In an effort to accelerate and enhance Direct Access to climate finance for developing countries that are vulnerable to climate change, the Adaptation Fund (AF), Green Climate Fund (GCF), African Development Bank (AfDB) and South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) are joining forces to facilitate a meeting of more than 30 accredited implementing entities from both AF and GCF in Durban, South Africa June 5-7.
The meeting is aimed at furthering a common Community of Practice for Direct Access Entities (CPDAE) through the adoption of a governance framework and development of a roadmap of activities to build additional capacity of the community’s members to efficiently access, receive and utilize Direct Access project funding from AF and GCF.
The milestone meeting will be funded by AF, GCF and AfDB’s Africa Climate Change Fund (ACCF). It will be hosted by SANBI, which is an accredited Direct Access entity of both AF and GCF. It will be further organized and led by a Committee of the CPDAE, comprised of representatives of six Direct Access Entities. The meeting will include interactive plenaries and group discussions, as well as a visit to an AF-funded Direct Access project implemented by SANBI that is helping small-scale farmers adapt to climate change in the uMngeni catchment through early warning systems and climate-smart techniques.
“As an accredited entity of both the Adaptation Fund and Green Climate Fund, the South African National Biodiversity Institute feels privileged to host this groundbreaking Community of Practice meeting in Durban, South Africa,” said Dr. Mandy Barnett, SANBI’s Director. “This initiative promises to unlock opportunities for Direct Access entities to work closely together and establish robust mechanisms to share project design and implementation learnings. As part of the meeting programme, SANBI looks forward to showcasing the benefits and effectiveness of Direct Access together with representatives of other developing countries and exploring ways to enhance lessons and best practice.”
Direct Access builds country ownership in addressing climate change challenges by empowering developing countries to access climate finance as well as identify and implement tailored projects directly through accredited national institutions (including regional institutions in the case of GCF) that are based in the countries themselves rather than outside multilateral organizations. AF pioneered Direct Access in practice and has accredited 29 national implementing entities (NIEs) to date, while GCF has accredited 48 direct access entities (35 national and 13 regional). The Adaptation Fund has 14 NIEs that are also accredited to the GCF and all six of its regional implementing entities (RIEs) have GCF accreditation, as well.
Organizations are nominated to become Direct Access entities directly by designated country government authorities, and then go through an accreditation process separately within each fund to ensure capacity to effectively develop climate projects and foster environmental and social protections.
The accreditation and project development processes for Direct Access entities can be complex and often require a level of capacity building in country to take place prior to accessing funds. As such, both AF and GCF have climate finance readiness programmes that provide technical assistance, both institutional and project specific, and direct support to guide entities through the processes and further strengthen their organizational capacities.
The idea of establishing a community of practice for Direct Access accredited entities originated from the entities themselves and grew over the last few years with support from the AF, ACCF and parallel efforts by other organizations such as the GCF and WRI, with a goal of sharing resources, experiences, tools, stories and tips to address common problems. The CPDAE evolved to advance complementarity between the various initiatives and has merged into one effort that is open to all Direct Access entities from the AF and GCF.
“This is an amazing opportunity for countries that are most vulnerable to climate change to come together and develop a strategy and action plan that will further enhance Direct Access to climate finance, and urgently needed adaptation solutions on the ground,” said Adaptation Fund Board Chair Ms. Sylviane Bilgischer. “This also directly ties into the Adaptation Fund’s medium-term strategy, which fosters learning and sharing in adaptation and complementarity between climate funds.”
Though he could not attend the event in person, the Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, Yannick Glemarec, shared his support stating, “Country ownership is key to the success of the Paris Agreement and to GCF, so the launch of this community of practice to facilitate Direct Access Entity collaboration is excellent. As countries prepare to revise their NDCs next year, it is crucial for increased ambition that developing countries enhance their capacity to access and engage with sources of climate finance. This initiative further ensures they will remain in the driving seat of climate finance.”
Earlier meetings of the CPDAE established its Committee, whose membership, term of office and other operational attributes will be discussed in the Durban meeting. Actions to further facilitate Direct Access will also be identified, such as the development of an online platform for experience sharing, a train-the-trainers programme on relevant themes, structured workshops and bilateral cooperation between entities. These ideas will be officially discussed and agreed on in Durban, and some of them are already underway and will be further refined at the meeting.
The CPDAE also complements other activities that are occurring between funds.
Often AF projects are the first adaptation pilot initiatives on the ground in many vulnerable places throughout the world and have led to these projects later being scaled up or replicated with additional resources. This has happened several times with GCF scaling up AF projects in places such as Colombia, Pakistan, Georgia, Maldives and others, which has had a transformational impact in expanding the number of beneficiaries who are vulnerable to climate change to receive important tools that improve their lives and livelihoods.
Both AF and GCF also have processes in place to ‘fast-track’ each other’s implementing entities to help make the accreditation processes as smooth as possible.