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Words do make a difference, says South African climate finance partner

Songdo,
The language of climate action must resonate with local people, a South African Accredited Entity representative said on the side line of a Green Climate Fund workshop.

“If I go to a rural farmer and ask how climate change is affecting you, the rural farmer will feel disempowered and unable to talk to me because the language is fancy and inaccessible,” said Mandy Barnett, with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).

“But if I say can you tell me how things have changed since your grandfather farmed, that person will tell me exactly how climate change is affecting farming, and how they are already responding to it.”

Ms Barnett emphasised the importance of building strong community understanding as the basis of effective climate finance during a three-day workshop designed to strengthen GCF’s partnerships with its direct access Accredited Entities.

“We need to be able to bring the responses to the level of the individual, because adaptation is not only a local issue, it is an individual issue,” said Ms Barnett, noting South Africa’s vulnerable rural sector is already feeling climate change impacts.

SANBI, a Cape Town-based science and policy institute bolstering climate resilience, is one of 22 direct access Accredited Entities currently meeting at the GCF workshop in Songdo, Korea.

The first day of the Empowering Direct Access workshop on Tuesday focused on enhancing GCF partners’ understanding of how to access the Fund’s resources for public and private sector projects, as well as readiness and project preparation support.

In his opening address, GCF Chief Financial Officer and Director of Support Services Javier Manzanares said GCF will need to work closely with partners to expand its current portfolio of 43 projects and programmes, amounting to USD 2.2 billion.

“We are here to work with you, in partnership, to bring forward the best possible projects and programmes with the highest level of impact,” said Mr Manzanares.

Clifford Polycarp, acting head of GCF’s Country Programming Division, added that all GCF funding proposals must start with country strategies and plans.

Workshop participants highlighted the opportunities of collaborating between different organisations. Zeidy Rosimar Morales Quintero, El Salvadorian representative, and Miguel Angel Mendez, representative of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), described their collaborative work in enhancing resilience in Central America’s “Dry Corridor.”

The workshop will today hear climate finance experiences from participating direct access Accredited Entities, which have been selected by developing countries to access GCF.