We need innovation to provide climate solutions. But too many great new ideas die in the so-called ‘valley of death’ – the gap between seed funding for entrepreneurs and the longer-term investment that brings those ideas to market. In tackling this challenge, Southeast Asian entrepreneurs with ideas on how to use technological innovation to tackle climate change have received a fillip with a new partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the Korea Development Bank (KDB), supported by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).
On July 21, 2021, GCF and KDB signed a USD 1.2 million grant agreement to provide financial support for technological innovators striving to accelerate low-carbon and climate resilient transitions across Southeast Asia. Focusing first on climate technopreneurs in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and the Philippines, this programme is designed to spur research and business development to upgrade climate action across the whole region.
Climate technologies can be employed to reduce emissions across a broad spectrum of sectors including in energy, industry, waste and agriculture. Meanwhile, innovations in early warning systems and drought-resistance crops, for example, are key to enhancing climate adaptation. Funding will be channeled through Project Preparation Facilities (PPF) for the climate technology incubator and accelerator programme and is GCF’s first technology-driven project.
After the agreement signing, GCF Executive Director Yannick Glemarec said: “There is an urgent need to address the numerous barriers startups face during the ‘valley of death’ phase – the gap between initial seed-funding and longer-term, more conventional financing. As a market incubator, GCF will capitalise on this timely agreement with KDB to strengthen entrepreneurial breakthroughs in climate innovation.”
KDB Chair Lee Dong-Gull said: "Technology innovation is the key to addressing the climate vulnerability of developing countries and in achieving emission reduction commitments enshrined in the Paris Agreement. This agreement will provide momentum to drive innovative climate technologies to speed up and scale up climate action across the four partner countries.”
GCF recognises the key role of innovation in overcoming the climate crisis. Its mandate as the world’s largest dedicated climate fund includes supporting developing country climate action through technology development and transfer.
GCF is also working with the UN to further these goals through its collaboration with the UNFCCC Technology Executive Committee (TEC) and the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) in implementing support for technology.
The partnership agreement with KDB is intended to create new technology-based project proposals to expand GCF’s climate finance portfolio, currently valued at USD 8.85 billion.