GCF's second Empowering Direct Access workshop attracted over 90 participants. These participants included members of Direct Access Entities and National Designated Authorities (or focal points), which represent the national governments of developing countries interacting with GCF.
The workshop supported organisations seeking Direct Access Entity accreditation, as well as helping accredited Direct Access Entities develop high-quality projects or programmes to submit to GCF, based on their alignment with national priorities. It provided participants with information about GCF’s readiness programme, project preparation facility, and specific requests for proposals such as the Enhancing Direct Access pilot and the Simplified Approval Process (SAP). The workshop also covered updates about GCF policies and procedures.
Through plenary and breakout sessions, the workshop promoted the sharing of best practices among Direct Access Entities as part of peer-to-peer learning founded on mutual engagement with GCF. It provided an opportunity for Direct Access Entities and National Designated Authorities / focal points to engage directly with the GCF Secretariat to address questions about GCF requirements.
The workshop produced a number of outcomes and points of shared learning that will help Direct Access Entities progress their engagement with climate finance.
- For the first time, the workshop included the 15 organisations that are currently in stage 2 of the accreditation process with GCF. Their participation offered them a chance to seek advice from GCF staff about accreditation requirements, as well as learn from Direct Access Entities that have already completed the accreditation process.
- A number of Direct Access Entities noted the accreditation process has helped strengthen their capacities to put in place environmental and social safeguards, and provided systematic ways to account for gender issues and Indigenous Peoples rights.
- The workshop helped highlight the need for Direct Access Entities to forge strong ties with their relevant country's National Designated Authority or focal point.
- Environment Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) representatives emphasised how vital their close cooperation with Namibia's National Designated Authority, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, was in selecting national priorities that best fitted GCF's funding criteria. EIF was a star attraction at the workshop, and many participants were interested to hear about its experience in becoming the first Direct Access Entity to be granted approval for both GCF's Simplified Approval Process (SAP) and Enhanced Direct Access programme.
- There was considerable interest during the four days in both SAP and Enhanced Direct Access as both of these programmes are particularly designed to increase the capacities of Direct Access Entities, which - numbering 32 – now account for over half of GCF’s Accredited Entities. There were also numerous questions about GCF's readiness programme, which is designed to support National Designated Authorities in order to enhance country ownership and access to GCF.
- Another key role of the workshop was to allow Direct Access Entities to share mitigation and adaptation ideas with GCF staff that best suit national conditions and align with a climate change rationale. Bilateral meetings between participants and GCF staff throughout the workshop reviewed numerous project ideas, including a number of new initiatives.
- Peer to peer knowledge sharing formed a core of workshop interactions. While Direct Access Entities are dealing with a wide range of differing conditions in tackling climate change, discussions in and out of plenary sessions identified a number of regional synergies. This included the potential for Direct Access Entities in Colombia, Brazil and Peru to cooperate in reducing emissions from forest loss and degradation in the Amazon basin.