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Accreditation Process

What are Accredited Entities?
 
GCF mobilizes climate finance by working through a wide range of organizations. Organizations seen to have specialized capacities in driving climate action may apply to become GCF Accredited Entities. They can be private, public, non-governmental, sub-national, national, regional or international bodies. They should have clear, detailed and actionable climate change projects or programmes to present to GCF progressing mitigation and adaptation. They must also meet GCF standards based on financial standards, environmental and social safeguards, and gender.
 
Accredited Entities develop funding proposals to be considered by the Fund and oversee, supervise, manage and monitor their respective GCF-approved projects and programmes.
 
There are two types of GCF Accredited Entities, based on access modalities: Direct Access Entities and International Access Entities.
 
Direct Access Entities are sub-national, national or regional organizations that need to be nominated by developing country National Designated Authorities (NDAs) or focal points.
 
Organizations nominated to become Direct Access Entities may be eligible to receive GCF readiness support. This funding is designed to help organizations in developing countries prepare to become Accredited Entities, as well as helping those which have already been accredited to strengthen their organizational capacities.
 
International Access Entities can include United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, international financial institutions and regional institutions. GCF considers these organizations to have the wide reach and expertise to handle a variety of climate change issues, including ones that cross borders and thematic areas.
 
International Access Entities do not need to be nominated by developing country NDAs / focal points.
 
Learn more about GCF’s current list of approved Accredited Entities here.
 
For organizations that are not Accredited Entities, there are also ways to engage with the GCF.  These may include, but are not limited to:
  • partnering with an Accredited Entity on implementing its approved GCF project;
  • co-financing projects with an already Accredited Entity; and
  • as a readiness delivery partner, provided that the entity can demonstrate relevant expertise, experience and ability to implement projects.

How to become an Accredited Entity How to become an Accredited Entity

Step by step:
How to become an Accredited Entity

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    Frequently asked questions

    1. 1. Why does GCF use Accredited Entities?
      GCF recognizes that individual organizations possess the type of specialist knowledge and experience that can be best utilized to mobilize climate finance on the ground. That is why GCF works through a wide range of Accredited Entities to channel its financial resources to climate change projects and programmes. Accredited Entities can be private, public, non-governmental, sub-national, national, regional and international.

      The use of Accredited Entities is set out in the GCF Governing Instrument, the central institutional guide for all of the Fund’s activities.
    2. 2. Can an Accredited Entity also be the NDA/focal point?
      A developing country NDA / focal point has a very different role from that of an Accredited Entity. NDAs / focal points act as the interface between each developing country and the Fund. They ensure country ownership by providing broad strategic oversight of GCF's activities in their country, serve as the point of communication with the Fund, and ensure that investments are aligned with local needs and planning.

      Accredited Entities are responsible for channelling GCF resources to particular programmes and projects. GCF accredits Direct Access Entities that work at the sub-national or national level, as well as organizations working at regional and international levels. Accredited Entities can also be governmental or non-governmental, and public or private in nature.

      Normally the roles of NDA and Accredited Entities are distinct and separate. However, in some cases NDAs may seek to also become Accredited Entities to the Fund.

      The GCF Secretariat can advise on best practices in this area.
    3. 3. Do organizations need to have climate funding proposals to be considered by GCF before seeking accreditation?
      No. While not a requirement, however, GCF advises applicants to have well-thought out proposals as their accreditation applications will be assessed on the type of projects and programmes they intend to bring forward for GCF funding consideration.
    4. 4. How are Accredited Entity applicants assessed?
      The accreditation process assesses whether applicants are capable of strong financial management and of safeguarding funded projects and programmes against any unforeseen environmental or social harm.

      A wide range of organizations can become Accredited Entities. That is why GCF has introduced a “fit-for-purpose” system to scale them differently according to their capacities and how they address the climate finance needs of different countries.

      While the scopes of accreditation vary, all entities need to meet a number of basic standards. These are based on
      • basic fiduciary standards
      • environmental and social safeguards
      • gender consideration.
      Basic fiduciary standards set the baseline for appropriate financial management. This includes being able to demonstrate that financial inputs and outputs are properly accounted for, reported, and administered transparently in accordance with relevant regulations and laws, and with due accountability. Information about an organization’s overall administration and management must be available, consistent, reliable, complete and relevant. Accreditation applicants must also be able to display a track record in effectiveness and efficiency.

      More details about basic fiduciary requirements are available here.

