This year’s COP ended on a dramatic note with an agreement by nations to ‘transition away’ from fossil fuels after two weeks of intense negotiations. While stopping short of a ‘phaseout’ of coal, oil and gas, the deal is a first for COP after years of discussion and helps keep the Paris Agreement goal of 1.5C within reach. Agreements were also made on commitments to triple renewable energy capacity and double energy efficiency by 2030.
Demonstrating progress in adaptation and finance, some countries made pledges to the Loss and Damage Fund, while others committed new pledges totaling USD 3.5 billion for the second replenishment of the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Additionally, hundreds of countries endorsed new declarations to protect people’s health and support food security in the face of climate change.
Despite the progress, more work needs to be done, especially for people on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Looking ahead, all eyes will be on Azerbaijan, which was announced as the official host of COP29 from 11-22 November next year.
Finance is a key enabler of climate action. As the world’s largest multilateral climate fund, GCF played a critical role at COP28. Over the two weeks in Dubai, GCF had over 500 engagements, participating in fora, thematic events, meetings with countries, contributors and stakeholders, and negotiation tracks. Those engagements demonstrate GCF’s commitment to the global climate agenda, reflecting the scale and urgency of the climate challenge.
COP guidance to GCF
As an operating entity under the financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), GCF takes guidance from the Conference of Parties (COP) on its policies, programming priorities and eligibility criteria.
The GCF delegation followed all negotiation items relevant to GCF, including matters related to the Global Stocktake (GST), the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), Least Developed Countries (LDC), loss and damage, mitigation-related streams, and Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which concerns voluntary cooperation among parties to enhance the implementation of their Nationally Determined Contributions to allow for higher mitigation ambition and to promote sustainable development.
GCF also engaged with the room where Parties produced guidance for the Fund from COP and the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA). This year's guidance to GCF includes new requests to enhance monitoring and reporting for multi-country projects, support GGA implementation, ensure coordination and complementarity with the funding arrangements under the new Loss and Damage Fund, as well as finalise consideration of GCF regional presence and continue consideration of REDD+ related policy proposals.
For more information, please see Guidance to the Green Climate Fund and Report of the Green Climate Fund to the Conference of the Parties and guidance to the Green Climate Fund.
Outside of the climate negotiation tracks, GCF had numerous moments and announcements at COP, some of which are as follows.
Six new pledges were made to GCF by Australia, Estonia, Italy, Portugal Switzerland, and the United States of America. With these pledges, GCF’s second replenishment grew to a record USD 12.8 billion and 31 contributor countries — boosting momentum and ambition for its 2024-2027 programming cycle.
GCF announced seven grants from its Project Preparation Facility (PPF) to develop new projects, which included blue economy in the Caribbean, education, health, mangroves, and food systems, among others.
Five project agreements (Funding Activity Agreements) were signed with Accredited Entities to launch new projects recently approved by GCF: FP210: KawiSafi II with Acumen, FP211: Hardest to Reach with Acumen, FP212: &Green Fund with FMO, FP215: Community Resilience Partnership Program with Asian Development Bank (ADB), and FP208 Haiti: Enhanced climate resilience in the Trois-Rivières region of Haiti through Integrated Flood Management with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Accreditation partnership agreements (Accreditation Master Agreements) were also signed with four organisations, of which two are Direct Access Entities: Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement (West African Development Bank), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy S.A. (MASEN) and The Nature Conservancy.
Complementarity and coherence
For the first time at COP, the four climate funds – GCF, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs), and the Adaptation Fund – came together to demonstrate their commitment to collaboration, complementarity, and coherence for greater climate action. The four funds had a joint pavilion, the Climate Funds Pavilion, and held a COP28 side event “Climate finance: The role of the climate funds in supporting developing countries” where they adopted a joint declaration to develop an ambitious and concrete action plan to enhance access to climate finance and increase the collective impact of their action.
At the COP28 side event, “Scaling Up Access and Impact,” GCF Executive Director Mafalda Duarte presented her “50by30” vision for the Fund. Together with GCF’s Strategic Plan 2024-2027, they will enable GCF to deliver more effective and impactful climate action in its next programming cycle.
As a show of solidarity, GCF, along with governments and key stakeholders, participated in several global declarations that included health, education, climate information and early warning systems, and climate justice.
GCF continued to demonstrate its commitment to early warning systems. Together with the Adaptation Fund, Climate Investment Funds, Climate Risk & Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative, Global Environment Facility, and the Systematic Observations Financing Facility (SOFF), GCF signed a framework agreement that will help close data gaps in weather and climate observations. GCF and CREWS also published the "GCF-SAP CREWS Scaling-up Framework for early warning" that will provide guidance in accelerating the delivery of financing and scale-up of programmes for early warning systems in developing countries.
GCF also made major inroads into health. Besides announcing the development of a new initiative to ramp up climate health financing with UNDP and WHO, GCF helped launch the “Guiding Principles for Financing Climate and Health Solutions” that it developed in partnership with the COP28 Presidency, the Global Fund, Rockefeller Foundation, WHO and others. GCF will also partner with the Global Fund to increase climate health funding, support countries to assess needs and access financing, and build evidence of effective interventions.
Finally GCF and the NDC Partnership launched a joint Climate Investment Planning and Mobilization Framework. This tool aligns with GCF’s aim to increase access to climate finance for developing countries by empowering countries to identify and prioritise their climate finance needs, strengthening their ability to attract and mobilise climate finance and identify knowledge and capacity gaps.