The Green Climate Fund (GCF) Structured Dialogue with the Pacific, hosted by the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and supported by the Government of Australia, brought together key stakeholders to strengthen the engagement of Pacific island countries and their partners with GCF and accelerate the implementation of GCF projects and programmes in the Region.
The four-day event convened almost 150 participants from 14 Pacific countries, including Government Ministers for a High-Level Session, and representatives of National Designated Authorities, Accredited Entities, Delivery Partners, civil society organisations, the private sector and development partners.
The Pacific has successfully had 9 full funding proposals approved (USD 297.2 million) (eight from public sector and one from private sector), 18 Readiness Proposals (USD 5.47 million) , 1 Project Preparation Fund grant (USD 0.53 million) and had three Direct Access Entities accredited to date. The dialogue provided a strong platform for countries and development partners to share best practices and lessons in: strengthening and streamlining implementation; exploring further investment opportunities including with the private sector; fostering sustainable country ownership and programming; and building effective partnerships.
The dialogue was critical to GCF’s efforts to engage Pacific island countries on achieving their low carbon, climate resilient sustainable development goals. During the Structured Dialogue, 64 new project ideas were discussed (two thirds focusing on adaptation) totalling USD 1.4 billion. Some of these ideas may translate into proposals for funding approval to go before the GCF Board in the future.
Some of the key outcomes and points of shared learning from the Structured Dialogue include:
Climate Vulnerability: The Pacific region is acutely vulnerable to climate change. A number of the Structured Dialogue participants stressed that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees will avoid some of the drastic impacts.
Need for climate science: There was a general acknowledgement that strong climate science must underpin the rationale of climate change projects. While a lot of data exists at the national level, the development and implementation of climate projects needs to be linked closely with national meteorological services. GCF is working with the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) to determine indicators to strengthen the climate change rationale. At the same time, while scientific evidence is key, uncertainty and a lack of data should not prove a barrier to action.
Private Sector: The private sector in the Pacific continue to face challenges in accessing GCF funds. This is due partly to a lack of understanding of GCF processes, and to the small scale and fragmentation of the private sector in Pacific island countries. Options discussed to strengthen private sector engagement include
- enhancing the participation of small to medium enterprises such as through tax incentives and legislative reforms,
- the pooling of resources, including sub-regional projects where relevant
- and forging public- private partnerships.
Readiness: The representatives of many Pacific island countries emphasised the importance of GCF’s readiness programme in getting them to the starting line on climate finance. A number of representatives called for multi-year and programmatic disbursements of readiness grants, rather than one-off approvals. It was widely recognised that readiness delivery partners have an important role.
Regional Presence: Several country representatives again raised the issue of establishing a GCF regional office in the Pacific and volunteered their country to act as the host. They said this would strengthen the support to countries.
Co-financing: Countries requested more clarity on co-financing, noting GCF does not have a specific policy on the ratio of co-financing. This is currently determined largely by national circumstances and according to individual projects. Recognizing that GCF resources will not cover the full climate finance demand in the region, GCF staff encouraged countries to seek opportunities to leverage additional funding.
Simplified Approval Process (SAP): Country representatives appreciated the launch of the Simplified Approval Process (SAP) pilot scheme and were strongly encouraged by GCF staff to utilize this. At the country market place, countries presented their project proposal ideas and concept notes that could potentially go through the SAP. Countries suggested it might be more expedient if the GCF Secretariat, rather than the GCF Board, was able to approve SAP projects.