      GCF’s interim environmental and social standards are drawn from the performance standards set by the International Finance Corporation, an international body which works with the private sector in developing countries. The eight performance standards are:
      1. assessment and management of environmental and social risks and impacts
      2. labour and working conditions
      3. resource efficiency and pollution prevention
      4. community health, safety and security
      5. land acquisition and involuntary resettlement
      6. biodiversity conservation and sustainable management of living natural resources
      7. indigenous peoples
      8. cultural heritage
      The accreditation process assesses the applicant’s capacity and commitment to maintain an environmental and social management system at an institutional level (performance standard 1). Later, while reviewing accredited entity funding proposals, the GCF Secretariat will check how the entity follows its environmental and social management system to take action that matches specific issues relating to performance standards 2 to 8.

      More detailed information about how applicants must meet minimum environmental and social standards are available in this document.

      GCF’s Gender Policy and Action Plan is based on guidance by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) supporting gender equality, equity and sensitivity. More detailed information about GCF’s approach to gender and climate change is available here.

      The accreditation process assesses the capacity of applicants in terms of addressing gender – responsive systems at both the institutional and project/programme level.

      While reviewing funding proposals submitted by Accredited Entities, the GCF Secretariat
      1. checks how gender considerations are translated into specific actions to meet gender – related standards set out in the accreditation process and
      2. assesses whether projects/programmes submitted by Accredited Entities are consistent with approaches outlined in GCF’s Gender Policy and Action Plan.
    5. 5. What is GCF’s fit for purpose accreditation?
      GCF’s innovative fit‐for-purpose approach to approving organizations to become Accredited Entities recognizes their broad range of activities and capacities. Entities vary from small government and non‐government groups managing activities of a few million dollars or less to large multilateral development banks funding activities ranging from hundreds of millions of dollars.

      Fit-for-purpose is a tiered accreditation system which classifies applicant entities based on the nature of their organizations and the intended scale, nature and risks of their proposed climate finance activities.

      Therefore, accreditation applicants implementing or intermediating projects and programmes with little environmental and social risks and impacts are not required to have the same environmental and social management systems in place as compared to those handling higher levels of such risks.

      The fit-for-purpose accreditation review is based on
      • proposed project and programme activity size;
      • fiduciary standards; and
      • environmental and social risk category.

      Proposed project and programme activity size is divided into four categories.
      • Micro: maximum GCF contribution of up to and including US$10 million
      • Small: maximum GCF contribution of above US$10 million and up to and including US$50 million
      • Medium: maximum GCF contribution of above US$ 10 million and up to and including US$250 million
      • Large: GCF contribution of above US$250 million.

      An entity accredited for a particular size category could submit a funding proposal for GCF consideration where the total costs for the project are within the maximum size category. (For example, an entity accredited for medium could submit a funding proposal that falls within the micro, small or medium size category, but not large).

      There are three types of specialized fiduciary standards. These standards allow an Accredited Entity to undertake an activity by performing the specific fiduciary function related to the standard.
      • Project management: This assesses the capacity of the applicant to manage, supervise and oversee the overall project or programme, either directly or indirectly through executing entities.
      • Grant award and/or funding allocation mechanisms: This assesses the capacity of the applicant to disburse GCF funds as an intermediary through a competitive and transparent grant award process.
      • On-lending/blending: This assesses the capacity of the applicant to carry out intermediate funding by providing loans, blending different instruments and resources, undertaking equity and/or providing guarantees.

      Applicants are also assessed how well they can manage environmental and social risks and impacts, based on their track record. Categories are divided into no or minimal risk, medium risk and high risk. These categories also take into account whether the applicant will manage projects or intermediate GCF resources through the awarding of grants, on-lending, blending, undertaking of equity investments or providing guarantees.

      For projects managed by an Accredited Entity, the environmental and social risk level can be:
      • Category A: Activities with potential significant adverse environmental and/or social risks and/or impacts that are diverse, irreversible, or unprecedented;
      • Category B: Activities with potential mild adverse environmental and/or social risks and/or impacts that are few in number, generally site-specific, largely reversible, and readily addressed through mitigation measures;
      • Category C: Activities with minimal or no adverse environmental and/or social risks and/or impacts.

