The accreditation process
During the accreditation process, an applicant entity's policies and procedures, track record, and demonstrated capacity to undertake projects or programmes of different financial instruments and environmental and social risk categories are assessed against the standards of the Green Climate Fund. The result of the accreditation process will specify the project or programme activity size; fiduciary functions, which will shape how it operates using the Fund’s resources (grants, loans, equity, and guarantees); and the highest category of environmental and social risk of its intended projects.
An entity seeking accreditation will need to submit a completed application through GCF Accreditation, consistent with the fit-for-purpose accreditation approach at the Green Climate Fund. This approach recognises the role of a wide range of entities, which differ in the scope and nature of their activities, as well as their capacities in advancing the objectives of the Fund. The accreditation approach accommodates this diversity by matching the nature, scale, and risk of intended activities to the application of fiduciary standards, environmental and social safeguards, and gender policy.
Subnational, national, and regional entities, public and private, applying for accreditation will need to submit a nomination letter from a National Designated Authority or Focal Point as a part of their application for accreditation. A template for this nomination letter is available.
Applications for accreditation are received by GCF on a rolling basis. There is no deadline for submitting accreditation applications.
Entities that are not accredited by the Fund may still submit funding proposals through an Accredited Entity to obtain resources for climate change projects and programmes.
Before starting the application process, organisations can assess whether they meet the basic requirements to become Accredited Entities. They can do this by considering a series of questions through GCF’s self-assessment tool.
This online questionnaire helps organisations assess:
- whether they are considered to have full legal capacity to undertake activities funded by the Green Climate Fund,
- what their institutional arrangements are - including their systems, policies, procedures and guidelines,
- their track record – considering whether their systems, policies, procedures and guidelines have been implemented systematically.
Once an organisation is confident it has the credentials to become an Accredited Entity, it can start the three-stage application process. Entities applying for accreditation should have been operating for at least three years.
Preparing an application
All Direct Access Entities need to be nominated by a developing country NDA / focal point. International Access Entities can seek GCF accreditation directly without nomination by a developing country National Designated Authority / focal point.
NDA / focal points nominate Direct Access Entity applicants by filling out the NDA nomination template and sending it to GCF Accreditation.
All accreditation applicants need to apply to join GCF’s Online Accreditation System (OAS) by submitting an OAS application form. Once the complete form is accepted by the Secretariat, applicants will receive a log-in to access GCF’s online application system.
They will be asked to fill out an online application form within the OAS. This is the main part of applying for accreditation. The application form contains detailed guidance on how to fill it out.
Organisations 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) may be eligible to apply for fast track accreditation if three pre-requisites are fulfilled.
Organisations submit their application in the OAS after they have completed the online accreditation application form.
Application fees are paid at this point. This amount varies according to the fiduciary functions and the size of financing for project or programmes the accreditation applicant is proposing to receive GCF funding.
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 (projects up to USD 10 million): USD 1,000 for the basic fiduciary standards and USD 500 for each specialised fiduciary standard
- Small (projects between USD 10 million to 50 million): USD 5,000 for the basic fiduciary standards and USD 1,000 for each specialised fiduciary standard
- Medium (projects between USD 50 million to USD 250 million): USD 10,000 for basic fiduciary standards and USD 3,000 for each specialised fiduciary standard
- Large (projects above USD 250 million): USD 25,000 for basic fiduciary standards and USD 7,000 for each specialised fiduciary standard
GCF Secretariat application review
Once application fees are received, the GCF Secretariat reviews the application to ensure the mandate of the accreditation applicant aligns with GCF’s mandate and objectives in targeting climate finance, and in a manner that can contribute to developing country programming priorities with GCF. The Green Climate Fund has identified eight strategic impact areas for delivering major mitigation and adaptation benefits.
The GCF Secretariat also checks whether the accreditation applicant has provided sufficient information about the applicant’s systems, policies, procedures and guidelines related to safeguarding projects against financial, environmental, social and gender risks and impacts. The GCF Secretariat will also check whether information on the applicant’s track record of applying the systems, policies, procedures and guidelines have been provided.
The GCF Secretariat may ask applicants questions about their accreditation application with the aim to have a complete application. This often involves considerable back and forth correspondence between the applicant and the GCF Secretariat.
Once the GCF Secretariat is satisfied that application completeness requirements are met, submitted documents are then forwarded to the Accreditation Panel. The Accreditation Panel is an independent technical panel, composed of six (6) senior experts, that provides advice to the GCF Board on results of the in-depth assessment and review of individual applications for accreditation.
At this point, the Accreditation Panel may ask applicants to provide clarifications, while liaising with the GCF Secretariat.
Recommendation to the GCF Board
The GCF Secretariat and the Accreditation Panel then send their recommendations to the GCF Board. This recommendation will include the GCF Secretariat’s assessment and the recommendation by the Accreditation Panel regarding accreditation and the accreditation criteria. The Accreditation Panel may also, in cases where it finds gaps in the accreditation applicant meeting the GCF standards it is applying for, recommend conditions of accreditation. For example, conditions may be prior to first disbursement for the amendment or development of a policy or procedure, or an ongoing condition applied to all GCF-funded projects regarding information to be provided or additional monitoring requirements.
If the application is complete and does not require follow up questions, the duration of the review process by both the GCF Secretariat and the Accreditation Panel could be a minimum of six months, or three months for fast-tracked applications.
The GCF Board, which generally meets three times a year, makes the final decision about whether to accredit the entity. The GCF Secretariat then informs the applicant entity about the result of the GCF Board decision.
The approved Accredited Entity will then sign an Accreditation Master Agreement (AMA) with GCF. AMAs are legal agreements that set out the terms and conditions for an entity’s use of GCF resources. They formalise the Accredited Entity’s accountability in carrying out GCF-approved projects appropriately. For individual GCF-funded activities approved by the Board, the Accredited Entity enters into a Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) for each approved project, which contains project-specific terms.
Accredited Entities are required to carry out a yearly self-assessment of their operations to assess whether they continue to meet the accreditation standards they have applied for. They are also required to submit yearly progress reports about their management of GCF-approved climate finance projects or programmes.
Accredited Entities will need to re-apply to retain their status every five years. GCF is currently working on procedures to guide the re-accreditation process.