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November 2015 (Issue 4)

GCF Dispatch

A Roundup of News from the Green Climate Fund
November 2015 – Issue 4

GCF Dispatch is a short compilation of news related to the Green Climate Fund. The roundup is published periodically to keep partners up to speed on GCF activities — Board members, National Designated Authorities, Accredited Entities, contributors, civil society, and private sector actors. For more frequent updates, follow the Fund on Twitter at @GCF_News.

Executive Viewpoint: GCF Investments Mark Major Step Forward

The eleventh meeting of the GCF Board in Zambia earlier this month was a momentous occasion for the Fund. The approval of the first round of project investments marked the final stage in our transition to a fully operational Fund. Having moved from initial resource mobilization to full funding decisions in under a year, GCF will be in a position to report to the Parties gathered at the Paris COP 21 climate talks and respond to the information requests by a wide range of stakeholders. Eight projects were approved, and you can see a snapshot of each one below, showing the range of climate actions we will support.
The decisions taken by the Board in Zambia reflect the breadth of GCF’s mandate – but not yet the scale. This is the start of our investments; and, to meet the Fund’s objectives, we will have to increase the momentum of financial support to developing countries over the coming years.
Foremost, the approval of those initial investments sends a clear message to the participants of the Paris conference that the Fund is ready to play its role. Most countries around the world have submitted their plans for mitigation and adaptation – the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). As a body solely dedicated to supporting the UNFCCC’s goal of keeping global temperature rise below 2°C, the Fund can support developing countries in realizing the ambition of their INDCs. We will be in Paris to explain our work to all Parties – and, you can find details below of our activities during the COP.
Climate finance is a major enabler of climate action, and the Fund is now ready and keen to support the transition to a low-emission, climate-resilient future.


Pledges Grow as European Countries Commit Climate Finance

Over the course of 2015, GCF has received new pledges of around USD 50 million equivalent. Seven new countries have pledged resources to the Fund so far in 2015, while two contributors have increased their original commitments. All of these contributors are European.
The most significant new pledge came from Luxembourg, whose prime minister committed during the UN General Assembly in September in New York to provide additional GCF contributions up until 2020. 
The new countries pledging to support GCF in 2015, and the approximate amounts pledged converted into USD equivalent, are as follows: 
Cyprus (USD 0.4M)
Estonia (USD 1.3M)
Hungary (USD 4.2M)
Ireland (USD 2.6M)
Lithuania (USD 0.1M)
Malta (USD 0.06M)
Portugal (USD 2.6M)
In addition, two contributors have made additional pledges, adding to their original contributions:
Luxembourg (USD 40.1M)
Wallonia (Region in Belgium) (USD 0.2M)
These latest pledges will further boost the Fund’s ability to support low-emission, climate-resilient development. 

The Fund remains open to new contributions and accepts them on an ongoing basis. GCF launched its resource mobilization efforts in May 2014, and held a pledging conference in November 2014. The Fund's cumulative pledges are around USD 10 billion equivalent.

Operations Update: Zambia GCF Board Outcomes

The Board meeting in Zambia saw the approval of the Fund’s first investments. Eight projects were given the go-ahead, for a total GCF investment of USD 168 million. 
The Board meeting also resulted in the selection of two new Co-Chairs for the coming year: Ewen McDonald (Australia) and Zaheer Fakir (South Africa). The two previously shared chairing duties from 2012-2013.