      Projects involving investments through financial intermediation functions (grant award or on-lending/blending) or through delivery mechanisms involving financial intermediation, should refer to the following environmental and social risk levels:
      • High level of intermediation (Intermediation 1, I-1): When an intermediary’s existing or proposed portfolio includes, or is expected to include, substantial financial exposure to activities with potential significant adverse environmental and/or social risks and/or impacts that are diverse, irreversible, or unprecedented;
      • Medium level of intermediation (I-2): When an intermediary’s existing or proposed portfolio includes, or is expected to include, substantial financial exposure to activities with potential limited adverse environmental or social risks and/or impacts that are few in number, generally-site specific, largely reversible, and readily addressed through mitigation measures; or includes a very limited number of activities with potential significant adverse environmental and/or social risks and/or impacts that are diverse, irreversible, or unprecedented;
      • Low level of intermediation (I-3): When an intermediary’s existing or proposed portfolio includes financial exposure to activities that predominantly have minimal or negligible adverse environmental and/or social impacts.

      More information about GCF’s fit-for-purpose accreditation approach is available here.
    6. 6. Is it possible for Accredited Entities to upgrade their accreditation type?
      Yes. An Accredited Entity can apply to include any additional capacities it has developed over time. This will then increase its fit-for-purpose accreditation type. This allows it to seek GCF funding for projects and programmes at a higher financial level than its current classification.

      The Accredited Entity may apply through the OAS by creating a new application seeking for an upgrade of its relevant functions.
    7. 7. How long is the entity accredited for?
      Five years. GCF is currently working on ways to assess Accredited Entities for re-accreditation.
    8. 8. How long does accreditation take?
      The GCF Secretariat and the Accreditation Panel aim to decide within six months after receiving necessary and complete documentation whether to recommend an application to the GCF Board. If organizations also apply for readiness support, this process may take longer.

      The GCF Secretariat and the Accreditation Panel aims to make a decision within three months for organizations meeting fast-track requirements. These are organizations that have already been accredited by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), Adaptation Fund and the Directorate-General Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid of the European Commission (DG DEVCO).
    9. 9. How much does accreditation cost?
      National and subnational applicants in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Fees are able to receive waivers of some accreditation fees when seeking accreditation for micro and small size categories of projects.

      Accreditation fees are based on the total projected costs of the proposed climate finance project or activity within a programme at the time of the application. There are four categories which refer to the total projected costs of the activity, irrespective of the portion that is funded by GCF.
      • Micro: Up to and including a threshold of USD 10 million for an individual project or activity. The fee level for this threshold will be US$ 1,000 for the basic fiduciary standards and US$ 500 for each specialized fiduciary standard.
      • Small: Above US$ 10 million and up to and including US$ 50 million for an individual project. The fee level for this threshold will be US$ 5,000 for the basic fiduciary standards and US$ 1,000 for each specialized fiduciary standard.
      • Medium: Above US$ 50 million and up to and including US$ 250 million for an individual project or activity. The fee level for this threshold will be US$ 10,000 for basic fiduciary standards and US$ 3,000 for each specialized fiduciary standard.
      • Large: Above US$ 250 million for an individual project or activity. The fee level for this threshold will be US$ 25,000 for basic fiduciary standards and US$ 7,000 for each specialized fiduciary standard.
      More details on accreditation fees are available here.
    10. 10. Are some organizations prioritized for accreditation?

      Yes.
      In 2017, applications during Stage I will be checked by the GCF Secretariat in accordance with the GCF Board’s decision to prioritize applications from:

      • National Direct Access Entities;
      • Entities in the Asia-Pacific and Eastern European regions;
      • Private sector entities, in particular those in developing countries, seeking a balance of diversity of entities in line with decisions B.09/07, paragraph (g) and decision B.10/06, paragraph (h);
      • Entities responding to requests for proposals issued by the GCF, for example including a pilot phase for enhancing direct access; a pilot programme to support micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises; and a pilot programme to mobilize resources at scale in order to address adaptation and mitigation;
      • Entities seeking fulfilment of conditions for accreditation; and
      • Entities requesting upgrades.
    11. 11. What is the Accreditation Panel?
      The Accreditation Panel provides independent advice to the GCF Board about individual applications for accreditation. It is made up of six senior experts, evenly balanced by representation from developed and developing countries. Members of the Accreditation Panel serve for three years.

      Accreditation Panel members provide specialized knowledge on a range of issues feeding into accreditation decisions, including good practice in fiduciary principles and standards, environmental and social safeguards, and recognized good practice in accreditation procedures. They can also consult with other relevant experts when necessary.

      More details about the Accreditation Panel here.
    12. 12. How can I contact GCF to find out more about accreditation?
      Please direct enquiries to:

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