to 5 of their preferred candidates for each observer seat, (3) ranking those preferred candidates based on their applications and interview responses, and (4) providing RESOLVE with a suggested list of candidates to include on the ballot for a global vote.
  • A global electronic voting process during which CSO organizations identified preferred candidates from their region (Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Developed Countries). Results of the vote are available here.
  • A vote-counting and vote verification process to screen out invalid or fraudulent votes.
  • A final selection process, during which RESOLVE reviewed the voting results, incorporated feedback from the Advisory Committee, and applied the criteria for achieving balance on each of the CIF committees. As stated in the CSO Observer Criteria and other informational materials, the balance considerations (which were developed in consultation with CSO representatives), included the following:
    • Special effort will be made to achieve a balance among think-tanks, advocacy organizations, community-based organizations, and aid organizations.
    • Special effort will be made to recruit and select observer organizations that are represented by women and/or that focus on women’s involvement in addressing the challenges of climate change.
    • Preference should be given to candidates whose organizations are based in CIF pilot countries, and CSO observer representation on the committees should be distributed as evenly as possible among the CIF regions.

For cases involving tie votes, or where selection of first-place candidates did not result in an adequate balance of those criteria across a committee, RESOLVE relied on input from the Advisory Committee and the balance criteria to select organizations that both ranked highly and met the necessary criteria.

In the case of the Latin America CTF and SREP seats, RESOLVE undertook additional outreach and a separate selection process, as there were no qualified applications submitted for either committee from that region.

RESOLVE then forwarded the names of selected organizations to those who WERE selected and to those who were on the ballot but NOT selected. Before publicly releasing a final slate of observers, RESOLVE requested confirmation of acceptance of the seat from each of the organizations. During this process, one organization declined to accept the seat due to staffing changes, and several other seats were amended or re-arranged to fulfill the required balance criteria.

The RESOLVE team made every effort to ensure that this selection process was inclusive, transparent and responsive to the diversity of CSO interests from around the world. We welcome your input, comments, and suggestions on the design and facilitation of this highly complex process. (Contact us at

You may also wish to provide feedback to the CIF Administrative Unit, which oversees the CIF observer process and will serve as the primary point of contact throughout the newly selected observers’ terms.

Summary of RESOLVE’S involvement in the 2009 – 2010 CSO Self-Selection Process for CIF Committees and Sub Committees

In 2009, the CIF administrative unit contracted with RESOLVE to implement the first “self-selection” process for the CTF, SCF, and PPCR.

In the winter of 2009-2010, RESOLVE ran a second process for the selection of CSO observers on the FIP and SREP subcommittees.

To begin the process, RESOLVE identified and interviewed a variety of key stakeholders interested in the CIF selection process in order to understand the issues and get stakeholder input on some critical elements:  1) criteria for and suggestions of individuals and organizations to serve on an Advisory Committee that would guide the self-selection process; and 2) criteria for CIF observers.  In these interviews, RESOLVE used a “snowball” technique to identify subsequent interviewees – i.e., asking each interviewee these questions:  Who are the most important organizations or individuals that we should interview?  Who has NOT yet been involved in the CIF process but should be? RESOLVE then followed up on these suggestions to interview a representative sampling of civil society stakeholders.

As the criteria were being developed, RESOLVE posted them in draft on the RESOLVE website and invited feedback from civil society stakeholders via email announcement and during a civil society forum at the World Bank in spring 2009.  RESOLVE learned from the interviews and other feedback that one of the most important criteria for Advisory Committee members was that advisors and their organizations NOT be interested in applying for one of the observer seats.

Other Advisory Committee-specific criteria indicated that advisors should be well respected and senior enough to have a broad view of the CIF committees and their role in the climate change arena.  Drawing on the criteria, RESOLVE recruited 5-7 Advisory Committee members who were willing to contribute their time to shaping the civil society selection process.  The Advisory Committees were composed of different members for each selection process.  The role of the Advisory Committee was to give RESOLVE guidance on designing and implementing an observer selection process, as well as to assist with outreach to stakeholders.

Once the Advisory Committee was in place, RESOLVE worked with them to finalize the criteria for the observer seats and publicize them on the website.  RESOLVE then developed several possible options for a selection process, which included one model in which observers would be shortlisted and chosen solely through a vote and another model in which the observers would be selected by the Advisory Committee without a voting process.  The selection process that the Advisory Committee chose allocated the seats by broad region to achieve geographic balance (Africa/Middle East, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and developed countries) and consisted of the following steps:

  1. RESOLVE issues a call for observer applications and disseminates it widely;
  2. using the criteria, RESOLVE ranks the candidates and develops a proposed shortlist;
  3. the Advisory Committee reviews the proposed shortlist and the longer list and makes final decisions on the composition of the shortlist;
  4. information on shortlisted candidates is translated and posted on the RESOLVE website and nonprofit civil society organizations are invited to vote on those candidates; and
  5. drawing on the results of the vote and the criteria for balance (which were developed in consultation with civil society members), the Advisory Committee makes final decisions on the selected observers.  For example, if none of the proposed observers are women, the Advisory Committee could decide to move the woman with the highest ratings into the observer seat and make the first place candidate the alternate.  The objective is to ensure that the final selections meet as many of the established criteria as possible.


In the CIF Committee guidance document, “Guidelines for Inviting Representatives of Civil Society to Observe Meetings of the CIF Trust Fund Committees,” no provision is made for alternates.  Therefore, in the interest of diversity and maximizing opportunities for different organizations to participate, the first Advisory Committee decided that it would select the alternates and that there would be per committee for the CTF, SCF, and PPCR.

In the second selection process, the design document for the FIP established that there will be two alternates for that subcommittee.  As there were no separate guidelines for the SREP, the second Advisory Committee decided to designate one alternate for each of the SREP seats.  The goals were to maximize opportunities for different organizations to participate and to give the Advisory Committee flexibility in fulfilling the balance criteria for the seats.


The CIF guidelines document recommends that observers serve for two-year terms.  The first Advisory Committee agreed that terms should be for two years and also recommended that the terms be staggered to ensure both change and continuity of observers on the committees.  The second Advisory Committee also considered the question of term length but did not recommend a change to the first Advisory Committee’s guidance.

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