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GCF charts progress and ambition at COP23 side event

The Green Climate Fund will focus on pursuing high-quality climate projects and improving its approval processes, Executive Director Howard Bamsey told participants at the global climate change conference currently being held in Bonn.

“Our focus next year will be to improve the quality of our outputs – right through from readiness, which helps countries receive climate finance, to the largest projects,” said Mr Bamsey at a side event during the yearly Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“This will require changing many of our processes, and better linkages between different parts of the GCF Secretariat. We will ensure the quality of the projects we fund will be as high as recipient countries deserve.”
Mr Bamsey pointed out that in order to enhance the efficiency of project assessment, the GCF Board decided at its most recent meeting last month to expand the GCF Secretariat, which runs the daily operations of the Fund, from its current size of 140 to 250 within the next year.
During the side event, GCF Private Sector Facility’s Director Ayaan Adam said 2017 was a critical year for GCF in implementation, approval of projects and disbursement.
“When combined with co-financing, the USD 2.65 billion of funding committed by GCF comes to USD 9.16 billion,” she said. “It is critical to note this has been done in the last 15 months.”
Ms Adam said the 54 projects approved to date included both those from the public and private sectors.
“While 40 of the 54 projects in 74 developing countries are from the public sector, in terms of funding value, there is almost a 50 to 50 split with the private sector,” said Ms Adam. “This shows the high degree of leverage held by the private sector in progressing climate action.”
Eighteen GCF projects are currently being implemented, worth a total of USD 600 million – with USD 150 million disbursed since the start of this year.
Participants at the side event heard about GCF’s ongoing efforts to balance the speeding up of its funding approval with the overriding requirement of ensuring the projects it supports match best-practice fiduciary standards and conform to environmental and social safeguards.
GCF staff highlighted agreement at the most recent GCF Board for the Fund to implement a Simplified Approval Process Pilot Scheme - with an allocation of up to USD 80 million in GCF financing.
This new pilot streamlines and simplifies applications for certain small-scale projects of up to USD 10 million in GCF funding. It is particularly aimed at supporting project proposals from direct access Accredited Entities.
Pa Ousman Jarju, director of GCF’s Country Programming Division, said the simplified process was introduced to address capacity constrains by countries – especially Least Developing Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and African States. 
“Under the SAP, the process is very simple, as it cuts down the timeline and takes out most of the difficulties countries face when applying for funding,” he said. “I hope that once it is piloted and we can see the benefits, we can replicate it.”
Mr Jarju added that countries could also benefit from an enhanced ability to gather data, necessary in directing strategic climate finance, from accessing GCF’s Readiness and Preparatory Support Programme.
This programme, which strengthens the institutional capacities of key GCF partners, is representative of GCF’s approach that “everything is country driven,” he said.
Mr Jarju pointed out that under GCF’s readiness support, the Fund has provided USD 41.80 million to countries to support 130 requests in 92 countries. Two thirds of these include Least Developing Countries (LDCs), Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and African States.