GCF Project Snapshots

The projects cover both mitigation and adaptation activities, and include three in Africa, three in Asia-Pacific, and two in Latin America. Details of the projects are given here and below.
1. Building Resilience of Wetlands in the Province of Datem del Marañón, Peru (GCF Funding: USD 6.2M Grant)
Enhancing the climate resilience and livelihoods of the indigenous wetlands communities of Datem del Marañón in the Amazon basin, while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from deforestation. 
2. Scaling Up the Use of Modernized Climate Information and Early Warning Systems in Malawi (GCF Funding: USD 12.3M Grant)
Protecting lives and livelihoods in Malawi from climate-related disasters by providing early warning weather and climate information systems and improving the resilience of vulnerable communities.  
3. Increasing the Resilience of Ecosystems and Communities through the restoration of the productive bases of salinized lands in Senegal (GCF funding: USD 7.6M grant)
Restoring salinized lands through improved knowledge and planning, and implementing measures such as hydraulic works, reforestation, anti-soil erosion systems, and use of adapted agriculture. 
4. Climate-Resilient Infrastructure Mainstreaming in Bangladesh (GCF Funding: USD 40M Grant)
Providing cyclone shelters and safeguarding critical road access to protect lives in a rural, coastal region of Bangladesh. Developing urban infrastructure, safeguarding vulnerable city-dwellers from climate risk. Establishing a national centre of excellence for climate resilience infrastructure, to inform and guide future infrastructure development throughout the country.
5. KawiSafi Ventures Fund in East Africa (GCF Funding: USD 20M Equity, USD 5M Grant)
Creating a new investment fund, KawiSafi, to drive off-grid solar power in East Africa. Investing in 10-15 clean energy companies, initially in Rwanda and Kenya, providing household solar technologies. 
6. Energy Efficiency Green Bonds in Latin America and the Caribbean (GCF Funding in the Pilot Phase: USD 20M Guarantees, USD 2M Grant)
Providing an alternative financing source for energy efficiency (EE) projects through the use of green bonds. The bonds will finance EE projects below 30 megawatts per hour (mwh) in size, opening them up to new investors by pooling and securitizing them. The Fund further allocated up to USD 195 million to loans and guarantees towards scaling up and replication of the pilot phase.
7. Supporting Vulnerable Communities in Maldives (GCF Funding: USD 23.6M Grant)
Providing safe and secure freshwater to 105,000 people on the outer islands of the Maldives, in response to climate change-induced water shortages. Introducing integrated water supply systems, decentralized dry season water supplies, and improvements to groundwater quality. 
8. Urban Water Supply and Wastewater Management in Fiji (GCF Funding: USD 31M Grant)
Building and renovating infrastructure to improve access to safe water and sewerage systems in the greater Suva area of Fiji. Creating a new river water intake station on the River Rewa and improving the Kinoya wastewater treatment plant and associated sewer coverage.

GCF at COP 21

The Paris climate conference (COP 21) will take place from 30 November to 11 December. The Fund will participate in the conference with a high-level delegation.
For accredited conference participants, a GCF information stand will be located in the Blue Zone, providing an opportunity to learn more about the Fund and interact with staff.
We will be there every day during the conference, and each evening will be hosting “GCF Talk at 6.” This will be a short daily event to brief participants on what the Fund is doing and how to work with us. GCF Talk at 6 (at 6 PM, of course!) will be moderated by senior staff, and will feature contributions from National Designated Authorities (NDAs), Accredited Entities (AEs) and others. There will be lots of practical information on working with the Fund, so please drop by and join us if you are attending COP 21.

The Fund will also convene two side events, which will be held on Wednesday, 2 Dec. at 12.30h and Wednesday, 9 Dec. at 18.30h. Details will be published shortly.

Throughout the conference, updates on GCF’s activities at COP 21 will be posted on the GCF website and Twitter (@GCF_News).

Information Guide on GCF Investment Opportunities

GCF has published Elements 02, the second in its information series. Elements 02: 'Investing for the Climate' focuses on the criteria used by GCF to identify and prioritize investment opportunities.
The new publication explains what kinds of investments the Fund is looking for and how it identifies and prioritizes project proposals. It is essential reading for NDAs, AEs, and all of the Fund’s stakeholders.
Elements 02 can be downloaded here and will also be available to participants at COP 21.

Calls to Ambassadors to Bring Ambitious and Innovative Projects

GCF’s Executive Director, Héla Cheikhrouhou, met with over 80 ambassadors and diplomats at an information meeting in Seoul, hosted by the French ambassador to the Republic of Korea, Fabien Penone. Following the recent funding decisions, the Fijian and Senegalese ambassadors presented the projects that the Fund has approved in their countries.
During the meeting, held on 20 November, Ms. Cheikhrouhou called upon developing countries to encourage their governments to bring forward projects that match the paradigm-shifting mandate of the Fund. 
The full text of the Executive Director's remarks is available here.

Readiness Grant Agreements Signed with Zambia and Antigua & Barbuda

Readiness funding is being committed to countries to support them in building their capacity to access project funding for both mitigation and adaptation activities. In the last month, grant agreements were signed with Zambia and Antigua & Barbuda. Ambassador Black-Layne signed an agreement on behalf of the government of Antigua & Barbuda at the recent ADP negotiations in Bonn. The Zambia agreement was signed by Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda in the margins of the GCF Board meeting in Livingstone. 

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