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GCF and FAO break record in signing fastest ever project agreement, supporting climate-vulnerable Pakistan farmers

Songdo,
In a sign of accelerating climate finance flows, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has signed an agreement to implement a project by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to enhance the climate resilience of farmers in Pakistan’s Indus Basin.

GCF signed the Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) to transfer USD 35 million to the FAO project yesterday, less than 24 hours after it was approved by the GCF Board.

The signing represents the fastest progression from project funding approval to a funding implementation agreement during GCF’s four years of operation.

GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec said the rapid pace of climate finance agreement shows the importance of GCF working closely with its partners to set out clear paths of climate action.

“In this case, early and close cooperation between GCF and FAO has allowed us to move rapidly from project approval to work out the details of how it will be implemented,” said Mr Glemarec. “This well-planned collaboration allows GCF to accelerate the release of the funds to help the climate resilience of poor, small scale farmers across eight vulnerable districts in the Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan,” he added.

Climate effects such as extended droughts and floods in the Indus River Basin threaten to jeopardise Pakistan’s food security as the region produces more than 90 percent of the country’s agriculture. 

Welcoming GCF’s decision, Maria Helena Semedo, FAO Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources said: “We are at a critical moment that calls for bold climate action that can stimulate concrete solutions to help build resilience. The approval of this project – the first FAO-led GCF project in Asia - is an important step forward in FAO’s broader support to countries to respond to climate change, in partnership with the GCF.”

Mina Dowlatchahi, FAO Representative in Pakistan, highlighted the crucial role of this project for climate adaptation in Pakistan. “This new FAO project, thanks to support from the Green Climate Fund and the Government, will help shift Pakistan and its Indus Basin agriculture from a current situation of high vulnerability toward an alternative paradigm wherein better information, water management and farming practices will significantly increase resilience to climate change,” Ms Dowlatchahi said. 

Malik Amin Aslam, who advises Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on climate change issues, said: “Pakistan remains at the forefront of climate impacts. This project for climate resilient agriculture is a welcome initiative. It will allow Pakistan’s vulnerable agriculture sector to prepare for the impacts of climate change in various districts of Pakistan.” 

The project will be the first to establish cutting-edge information systems to carry out the accurate measurement, monitoring, and modelling of hydrological processes in the Indus Basin. This will integrate climate resilience considerations into agriculture and water planning and policies.

This is the third GCF project approved in Pakistan, and the third project to be approved with implementing partner FAO.

The GCF Board meeting concluded its 23rd meeting yesterday at GCF headquarters in Songdo, Republic of Korea. It approved 10 climate finance projects worth USD 267 million.